A great budget-friendly constant light source for your selfies and more.
I ordered the 10″ Selfie Ring Light w/ mini tripod model 1 (there’s a different tripod style available) a few weeks ago and it arrived today. As with everything else I’ve posted on this blog I have no relationship with the manufacturer and I purchased this in the same way as any other customer. I did get it on sale so I paid under $50.
Note: in the text below I discuss limitations and component quality aspects but I need to say up front that the quality is far better than I expected for the price point and that all components are of a good quality.
USPS dropped the box off at my door. It was in a plastic mailer bag and outside of this box was two layers of bubble wrap. Given the state of the box I was concerned about what I might find but between that and the single bubble wrap layer inside everything survived unscathed.
It arrived in a few sections. The ball head was attached to the tripod and the flexible metal gooseneck was attached to the phone holder. Further assembly is easy and the threaded sockets on the light are metal (looks like brass) inserts set into the plastic housing of the light – no worries about stripped threads.
The tripod style I ordered is the thick, widely splayed legs. It’s some kind of plastic but solid. There are textured pads on each tip that rest flat on the surface when unfolded. It’s a solid desktop tripod that does require a fair square footage in exchange for making tip-over nearly impossible.
The ball head uses a metal ball, presumably chromed steel, and I believe the body is two pieces of aluminum, with the bottom being a base that can rotate. There is a side notch to allow the ball head to pivot to 90 degrees sideways. Tightening a wing bolt on the base locks both the ball and the swivel at the bottom. A set screw opposite the wing bolt keeps the bottom from falling out even if the wing bolt is removed.
The gooseneck is the spiral metal flexible type, like flexible microphone stands. At least while new it does tend to spring back slightly when moved into a position but nothing frustrating.
The phone holder is a typical side-grip style. One end telescopes a but and a spring pulls it against the phone. It has a ball mount with a friction collar that attaches to the gooseneck. The attachment is straight-on which means that to be usable the gooseneck must be bent substantially to hold the phone in the correct orientation. This puts the phone a couple inches forward or rear of the light. The light diameter is sufficient that this should not be an issue.
I do use an Otterbox Defender case on my Pixel 3 XL phone and that is too wide for the holder, but only just. It fits if I take the rubber outer cover off and I don’t have to pry it out of the inner rigid clam-shell.
Light itself has multiple LEDs in two ranks around its circumference. The outer rank are the cool (higher color temperature) while the inner are the warm. I saw no apparent variation of the light level around it – all LEDs seem to be the same output.
Power is taken from USB. There’s a generous cable length and a switch control hard wired along it. It works great from my powered USB hub and one of my battery packs.
The three images use the different light color temperature settings. It’s either rank or both.
On the left is the light control switch on the USB cable. The plus and minus buttons increase and decrease the intensity of the LEDs. The button with the two chasing arrows switches color temperature modes and the last is the power switch. The dot in the middle is a blue LED that is on whenever it has power.
The remote switch next to it has nothing to do with the light’s function. It’s a Bluetooth shutter release you can use with your phone. Pairing was trivial for me. The device name was “AB Shutter3.” There’s a sliding power switch on the right side, a blue LED at the left top, and the two buttons. The LED flashes several times when it’s turned on and once whenever a button is pressed. It takes one CR 2032 lithium coin battery which is not included.
On my Android phone the two buttons did the same thing: took a picture. I don’t know if it would work differently with an iPhone. When not in the camera app both buttons act as a volume-up button press. Android sees the device as a physical keyboard and gives a notice to setup the device. This also means it inhibits the on-screen keyboard while connected to the phone.
My lone criticism: nothing indicated the battery was not included nor which size was required. I knew that CR2032 was likely it when I opened the battery cover and had some on hand so it was not a significant issue for me.
Though I signed up for text message notifications I did not get any via text or e-mail after the order confirmation e-mail through when it arrived. However, as I did order during the pandemic quarantine situation I’m happy to give credit on this.
I’m glad I purchased it and suggest it if you are in the market as well.