As the debate about returning to the office rages on, there is no denying that video calls are the future of work and here to stay. One of the biggest issues affecting the quality of a video call is poor lighting, whether it is strong backlighting from a window, overhead office lighting, or just no light at all.
Enter the VC-Lite from Lume Cube. The VC-Lite is a small battery powered light that can be stuck to the lid of a laptop or back of a monitor with its included suction cup mount and provides a bright LED light to improve your drab video calls.
Brightness: 0-100%, 1080 Lux at 0.55m, adjustable in 5% increments
Color Temperature: 3,200K - 5,600K, adjustable in 5% increments, CRI 96
Battery: rechargeable via USB-C PD, lasts 1.2-10 hours depending on brightness settings
Size: 7.6 x 2.5 x 15.2 cm
VC-Lite: Key Features
The VC-Lite is a small light designed to stick to the back of a laptop or monitor using its included suction cup mount, and as the light is battery powered it doesn’t need any additional cables to function. The VC-Lite is capable of outputting at a bright 1080 Lux at 0.55m or around 1.8’, which is around the distance most people will sit from their laptop or desktop at work.
The brightness is variable, and is able to adjust from 0-100% in five percent increments to get the perfect balance of lighting for your setup. The light is made up from 60 bicolor LEDs which also enables the color temperature of the light to be changed between 3,200K and 5,600K so you can match the light temperature to your surroundings and time of day. The VC-Lite has a built in diffusion panel for softer and less direct light.
The built in battery can keep the light going for 1.2 hours on 100% brightness or up to 10 hours at 5% brightness. When it's empty, the light can be recharged using the USB-C PD port, which can also power and recharge the light while in use.
VC-Lite: Build & Handling
The VC-Lite is a cute little light, small and light enough to slip easily into a bag or pocket and take on the go. The light is solidly built, made from sturdy plastic, I think it has a nice minimal design that doesn’t feel or look cheap. The light has a simple control scheme with just two buttons on the side, one for power and switching between brightness/color control, one from controlling those settings. A long press on the power button turns the light on and off and a quick press switches between settings. The settings dial is a rocker switch that can be pressed once for fine control or held in to change brightness or color more speedily.
The mount that comes with the VC-Lite is decent, but is a little fiddly to use with small screws and clips, which when you are trying to manoeuvre the light behind a screen without full visibility is tricky. The suction cup also has a few issues. Firstly, the cup is sticky, which picks up a lot of lint and stray hairs from around my desk when not in use, which it won’t be much of the time, as the nature of the product is to slap it on only for video calls. The other issue is the suction cup failed a few times halfway through a long call when VC-Lite and its mount dropped off the back of my monitor. I have only tested the light for a week, but I would be hesitant with how well the suction cup will hold up over the long term.
The performance of the light is great, the amount of light that it produces for such a small form factor is very impressive. It is also very beneficial to be able to control the temperature of the light to the time of day, which improves my eye strain when I am working late, plus I just prefer a warmer light, so it is nice to have the option.
The diffuser does a good job of making the light softer, but it can’t work miracles. The light is still direct, which means that there is some minimal shadowing on your face depending on the positioning of the light and your webcam might struggle to balance the contrast depending on what hardware you are using. As a side note, I have a white wall directly behind my desk and I found I got nice results from pointing the light backwards and reflecting the light off the wall.
The battery in the light holds up well, with the light mounted on my monitor about half a metre in front of me, I used the light at around 50% most of the time, which was consistently giving me around 2 hours between charges, which for me is plenty, although if you spend all day in video calls you can also just leave it plugged into a USB-C adapter for constant power.
If you spend a lot of time in video calls but only have bad lighting with limited space to improve it,, or you spend a lot of time on the move and want to guarantee you can be seen properly then the Lume Cube VC-Lite is what you are looking for. An incredibly easy way to instantly improve the quality of your video calls, it’s pocketably small, and thanks to its sticky suction cup, can be set up on a laptop or monitor in seconds, although there are some question marks about the longevity of the suction pad.
The VC-Lite has adjustable brightness, and can get very bright if needed, although peak brightness can cause some shadowing on your face, but the VC-Lite has a good built in diffusion cover that does its best to minimize this. The light also has a variable color temperature which makes it possible to match the light color to your surroundings, and save your eyes from strain at night. Overall, for a cheap and simple way to make a big improvement to your video calls then the Lume Cube VC-Lite is a good option.
Read More: find out more about the best lighting for video calls in our guide. If you are looking to make vlogs then you can also find out more in our guides to the best lighting for YouTube.