About Lumio

Created by Max Gunawan, Lumio is a one-of-a-kind light that looks like a book when closed, but opens to reveal opaque pages featuring embedded LEDs that create a modern, minimalist aesthetic. And because Lumio only weighs about a pound, it’s claimed to be a portable, rechargeable option that can be used just about anywhere.

Due to its unique book-like design, Lumio is configurable in 4 different ways and can be adapted to your lighting needs as they change throughout the day:

  • Flat on the table for ambient lighting.
  • Opened 360 degrees for a greater degree of light.
  • Open only slightly when sitting upright for directional, passive lighting useful for reading or writing.
  • Combine multiple units for custom lighting solutions.

The Story Behind Lumio

Countless products throughout history were developed during the process of inventing something else, which is exactly what happened in the case of Lumio. According to Max, the light was born while he was attempting to build a modular home that could be folded flat and placed into a compact car. However, after realizing he needed too much capital to build the whole home, Max decided to scale down the project and build a folding lamp.

Previously employed as an architect, Max focused intently on not just Lumio’s design, but on production as well. In fact, Max claims to have spent 4 months in a Chinese factory fine-tuning Lumio’s manufacturing process in order to get costs down as low as possible.

Although Lumio was originally released in July 2013 after a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign—which raised more than $570K based on an original goal of just $60K—the bookish-light hit the big time after Max appeared on season 6, episode 14 of the popular Shark Tank TV program.

Although it doesn’t happen often, all 5 Sharks were blown away by Lumio’s functionality, beauty, and its ability to bring smiles to their faces. Because of this, each one made unique offers, but Max ultimately partnered with Robert Herjavec, who provided $350K for a 10% stake.

The Nitty-Gritty Details About Lumio

When closed and viewed from a few feet away, Lumio is almost indistinguishable from a book. At 8.5 inches tall, 7” wide, and 1.25” thick, Lumio’s front, back, and spine are covered with FSC certified dark walnut and blonde maple woods, each of which contain powerful neodymium magnets that allow it to be mounted to most metal surfaces.

As soon as you begin opening Lumio though, the 500-lumen, high-performing LEDs embedded in its Tyvec pages turn on, creating a warm ambient glow. According to the company, Lumio gives off about as much light as a standard 40-watt lightbulb, although this light will be diffused (versus direct) since its pages are opaque.

The company claims that Lumio’s lithium-ion battery will last approximately 8 hours (more about this in a moment) until needing to be recharged using the included MicroUSB cable, which will take 3-4 hours to complete. If you’re wondering about battery life, the manufacturer claims Lumio’s will last approximately 5 years, although it cannot be replaced once this occurs. However, Lumio is claimed to still work when plugged in even after the battery has lost its ability to hold a charge. And if you permanently mount it in place (e.g. a wall), it can even be attached to a dimmer.

Considering Lumio’s stylish design, small size, and ability to be transformed into multiple shapes, it is claimed to work in all areas of your home, whether as a table lamp, wall sconce, ceiling pendant, accent light, outdoor lighting, emergency light, or just about anything else you can imagine.

lumio usage

So, should you hand over a good chunk of change for Lumio? Could you spend this money on something that might illuminate your life better (pardon the terrible pun; we just couldn’t resist)? Consider the following:

Who Could Benefit Most from Lumio?

Although Lumio’s small size, battery-operation, and portability mean that it can be used in several different ways, each of these is fairly specific. In other words, without being attached to a constant power source, it’s probably not especially useful as a go-to lighting source in your home, so it will likely be used only on an intermittent basis.

With this in mind, we could foresee it being especially useful for reading in bed or on the couch, and for providing ambient lighting at dinner parties or other types of gatherings. During the latter, you’re looking to provide light (a fairly utilitarian purpose), while really wowing your guests with something they may not have seen before, and Lumio could fit the bill nicely.

In reality though, even as Max admitted during his Shark Tank appearance, one of the strongest benefits of Lumio is its portability, and its ability to provide warm light when outdoors, whether at the park or a camping trip. As such, if you host frequent gatherings at your home, enjoy spending quality relaxation time outdoors, or just appreciate cool lighting, Lumio might be right up your alley.

On the other had, as attractive as Lumio might be, if it’s just going to sit on your bookshelf only to emerge when the power’s out, the value might not be there quite yet.

How Functional is Lumio?

Each Lumio book light comes with a leather strap that allows it to be hung, as well as magnetic wooden pegs for mounting. And when you consider the magnets inside its covers, it seems that it really is possible to attach Lumio to just about every surface.

