REVIEW – Lighting can make or break your work area, and it can do the same for video. If making videos is your work, that’s a double whammy. Today’s gadget offers help in this area with some surprising sidebars. The GeoSmartPro AirLit is a wireless portable ring light with a fan. There’s also a mirror involved. Stay tuned!
What is it?
The GeoSmartPro AirLit ring light is a ring light that offers a wide gamut of color temperatures paired with a multi-speed fan, with a magnetically attachable mirror.
What’s in the box?
- Battery/charging base
- GeoSmartPro AirLit ring light/fan with telescoping stand
- Clamp-on phone holder
- USB-A<=>USB-C Power cable
- Control: Full control at the tap of your fingertip via GeoSmartPro App.
- Fan: Select the fan mode (low, high, medium, and nature) according to your preference to manage the airflow.
- Light: Set the light theme (warm, neutral, and cool) according to your set environment, ideal for live streaming and vlogging.
- Mirror: Transform it into the light mirror, ideal for the beauty-up and hairstyle.
- App automation: Personalise your AirLit through App automation.
- Portable: Ease of use, up to 15 hours on a full charge.
- Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
The GeoSmartPro AirLit ring light arrives in several large pieces. The base can be charged independently of the stand being inserted, but once the base is charged, the stand needs to be inserted and locked into place in order to use the ring-light or the fan. Inserting and twist-locking the stand into place is very easy, and once done, need not be repeated.
The light and fan can be controlled with the buttons in the base, but can also be controlled, in theory, with the downloadable app.
The GeoSmartPro AirLit ring light is advertised as a smart light that you control with your smartphone. I checked the first few pages of the instructions, tried to initiate pairing with the buttons on the fan base, and had no luck at all. Finally, on PAGE 19(!!) of the instruction manual, it says “Oh, yeah, you should download this app, and here’s the pairing instructions.” PAGE 19!! After downloading and pairing, I’d love to report that the phone was able to fully control the fan and lighting features of the AirLit, but it was not to be. Sometimes, the fan always remained one setting off: when it was set to off, it was actually on low. When set to high, it was off. Sometimes, it was totally unresponsive. I re-paired, reset, and generally did everything except allow all the batteries to run completely down and start from scratch, but there was always this one or two level difference between what the phone app said and how the ring light or fan was set, or just no response whatsoever. So it goes – we just learn to accept the variance and live with it.
As far as actual performance (not counting the app and how it is set up), the lighting was great. With buttons, you can set it to full cool lighting, full warm, or a nice 50/50 mixture of both by tapping the button repeatedly. In the app, you can actually go from full warm to full cool seamlessly with a slider. Having a way to do it numerically would be nice, since you have to release the slider to wait for the new setting to take effect.
The fan is somewhat silent, as advertised, at the lowest speed. Going further up the speed levels creates noise, and is exacerbated by the mirror, which covers the airflow somewhat.
The mirror is a thin glass adhered to a thin, stiff fiberboard. This is then encased in a silicon housing with a high-strength magnet on the back. That round magnet mates with a steel piece set into the center of the fan motor, allowing the mirror to be centered in the ringlight with just enough space for air to pass around it.
There are other features of this unit: you can charge the phone from the battery while you’re shooting, you can use it as a desk lamp that gives you many angles for your work area, either direct task lighting or bounced from the ceiling or a wall. The head spins 360º, while it tilts fully from parallel to the work surface 180º to shine straight up. It would be great for anyone doing remote work (like, camping or beach remote) or recording in other areas where the power may not be available. Not easy to break down and travel with, but worth it if it’s needed.
The total weight of the unit is only 2 pounds 9 ounces (1160 grams). It’s pretty easy to walk around with, unless you have it extended to its full length 30” length. Then it’s a bit unwieldy.
What I like
- Full cool/warm/mixed lighting range
- Fan cools user off
- Charging port
What I’d change
- Ring light needs to allow user to shoot through the ring
- The button doesn’t actually show the status of light or fan, other than on or off
- Once assembled, breaking down for travel or storage is difficult, due to the tight fit of the post into the socket.
Ring lights were invented by photographers to cast light evenly on subjects from all sides of the lens of the camera. You get the benefit of the even lighting, but also, there is a nice round image in the eyes of the subject, if the lens is far enough removed. With glasses, this effect can have very bad results. I’ve learned to tip my glasses up so that the reflection is not as bad, but in the video, you’ll note that because the light was 5-8 inches above the ring, sometimes you’d see the reflection. But all this means the camera lens needs to shoot through the ring. The GeoSmartPro AirLit ring light, however interesting and functional, misses this primary function of a ring light: even lighting from all around the lens of the camera. While it does provide decent lighting and even cooling for those under the hot lights (LEDs, by nature, don’t get hot, but you do you!), it doesn’t provide that even lighting a ring light is designed to give.