An innovative alternative to LED headlights
Recently I got the chance to try an interesting new LED light that works really well on hiking and camping trips, but it also has a whole heap of other potential uses.
The Enevu CUBE is a cube-shaped LED light that is marketed as a mood & utility light. The official marketing video shows several different use cases, such as hiking, camping, relaxation, parties and entertainment.
The use case for hiking and camping is what I found most intriguing, and why I decided to try it. One of the most annoying issues when hiking in wilderness areas is obviously having enough light at night time. I’ve never been a great fan of head lights, because their light is very pointed, so it doesn’t cover much of the surroundings (obviously there are many different head lights on the market, it’s entirely possible there are better ones than mine). When talking to other people one needs to be careful not to blind them, and they’re also a bit clumsy to use as a source of light inside a tent.
Basic feature list:
- White light with 3 brightness levels
- Colour mode, where the cube will slowly change colours until a colour is locked in
- Includes a hanging hook that is useful in tents
- 3 AAA batteries are included
- Depending on brightness level up to around 100h of runtime
- About 5cm long on each side
- Weight approx. 100g including batteries
- Different colours available
- US$30 with free shipping
On my recent trips to The Grampians and Blanket Bay I carried two CUBEs with me and used them a lot. I found them very useful as a light source inside my tent, especially my small hiking tent. In my larger family tent I wished brightness was a little bit higher, but it was good enough.
I usually carried one CUBE in my pocket at night for use as a flashlight when needed, and also when taking night sky photos, to adjust my camera between shots.
What I really like about the CUBE is its flexibility for different uses. If space is limited, I can take the diffusor off and only carry the bottom section, which reduces the height to about one third. The addition of colour LEDs is a nifty design touch, and turns it into a mood light that can display pretty much any colour. It’s a bit slow to cycle through colours though, and if you want a particular colour you may need to wait a while before it appears, then lock it in with the mode switch.
I gave one of my CUBEs to Frank and during the camping trip to Blanket Bay he found an interesting use for the colour mode by placing it underneath a water container, as shown in the picture below.
I found the battery life to be very good, and although I didn’t measure it my feeling was it exceeds the specified runtime. One issue I noticed though is, that when batteries are becoming weaker, the CUBEs will continue to work for many hours but brightness will slowly fade. I’m not sure if this is intentional by design, but I would prefer if it worked at maximum brightness for as long as possible and then simply shut off when batteries are empty. The reason is purely that most people will likely want it to run at maximum brightness, so they will replace the batteries as soon as brightness starts to fade. Obviously that’s a waste of batteries if they’re not completely empty yet.
Apart from this little issue, the only thing I would love to see improved in future versions is size and weight, to make it more pocket-sized and more appealing to lightweight hikers. It seems the current size of the CUBE is largely shaped by the use of AAA batteries. Given the trend to use built-in batteries in phones, laptops, cameras and wireless speakers there might be a way to reduce size and weight and make it rechargeable via USB.
Overall though I’m really happy with the CUBE. It’s a very versatile, well-designed light source and I will continue to take mine on hiking and camping trips, because I prefer it over wearing my headlights.
- Very bright at highest level
- Flexible modes, even a colour mode
- Surprisingly small
- Batteries included
- Reasonably priced at US$30
Things I would improve
- With 3 AAA batteries probably not very appealing to lightweight hikers
- Brightness slowly fades over several hours when batteries run empty
- Included hanging hook easily bends
Disclosure: I was provided with free review samples by the manufacturer.