However, although the ability to attach Lumio to metal surfaces is pretty cool, other than your refrigerator (and perhaps your stove), how many useful metal surfaces do you really have in your home? As such, how often do you think you’ll be able to use this feature?

Also, while some might consider this a minor issue, it’s important to note that Lumio does not come with a wall charger, which means you’ll have to attach the micro USB cable to your computer (or to your smartphone’s wall adapter) to recharge.

Few Consumer Reviews for Lumio, Despite Its Popularity

Soon after its immensely successful Kickstarter campaign ended in March 2013, Lumio was featured in popular tech publications such as Gizmag, Engadget, and more. Since that time though, there has been only limited publicity for Lumio.

With that said, almost every review we read about Lumio during our research was highly favorable, with compliments for everything from its packaging and reference materials, to its clean design and beautiful glow when in use.

However, there were some relatively minor complaints. Digital Trends noted that Lumio is on the fragile side, so it might not be something you’d carry around in a bag on a full time basis. Also, the article noted that Lumio’s battery didn’t last more than 6 hours (despite the advertised 8) and that it won’t recharge while turned on.

As with Digital Trends, Cacotopos was very pleased with the product, although they noted minor distortions on the edges of some pages, in addition to its high price.

Despite having been in business for about 2 years, the company is not listed with the Better Business Bureau.

Lumio Pricing & Refund Policy

Lumio is currently priced at $190 (note: as of 1/23/15, there was an approximately 2-month delivery timeframe due to high demand).

Priced at $100, the Mini Lumio (3.75” W x 5.5” H x .875” T) not only provides light, but can also charge your portable electronic devices when on the go. You can also order an accessory bag containing a leather hanger, a micro USB cable, and 2 wooden pegs for $25.

According to the company’s website, Lumio is available at select retailers throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a refund policy or phone number listed on the Lumio website, and the only contact method is either via email or an online contact form.

Related: The Risks of Backing a Crowdfunded Campaign

Does Lumio Represent a Good Value?

Based on the raving reviews, and the fact that all 5 Sharks were willing to hand over large sums of money for a stake in the company, it’s fair to say that Lumio definitely has a great deal of market appeal. However, with a price tag edging $200, how much value you’ll get out of Lumio depends where (and how often) you’ll use it.

Need light at dinner parties, outdoor at the park, or while on a camping trip? Do you love cool gadgets or lighting? Are you typically an early adopter? If so, you might find Lumio’s high price worthwhile.

Or, are you just thinking about opening Lumio’s box and promptly placing it on a bookshelf or coffee table, only to be used during emergencies? If so, you might want to think about more useful items to spend your money on.

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21 Customer Reviews for Lumio

Average Customer Rating: 1.7
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 2 4 stars: 0 3 stars: 1 2 stars: 4 1 stars: 14
Bottom Line: 10% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 21
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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Malfunctions after less than one-month's use

    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Nov 14, 2016

    I received the Lumio as a gift. Although I charged it for 24-hours before the first use as instructed, the red indicator light never turned green.

    The battery lasted only 3-4 hours with each charge. This week, after having used the lamp for less than a month, night after night the lamp shut off after less than one-hit usage despite it being charged during the day.

    Just now, the Lumio quit working altogether. I tried charging it but red indicator no longer works. Nothing's works. I haven't dropped it. I am in Southern California where there is no rain, so not humidity to on which to blame the malfunction. Will never recommend Lumio to anyone.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Lumio sucks

    • Oct 28, 2016

    I ordered this for my wife. We used it around the house for about 3 months before it broke. I think it was the charging unit as others have mentioned. We contacted them and they said they wouldn't fix it. I think they might have a 30-day warranty or something.

    It is sad that the sharks would invest so much in a company that has such terrible customer service. This product was a good idea but the company absolutely blows. $200 and they won't fix their own product? What a joke.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Won't charge with a standard apple lightning cable.

    • London, England,
    • Sep 22, 2016

    I got this as a present and it's nice.

    I couldn't and still can't get it to charge with my apple phone charger and cable.

    It only seems to charge with the supplied very short 5-inch long cable which is very flimsy, and that has to be put in the correct slot in the correct orientation otherwise, nothing will happen. The sockets the USB and lightning cable go into are hidden behind a rubberized shroud so you can't see clearly whether you have plugged the cable in or not.

    Anyway I'm not too pissed off as it was a gift but if I had paid good money for this I would have returned it and demanded they resolve these design and manufacture issues before selling at such a high price.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Lumio LED Book Light

    • Cherry Hill, NJ,
    • Feb 17, 2016

    Lumio stopped working. Light would not turn off. Contacted support and received a response 24 hours later. Response was worthless. Replied and asked for info to send unit back for repair.

