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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  • 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

  • Doesn't last, poor warranty, poor customer service

    • By Ruth,
    • Indiana,
    • Jul 20, 2015

    I bought one for my daughter for Christmas and it already is malfunctioning. I double checked the website and it does not say anything about the warranty. For the price, it should at least have a one year warranty. My daughter contacted the company and was told they do NOT REPAIR them either. So I definitely would not purchase from them again.

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

  • Bad product, worse service

    • By Jose,
    • Spain,
    • Oct 20, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    I waited months for the product to be delivered and after I had it and used it less than 10 times, the product is broken and the only option provided by Lumio is to buy a new one or wait for a repair program that is not available yet.

    6 months warranty, bad quality and really bad service.

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

  • Broke after gentle use

    • By Ann,
    • Toronto,
    • Oct 27, 2015

    After gentle use and maybe 3-4 charges, the charging port became loose and no longer would charge. Company refused to repair as purchased over 6 months ago. Not good quality for such a pretty design.

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

  • Cheap

    • By J H,
    • Kalispell, MY,
    • Dec 14, 2015

    Upon opening the box it had been shipped in, you could see it was poorly packed. I opened the book and one of the magnets fell out. The light would not turn off when shut and the instructions were torn and ripped. This was 4 minutes after arriving. Currently I'm in the process of immediately demanding a refund as the product is already non functional and was only being inspected before gifting. Seeing the above reviews, it appears I need to get ready for a long battle. I will update what transpires but for now STAY CLEAR of this cheaply made and very expensive item.

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

  • Terrible Customer service.

    • By Bob Willis,
    • Dallas, TX,
    • Dec 23, 2015

    This company is a rip off. I ordered three mini Lumios in 2014 and they promised delivery in October of 2015, Today is December 10, 2015 and I have received nothing. They do not answer their email. Only automated responses. Be smart and buy one on Amazon. Beware.

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

  • Ordered January 2015, still waiting.

    • By Amy,
    • Minnesota,
    • Dec 26, 2015

    I ordered the mini in 01/2015 and was told to expect it in mid 10/15. I was OK with this and made the purchase. That month has come and gone and now almost two full months later I still do not have the product I paid for in January. I would not recommend this company to anyone. I have tried in vain to contact the company and get a refund. If I could give this company zero stars I would.

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

  • Ordered, Never Received.

    • By D,
    • 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

  • No delivery, subpar customer service

    • By Alison,
    • 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

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

    • By Ruth R,
    • 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

Showing 1-11 of 29

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