It all started when LuMee founder Allan Shoemake's daughter was going to school in Florence. The two would Skype every week, and Shoemake wondered why his daughter was always poorly lit, despite having some of the best technology available for video calls. Shoemake quickly got to work, and with his laptop and a couple of Christmas lights, designed the first idea for what would go on to be the LuMee LED light phone case.
The LuMee phone case has become a social media favorite and a necessity for selfie addicts around the world. The case works as a lightsource with a string of LED lights around the front phone screen which you can control with a button on the back of the case.
Since the case's release the LuMee has blown up, mostly thanks to their newest partnership with Kim Kardashian West aka Queen of the Selfies aka the most polarizing person on social media, who wrote in a recent Instagram post that she owns LuMee's patent.
Kim and her sisters can regularly be seen snapping selfies with the LuMee and sharing them with their combined +200 million followers on social media, so it's no surprise that the demand for the case is higher than most. But at nearly $50 for the LuMee (plus shipping, depending on where you live), the case is not exactly a super inexpensive option, so what's the big hype?
Is the LuMee worth it, or it just another Kardashian/Jenner-backed flash in the pan? (Sorry, Kylie, but your lipsticks aren't really getting the best reviews).
While not necessarily the thinnest, most inconspicuous case out there (it honestly feels a bit like having one phone stacked atop another phone at first), the LuMee is a pretty sleek and stylish phone case. The back of the case comes in up to seven different colors depending on the type of phone you have, so you can pick between black, white, rose gold, hot pink, navy, mint, or silver (bonus: all of the colors are vivid, bright, and beautiful). The front of the case is clear with the LED lights lining the sides.
The LuMee logo is prominently displayed on the back of the case, meaning that there's really no way to cover it up if you're taking a mirror selfie. The back of the case is also very textured, which means slapping a sticker over the logo may be hard to do without it sliding off. But hey, at least you can grip the phone better for all those awkward (but necessary) selfie angles.
If you have your eye on the LuMee case, you're probably buying it for the LED lights that run up either side of the screen (if you're buying it for any other particular reason, let us know why in the comments below!)
The LED lights, even on the dimmest setting, are quite bright. You can control how bright they get with the button on the back – one tap turns it on or off, but holding the button down dims or brightens the LEDs. This means you can control the amount of light you let into each selfie so you don't run the risk of washing yourself out.
Another thing about the LuMee is its durability and screen protection: the case has a raised bezel which protects screens from cracking or chipping in case you drop it mid-selfie.
The overall design for the LuMee case is relatively user friendly. Your phone snaps snuggly into the case once it's installed, the LED lights turn on and off at an instant and dim in a slow enough way that you can find your perfect lighting, and the button on the back is easy to access so you're not fumbling with your phone to get your snapshot.
The biggest issue with the LuMee? Getting the damn thing off. Seriously, whoever made the LuMee video showing that you "simply have to … grab the phone with three fingers, then lift up" to get it out of the case was smoking something.
After trying to remove the case like the woman in the video, I grew impatient and used my key to pry the phone out. When that didn't work, I used all my strength to push down on the bottom portion of the case so that a corner of the phone would pop out. This went on for about 10 minutes as I teeter tottered between panic that I might snap my phone if I pulled any harder, and anger that my fingers kept getting caught whenever just one side of the phone made it out of the case.
Eventually the phone was removed, but not before some swearing and pinched sausage fingers.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, the LuMee is a really great case if you're looking for something to up your social media game and your selfie skills.
But if you're someone who isn't necessarily as obsessed with your physical appearance as others (cough, Kim K, cough), then maybe skip the $50-$60 case and go for something that is actually possible to take off your phone without having a breakdown.
Cella writes for iMore on social and photography. She's a true crime enthusiast, bestselling horror author, lipstick collector, buzzkill, and Sicilian. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @hellorousseau