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.

Read 29 Lumio Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 1.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 4 4 star: 0 3 star: 1 2 star: 4 1 star:  20
Bottom Line: 14% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 29
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  • Great customer service

    • By Donna,
    • Maryland,
    • Jun 23, 2015

    My Lumio was packaged great and had no damage. I received it mid April. Last week I emailed their customer service to let them know that it would not turn off while in the closed position. They requested a photo in which I sent the next day. Two days later they emailed me a return label and said my replacement was already in the mail, I received the replacement today before I even had the chance to return the defective one. I was very impressed with their customer service. Sorry the above people had problems. I'm enjoying mine.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • Exquisite light in a beautiful book

    • By Barbara Maspm,
    • Hillsboro Oregon,
    • Aug 12, 2015

    I bought this strictly on impulse, which I never do. I got mine from the de Young Museum in San Francisco online. It is the neatest thing. I doubt I will use it so much as a light but as a conversation piece. Everyone I show it to is enthralled. It is the coolest thing ever. I have had no problems. It does take time for a company to get going. I expect this technology to be an amazing thing for the future and am excited to have a sample.

    I can't wait to see where this goes.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • What a gem!

    • By John Harris,
    • San Diego, CA,
    • Mar 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I picked up the Lumio Mini second hand and boy was I impressed by both the functionality and such a quick charge. It did not light up when I first opened the book, but after only a 5-minute charge using the same lightning cable and charger I use for my iPhone 6, it was so full of light I was actually startled because I was expecting an overnight charge before it had sufficient power.

    One review complained that the charging port was too narrow to accept a USB charging cable. Well, despite sloppy wording in the instructions ("micro USB" was used), Lumio Mini only requires a much smaller Apple lightning cable. The use of the lightning cable for charging is clearly demonstrated in the product video, as well.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • You gotta love Lumio!

    • By Ellen K.,
    • Sarasota, FL,
    • Oct 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I purchased three mini Lumios as well as several Classic Lumios - some for myself and others as gifts. I did encounter some of the same problems mentioned above, but Lumio did eventually stand behind their product and cheerfully replaced my Lumios that for some reason did not charge. I LOVE the product, and if you can struggle through the issues you have, in the end, this is a great light. The gentleman who handled my situation was very attentive and made such a positive impression that I am ordering additional Lumios for people on my Christmas list this year. Lumio has brightened my life. Thank you for reading this.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • Poor customer service. no responses. no phone numbers

    • By Julia Lichtenberger ,
    • 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

  • Really frustrating

    • By Larry Rivkin,
    • 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

  • Beautiful but flawed

    • By Graceann Warn,
    • Ann Arbor, MI,
    • Jan 26, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    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

  • Charging system broken out of the box.

    • By Thomas,
    • Seattle, WA,
    • Jan 31, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    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

  • Lumio LED Book Light

    • By Ron S,
    • Cherry Hill, NJ,
    • Feb 17, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    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

  • Detached and untrustworthy customer service

    • By Sarah Lynn,
    • Santa Rosa, California ,
    • Jun 8, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    I purchased a Lumio as a birthday gift for my boyfriend on January 19th. I was told that the orders were backed up and I wouldn't receive anything until mid March. Before I knew it, mid March was here but my Lumio wasn't. Curious as to where it was, I contacted the company. They responded that same day with a very generic and basic automated response "Thank you for your purchase. We understand that you are wondering where your Lumio is. We assure you that the shipment will be arriving to us by April 6th and sent out your way shortly there after." I'm pleased that they gave me an actual date but I patiently waited until April. On April 12th with no email or Lumio, I emailed them again. They immediately sent back the IDENTICAL email that was sent to me previously. Very disappointed in their customer service. I expressed my frustration and concern for receiving the product. I was told that "we never have you an exact date". Funny enough I saved the previous email that did in fact say the date of April 6th.

    Not only is their company a joke but their product doesn't live up to the expectations they made everyone believe. I am going to make sure that Lumio knows how awful their customer service is and that they should REALLY focus on improving that if they want returning customers.

    If I could return it, I would however I haven't received it yet and they don't have a return policy. Worst customer service experience ever!

    I HIGHLY recommend not to purchase this product!

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

  • Horrible quality control and customer service

    • By Tim,
    • Minneapolis, MN,
    • May 26, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    Beware this company. I bought one and it was so warped it wouldn't stay closed. For a $200 light you think their customer service would be helpful. After three weeks of canned email responses (if I got any response), I can say from personal experience this is like working with Comcast to resolve a problem. I sent them photos of the defective unit, and communicated with them 13 times to replace a poorly manufactured product. When it was all said and done, I insisted on a refund. It wasn't until I sent them a tracking number and told them if they didn't credit my card for the full cost of the unit did they respond with a refund. The kicker? They told me they would pay for shipping back to them but instead deducted the shipping from the original shipping I paid to them to ship me a bad product. So now I'm out $14 to play with their poorly manufactured battery-powered light bulb and they still are refusing to refund $100 plus dollars they already took from my account to "reserve" a mini-lumio when they come out 8 months from now. Just a warning for anyone thinking of throwing money to these folks. I spent hours upon hours of my life just trying to get back to zero and I'm still not there three weeks later.

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

Showing 1-11 of 29

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