Hands-on review: Joby Beamo Ring Light for MagSafe
Image credit: Joby
Light up your life – well, mostly your face – with this MagSafe ring light.
The ecosphere of MagSafe products extends to practically everything now. If a way can be found to stick something on the back of your phone, you can bet that someone has come up with it, be it wallet, camera controller, tripod or kickstand-bottle opener.
With Beamo, camera/smartphone accessory company Joby has created a portable LED ring light to softly illuminate whatever is in front of your phone.
Facing backwards as it does – i.e. towards your face – and with a built-in mirror so you can make sure your look is always on point before you even start, this is clearly a tool primarily aimed at the vlogging influencer and the best-selfie addict, that rich vein of portrait photography in the modern age.
However, saying that, the light can also be flipped around to project its rays outwards, so can be used to flood-fill any close-up subject. If you're a keen smartphone photographer and you've often found yourself disappointed by the lack of available light spoiling an otherwise perfect shot, you might well be interested in Beamo.
It's a simple enough device. A soft and warm-toned 5600K fill light that sticks to your MagSafe iPhone (for non-MagSafe smartphones and devices – i.e. anything other than an iPhone 12, 13 or 14 – there's a stick-on magnetic ring in the box) that flips up when you need it and then folds flat(ish) against your phone when you're done. Weighing in at a meagre 50g, it's not adding a lot of weight to your phone.
The light has four settings (default, bright, brighter, brightest), with progressively hungrier battery demands. Joby states the default brightness as lasting up to four hours, declining to around two hours for medium and just under an hour for the brightest setting. That is with the light on continuously, though, such as when shooting video or livestreaming. Occasional pop-ups for photographic use are nothing like as demanding.
The Beamo is effectively the 'little brother' of another Joby ring light, the evolution here being that it's smaller, with infinitely more portable dimensions and the snappy MagSafe connection. It's available in either white or grey (not black!).
The beam angle is stated at 135°, which is like a wide triangle of light radiating outwards, with a visible light energy of approximately 60 lumens. This is not a terrifically bright light and it won't project that far, but Beamo is intended as a soft ring light, not a forensic torch. It's for close-ups, not landscapes.
In the box is the light, a USB-C to USB-C charging cable, a carrying bag and the MagSafe-compatible adapter. Rechargeable, the light takes around 90 minutes to fully charge up from nothing. It's great that it doesn't require your phone's battery to run and it can also be recharged via a power bank at any point during the day.
Beamo can also be used permanently plugged in to a power source, so can do double lighting duties for long meetings via video calls on any device – e.g. phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.
In action, the neat design proved useful, with the light always safely held away from our phone's camera lens. There's also a good degree of flexibility in order to find the best angle for its supplementary lighting tones. Being MagSafe, Beamo can also easily be shared among phones and friends. It's the work of a second to pull it off and snap it back on.
Whether all of this lighting convenience is worth around £45 to you largely depends on how much camera work you do with your phone. If it's a lot, Beamo could well be for you. If you're more of a casual user, perhaps Beamo might give you reason to reconsider the creative possibilities of that amazing camera system already in your back pocket.
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