Get ready for your conference call close-ups with this collapsible USB light source.
While full-time Covid-focused telecommuting days are largely behind most of us, the hybrid nature of work today still means lots of video calls and meetings from home.
For many of us, that means finding a suitable home office space in which to participate in these virtual gatherings, a place in our homes where the crucial crosses of comfort, good Wi-Fi and flattering lighting align the better.
If you can check off the first two, but sometimes struggle with the third, the Zumy Webcam Laptop Light might be just what you need. While there are (many) other fill light options, the Zumy has a few neat tricks in its collapsible pouch that may soften its appeal.
Launched as an Indiegogo campaign in December 2020 – perhaps understandably, during the height of pandemic lockdowns – Zumy started shipping in the US earlier this year. It is now more readily available to UK buyers.
Essentially, Zumy is an extra light source that can clip onto any laptop or desktop computer monitor with a USB-A or C port, using the included adapter if needed. It’s designed to cast a bright yet soft, warm and even light on your face that flatters skin tones, removing harsh shadows and softening areas of exaggerated contrast.
With a claimed maximum illumination of 500 lux and four adjustable light levels (100-400 lux), it’s easy to find the optimal degree of supplemental light for your space and time of day. The color temperature indicated by Zumy is 3500K. It’s not like a Gestapo interrogation lamp burning your eyes. It’s a pleasantly illuminating experience, both for you and for everyone else on the video call.
Neither a big thing (1.5″L x 6″W x 8.5″H), nor a heavy thing (220g), Zumy features an accordion-style collapsible design, making it easy to fold up after every use , as well as more convenient. to store and transport. Zumy’s design exploits the space created by the expanding envelope of the body to separate the light source from the diffusing layer, producing that softer illumination that is the desired effect.
The lighthead also pivots on a socket housed in the clip’s body (which, incidentally, has protective foam padding inside the clips, so there’s no need to worry about unsightly damage to your MacBook Pro premium at £3,000), so it can be tilted up or down (slightly; nothing dramatic) to suit your sitting or standing position in front of your device’s camera.
There’s also an extra port on the cable so you can connect a second USB-powered device while using the Zumy. It’s a good idea: when you’re out of ports, every little bit counts.
Obviously, this light is useful in any video conferencing situation: not just for working Zoom calls. By clipping it on a laptop screen or snapping it onto the “Desktop Monitor Mount” adhesive pad attachment, everything you need to do on the video will now look better. You can also attach it to any sturdy object near your computer, as long as the USB cable reaches.
As we said above, it’s not really a theater arc light, so it’s not going to light up the whole room from a distance, but for the natural position, sitting at striking distance or a little further of your machine, Zumy will enlighten you well.
Being USB powered, there are other possible creative uses for Zumy. It won’t run directly from a smartphone – as it requires power via USB – but it can be plugged into a USB wall outlet and positioned appropriately. You can even use it as a foldable lamp. Some other devices with USB outlets have also been known to unexpectedly (or at least undocumented) supply Zumy with surprise power: it’s more of a suck-and-see scenario. You might get lucky.
Zumy’s main purpose, however, is to light your shot through a laptop or desktop computer. In this regard, it works perfectly. The light it casts is indeed nice and flattering, as expected, and its portable nature lends itself well to taking it anywhere with your laptop (a protective bag is in the box).
Using Zumy is not a difference between day and night, dark and light. That would hardly be the topic. This is actually the problem with some other similar lighting products: too much light! Or at least, too obvious a light. Ideally, what you want – and that’s what Zumy offers – is a subtle, hopefully natural brightening all around the appearance of your face on screen for others to see.
It’s also not terribly expensive, for such a useful tool that will fix all the nasty lighting issues you’ve suffered from for the past couple of years. Let’s face it, video calls are here to stay. We may as well do our best for them.
Zumy webcam laptop light
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