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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.
Permanent, adjustable LEDs
Up to 400 lumens
Color temperature range
Color Rendering Index
Built-in "Proprietary Frameless Diffuser"
3 x 3 ¼-20 threaded inserts for use with third-party arms, or included desktop stand
1.5m USB-C to USB-A power and data cable, Bluetooth
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)
Logitech G Hub
Build and adjustments
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.