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Logitech Litra Beam review: An amazing key light for streamers on a budget

Logitech's new Litra Beam stands out in an increasingly crowded market by being a compact, versatile, and inexpensive solution for even the most complex desk setups.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer on
Pros
  • Gets bright enough for almost any camera
  • Excellent range of supported brightness and color temps
  • Multiple attachments points for bases expands versatility
Cons
  • Included cable really needed a 90-degree angle connector
  • Some wire management makes adjustments difficult
  • No mobile support for Bluetooth controls

Having good-quality lighting can make even mediocre webcams look far better and help you look your best in live or recorded video. The lighting provided by your average table lamp might seem like enough, but it's often the wrong brightness level, gives your skin an unpleasant tone due to unnatural color temperatures, or can even introduce an unsettling flickering to your video. 

All of these issues can be avoided by acquiring one of the many purpose-built key light solutions designed specifically to brighten your appearance on camera. That plethora includes compact models, lots of super-bright units, and tons of highly adjustable key lights that get your unique skin tone just right. But, there are very few entries that offer all of those things in one package, and even fewer that do it for under $100. Logitech's Litra Beam key light is the first option I've used that ticks every single one of those boxes. 

Specifications

Lighting type  Permanent, adjustable LEDs
Brightness  Up to 400 lumens
Color temperature range 2700-6500K (Kelvin)
Color Rendering Index
93 CRI
Diffuser  Built-in "Proprietary Frameless Diffuser"
Mounting options 3 x 3 ¼-20 threaded inserts for use with third-party arms, or included desktop stand
Connectivity 1.5m USB-C to USB-A power and data cable, Bluetooth 
Dimensions  Light: 15.75 in (400 mm) x 1.18 in (30 mm) x 1.18 in (30 mm) | Arm: extended - 24.21 in (61.5 cm), collapsed - 14.57 in (37 cm) | Base: 5.91 in (150 mm) x 0.63 in (16 mm)
Software Logitech G Hub

Build and adjustments

Logitech's Litra Beam being used as a desk lamp

When not in use, the Litra Beam makes an excellent desk lamp, but that straight USB-C cable would've been much better with a 90-degree angle.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

I own several desks, all of which started out with Zen levels of minimalism and quickly devolved into cluttered spaces with almost no room to fit my latest review unit or personal device. Thankfully, Logitech made my testing job easy for once by designing the Litra Beam to not only be incredibly adjustable, but also very compact. 

The lamp itself includes three different ¼-20 threaded inserts (the same connector used by many tripods and flexible mounting arms) for attaching it to either its included base or a third-party mounting solution. This trio of mounting points allows you to connect the light to its base via one end or either the middle of the light's bottom or back panels. 

More: You can go live on Twitch with streaming software, but which is the best?

Logitech's Litra Beam key light's backside

You can see the back panel connector in the center, while the light is connected to its base via the other ¼-20 threaded insert on its end.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

The result is a light that can be positioned however you'd like across any axis of rotation, and in both vertical and horizontal orientations. Not only does this add the flexibility you need to fit it into your streaming setup, but it also helps light your video frame by aligning its illumination with your camera position. 

The base of the Logitech Litra Beam

Its round base includes some built-in channels on the underside for routing your cable and taking up unneeded slack

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

All of this adjustability is amplified by the weighty (23.17 oz) base included with the Litra Beam. The stable foundation keeps the key light exactly where you put it, even while going through the full range of adjustments. All adjustment points also retain their positioning perfectly once set. 

Controls

The simple yet versatile controls of the Litra Beam are located on the back of the device. They include a power switch, which remembers your settings between power cycles, a brightness rocker for adjusting light levels, and a color temperature rocker that will make your lighting cooler or warmer (2700-6500K). 

The controls of Logtiech's Litra beam

All of these adjustments can also be tweaked within Logitech's G Hub software.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

If the steps of brightness or temperature adjustment are too coarse, Logitech's G Hub software can provide more granular control of both, as well as access to hotkeys for swapping to pre-set lighting modes. 

The back also includes a Bluetooth pairing button. This lets you power your Litra Beam via a separate source while using your PC's Bluetooth connection to control the lighting via G Hub. As you'll see in the video below, all controls are responsive and easy to access, even mid-recording. 

More: The 5 best streaming mics: Start that podcast or Twitch channel

Lighting

Logitech's Litra Beam on its warmest setting

The included LEDs are so well diffused I had to purposely try to make them individually visible for this image. 

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

Exceptional build quality and convenient controls don't mean much if the light produced by the Litra Beam doesn't hold up. Luckily, I was shocked by the quality of lighting this tiny key light provides. As someone that usually relies on large, floor-standing softbox lights (the specific lighting kit I've used in many ZDNET videos can be found here) I didn't really expect the Litra Beam to be able to replace something so large in such a tiny form factor. I was wrong. 

Logitech's Litra Beam aimed at a white photographic background

The Litra Beam aimed at a white photographic background on a low brightness to show the shape of its light output. 

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

Despite the bar-like shape, the light output fills a frame extremely well. The variable color temperature also provided a pleasant cast to skin tones with less fuss than the aforementioned softbox lights. I found that I could easily light my videos with nothing more than the Litra Beam and a dim lamp for a bit of fill light. If you're a streamer with a decorative accent and RGB lighting around you (like most streamers), you likely won't need anything else at all. 

My praise is all well and good, but why don't I just show you how the Litra Beam does the job it's designed to do? As I mention in the video, I recorded the visuals below using nothing but the Litra Beam and a couple of dim table lamps located all the way across the room for some modest fill lighting. 

More: The 5 best vlogging cameras

To me, the results are astonishingly good for something no bigger than a desk lamp. Rather than setting up and breaking down a whole photo studio's worth of softbox lights and stands, you can leave the Litra Beam on your desk, either masquerading as a desk lamp like the earlier image, or sitting in the background like it is in the image below.

Logitech's Litra Beam located behind an ultrawide monitor with the light above it

The ample vertical lift provided by the included base means you can position the light above even taller monitors, including my ultrawide display at its own max height setting.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

This means you can "go live" at a moment's notice, knowing your lighting will be taken care of with the press of a button.

While one Litra Beam was more than enough for my needs -- and the needs of most streamers, I'd imagine -- Logitech also notes that you can add a second Litra Beam with both units in vertical orientations for even more lighting, if you need it. 

Bottom line 

I honestly believe a single Litra Beam is all that most streamers will need. It's great for recording video, taking photos, or even just lighting Zoom calls I wanted to look particularly impressive in. It won't fill an entire room with light, nor will it work for multi-cam setups using a movie studio's worth of equipment. But, neither of those things is what the Litra Beam is designed for. This is a key light for streamers and content creators wanting a singular, compact solution they can down on their desks and then never worry about their lighting setups again. 

Aside from a few very minor gripes, like a USB-C cable that was begging for a 90-degree connector, the Litra Beam is one of the best, simplest, and most purpose-built lighting solutions I've ever used. If you can fit the $99 MSRP in your setup budget, I'd pick one up immediately.

Alternatives to consider 

If you want a comparable solution you can stuff in a laptop bag for streaming on the go, consider the Beam's smaller sibling, the Litra Glow. 

If you're looking for an option from another well-respected gaming peripheral company, but want a full range of RGB lighting in addition to adjustable color temperatures, Razer has you covered. But, it'll cost you quite a bit more than the Litra Beam.

Already have a stand, arm, or other mounting solution? The Elgato Key Light Mini is slightly more flexible since it's even smaller than the Litra Beam, but you'll need to provide your own mount.

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