The Lume Cube Wireless Ring Light is, on paper, the ultimate ring light, combining a whopping 18-inch diameter, bicolor temperature range and battery power that can keep your shots illuminated for up to an hour and a half.
However, with plenty of other options on the market – and many of them coming in much cheaper – does the Lume Cube Wireless Ring Light have what it takes to rank among the best ring lights?
Lume Cube Wireless Ring Light: specs & features
The key feature here is the titular one: this is an 18-inch ring light that can be used wirelessly, courtesy of a pair of NP-F750 lithium-ion cells (which come bundled with the light). These are used in all manner of electronics and other LED lighting setups, so you may already have some kicking around – and if not, they're very inexpensive if you want to add spares.
However, this isn't just a battery powered ring light; it can be powered by a mains adapter (also included) as well, meaning that this gives you the best of both worlds: a ring light that is great for studio or stationary use, running off the mains, and can also be easily moved around your scene or even taken on location (though be aware that it isn't weather-sealed).
The color can be adjusted from 3200-5600K, with an LED readout so that you can balance the temperature precisely whether you're working with ambient light, outdoor daylight or artificial illumination. It also boasts flicker-free running and up to 97 CRI.
The light also comes with a very tall, very useful 6.5ft / 198cm stand, enabling you to position the ring light at head height even when the subject is standing. It can mount DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, action cameras and camera phones, up to 10lbs / 4.5kg, and possesses a shoe to add a microphone up to 2lbs / 907g.
Lume Cube Wireless Ring Light: build and handling
The ring light itself is bid, solid and sturdy. Its massive diameter accommodates virtually any camera setup – you can see from the image below how much it dwarfs a mirrorless camera (in this case an Olympus PEN E-PL7), but it's equally at home with a chunky DSLR or a camera phone.
The controls are incredible simple: a single knob can be depressed to toggle between brightness (which can be raised or lowered by 100 percentiles), color temperature (3200-5600K) and remaining battery – all of which are displayed on the LED screen, a hugely welcome feature.
The two batteries clip in easily enough, though some off-brand cells have a tendency to pop loose if you don't push them in snugly.
Our only real concern with the light is the plastic mounting bracket that affixes to the light stand. This is a large, fairly heavy light – when it is mounted completely upright there is no problem, but when you angle the light (the bracket enables you to tilt it completely horizontally, for shooting things like lay flats) you can feel the strain on the small plastic moulding.
The setup isn't at all flimsy, and didn't cause any problems in our testing, but it's definitely something to be aware of if you're planning to shoot with the light at 90°.
Lume Cube Wireless Ring Light: performance
The Lume Cube delivered fantastic results, producing soft, diffused light with gentle falloff that's immensely flattering to subjects. Being bicolor made it easy for us to balance the illumination with both daylight and artificial light, and of course to control the temperature completely when this was the sole light source.
If you're a stills shooter, it's perfect for portraits and headshots. The light quality is very pleasing, with gentle delineation and sparkling catchlights in the eyes (used at close proximity you get the signature donuts, while at greater range they become circular twinkles).
As a video light it's perfect whether you're filming yourself for a vlog, a subject for interviews, or simply as a key light to illuminate your scene. Additionally, thanks to the diffusion and color temperature adjustment, it makes a great makeup light – perfect for content creation and tutorials where accurate skin tones are important.
Speaking of, the LED panel that reads out your exact color temperature is invaluable. There's no shortage of cheaper bicolor ring lights, but most offer no indication of what Kelvin your lighting is – so it can be a matter of guesswork trying to stay consistent between setups. Here, though, you can set your temperature precisely in order to properly balance other lighting as well as your camera.
Your mileage may vary, depending on the quality of the cells you use, but we squeezed over 90 minutes out of our batteries before having to recharge – and again, you can use the LED readout to keep an eye on your power levels, rather than being completely in the dark (literally) as to when they'll fizzle out.
Lume Cube Wireless Ring Light: verdict
At first glance the Lume Cube Wireless Ring Light seems overpriced, compared to other options. However, drill down into what you actually get and it offers good value: not only do you get a brilliant ring light, which has the benefits of offering battery power and an LED readout, it also comes with two batteries, a mains adapter and an immensely useful light stand.
This is our favorite 18-inch ring light, ideal for shooting portraiture, filming vlogs and videos, and giving you the flexibility to work wirelessly either on location, in studio or anywhere you might need to move the light around the house. The strength of the plastic mounting bracket is the only question mark, so if you plan to take a lot of top-down shots for flat lays or unboxings then you might want to try before you buy. For the 90% of people who use ring lights upright, though, look no further.