    Never received another response. Great product when it worked. Now worthless.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Poor customer service. no responses. no phone numbers

    • Phoenix, Arizona ,
    • Feb 9, 2016

    I purchased the Lumio after singing on shark Tank. It took many months to get it and was delayed a few months but their customer service was good at letting me know the delay time. After using it probably 10 times over several months, The book binding started cracking up and breaking. I can see it's very delicate. We treat it very gently and always have. I wrote them about it and asked if there was a way to get it repaired. I'm even willing to pay for that since I've had it for six or seven months! They replied stating that they could replace it for me if I gave them my information and send it back in the original packaging which we had. I gave them my information and I've heard nothing back from them. I'm now on my third or fourth email to them asking for this shipping label they said they would send me. Radio silence. I was extremely happy as I wanted to buy a few of these especially knowing that they came out with the smaller version. Any company that doesn't have a telephone number where you can call to speak to someone is ridiculous. I'm extremely unhappy.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Charging system broken out of the box.

    • Seattle, WA,
    • Jan 31, 2016

    No mater how artsy or cool it is, if the hardware is broken out of the box, this is just a paperweight. I received a brand new Lumio Mini for Christmas 2015. I plugged in my Apple USB/Lightning cable into the wall USB charger, a system that charges my iPad 2 in about three hours. Then I plugged the lighting end into the spin of the Lumio Mini and the red LED light came one. Four hours later the red LED was still on. I unplugged it and went to bed. The next day morning, I plugged it in again. By evening, the red LED light was still on. The next day, same process. Then yet the same thing another day.

    It has to have been plugged in for more than 20 hours at this point, and still no green LED illumination is seen. The unit just does not seem to recharge, or enter the mode where it knows it's fully charged. So either the charge electronics are broken/defective, or the battery inside is defective out of the box. So at this point, the charge state is unknown. Do I have hours or minutes of use? I guess I'll have to just turn it on and let it run dead.

    Better quality control should have been used in the assembly of this product. I contacted the only support venue, an email address, and it has gone unanswered after over 10 days now, even though the Lumio website promises a response within a day or so.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Beautiful but flawed

    I bought one of the first lights and was absolutely in love with it. It is a gorgeous product and I liked supporting this company. Within 8 months, the part where the plug inserts malfunctioned and it stopped charging. I hardly ever moved the light so it was not because of rough handling. It's just a really fragile connection. I got in touch with them hoping to replace it at best or repair it at least. I was told I had extended my 6 month warranty and I could buy another for a slight discount! I was really disappointed. I had planned to make this my Christmas gift this year for a couple of friends but no way. So now I own a dead Lumio. So bummed.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Product won't charge, company won't reply.

    • Lindsay, ON,
    • Jan 12, 2016

    I purchased the Lumio in January 2015 and received it in late December 2015 (I knew there would be a wait until October). Had to pay an extra $34 for shipping to receive it in Canada. The product won't recharge. I have emailed the company four times and still don't get a response. A huge rip-off that I am embarrassed about. It was over-priced, even if it worked! I DON'T recommend.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    No delivery, subpar customer service

    • New York, NY,
    • Jan 8, 2016

    I also would not recommend this as this company deliberately gives no phone number to have contact. They do not reply to emails and when they finally do, it is deceptive information. I think they lie. I pre-purchased a mini in October and paid for it. I was getting it for my husband's birthday which has passed now for a month. I was promised it would arrive on 12/23 and no email or arrival. They just suck and take the money and run. Now I have read the horrible quality control (seems to be none) about the product. It is shameful and they are getting away with it. Nothing is worth this headache.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Ordered, Never Received.

    • Jan 6, 2016

    I placed an order from Lumio. Six weeks later, I still haven't received my order. Very disappointing. Is it a real company or a scam? It looked like a cool product, but seems to be a take your money and run operation. After several email exchanges, still no reply and no Lumio.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Really frustrating

    • Wheeling, IL,
    • Jan 4, 2016

    Here's a company that has no idea what "customer service" is about. At 63 years old I've had some consumer experience and this is some of the worst, in fact, it barely exists Saw the company founder on Shark Tank in January 2015. Paid in advance for the mini Lumio.

    Usually a company doesn't charge your credit card until product ships and they weren't promising shipment until October. October came and went, as did November. They pushed back delivery until the first week of December and missed that deadline as well. In the meantime, I learned they were shipping to retail accounts while leaving their consumer base left with nothing but empty promises. Finally arrived and is a cool product, but over-priced and not worth the aggravation. They barely respond to emails, don't have any phone contact and after receiving item I can't figure out how to charge the device. Neither can the folks who I've shown it to.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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