Bringing a LuMee case to a party means you’re coming armed with a fool-proof party trick.
The case, which has built-in lights to brighten up your photos, is synonymous with selfie-takers, Kim Kardashian, and the Insta-famous set. It’s unlike anything else on the market, and at the very least, the lights are incredibly bright. In short, it tends to draw a crowd.
I am neither Insta-famous nor a fan of selfies, and yet I’ve long been fascinated by the LuMee case. Does it really light your photos flawlessly? Would it turn me, a non-selfie-taker, into someone who loves them? Would I suddenly look as good as Kim does?
I decided to find the answers to those questions with the LuMee Duo, the company’s newest product and the first case with lights on both the front and the back. Here’s what I found:
LuMee was invented by Allan Shoemake, a former professional photographer who got tired of dealing with poor lighting while video chatting with his daughter.
His original prototype for the LuMee case was a piece of cardboard with Christmas lights stuck to it, but things have drastically improved since: The LuMee case is heavy-duty, durable, and the lighting is surprisingly powerful. In a video on LuMee’s site, Shoemake describes the case as a “professional lighting kit attached to your phone.”
The case is arguably most famous for its biggest proponent: Kim Kardashian. The case started popping up in Kardashian’s Instagrams in 2015 and she officially partnered with LuMee in early 2016.
Not just for selfies anymore
I tested out the LuMee Duo, which originally launched in December 2016. The case is different from its predecessors because it’s not just for selfies: It has the signature lights for your front-facing camera, but it also has lights on the back for using your regular rear-facing camera.
The first thing I noticed about the LuMee case was how hefty it was. Once I snapped it onto my phone — which took a certain amount finagling and a lot of muscle — it just about doubled the thickness of my iPhone.
And it’s heavy, too. The lights on the back are the likely culprit, but I was not prepared for how this case turned my phone into a brick. I was asked by friends several times while I was testing it whether the case charged my phone and the answer is, sadly, no.