I’ve been both a home renovator and a smartphone user for a long time. Invariably both of these factors coalesce into a solitary problem where there simply isn’t enough light to take a photo of something I need to see clearly or document. It doesn’t matter if it’s a plumbing situation behind a washer and dryer, a crawl space, or the interior of an attic I’m inspecting for leaks. When the QLite Pro Smartphone LED Floodlight came across my desk I didn’t need anyone to explain the tool to me—I got it instantly. Using a similar principle as a ring light, the QLite Pro Smartphone LED Floodlight delivers a constant, much smoother, wash of light across your area of photography. That means you don’t need the flash, and your smartphone can automatically adjust its settings to take advantage of the increased light—and even use HDR to get a more dynamic photo.
QLite Pro Smartphone LED Floodlight Features
The QLite Pro LED Floodlight doesn’t do a ton—but what it does it does perfect. Featuring a compact size, it’s just big enough to fit monstrous phones like the iPhone 6 plus (or pending iPhone 6S Plus), but compact enough that you don’t feel encumbered by it if you attach your phone and take it around a jobsite. The functionality is simple, and there’s just one button, two USB ports, and a spring-loaded mounting clip that holds your phone securely in place—even upside down and when jarred.
The mini USB port is for recharging the integrated 2600 mAh lithium-ion battery included in the Jigsaw QLite Pro and the full size USB A connector is for providing up to 1.0A of output to your smartphone.
You can operate the QLite Pro Smartphone LED Floodlight in either low or high modes, and there are blue LEDs (four of them) to indicate the battery level remaining for floodlight use or phone charging. Our sample was a nylon-based 3D printed model, but the final will be made from ABS plastic, giving it even more durability and a smoother finish. One of the stretch goals of Jigsaw Informatics is to deliver a rubberized sleeve for the QLite Pro, making it an even more durable product.
Using the QLite Pro Smartphone LED Floodlight
Our use of the QLite Pro Smartphone LED Floodlight included taking it underneath a vehicle to inspect everything from a transmission to our front ball joints. The increased light output is, quite literally, a night and day difference, and the ability to turn off your phone’s flash makes for a much clearer photo, with more detail and depth. You can really document issues and do better inspections with the QLite Pro than with a standard camera and flash. Take a look at the standard camera (left) and the camera using the QLite Pro (right). Note that this was taken in full daylight with the vehicle on the ground.
We next took the system inside and photographed the inside of a fireplace, with dark matte paint, to see how it would do with little to no reflectivity to aid lighting. The difference is clear to see:
This is one of those products where it’s easy to see the value. The QLite Pro is compact, long-lasting, and easy to use. For home inspectors, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, or anyone who ever has need to take a photo in a poorly lit space, this accessory is something you really need to consider. This product was so unique and innovative, in fact, that we reviewed a prototype while the Kickstarter campaign was getting underway. We don’t do that very often. Be sure to visit their Kickstarter page or the QLite Pro website and get more info if this seems like a tool you could use. Currently, a pledge of $40 gets you one, and if you operate a company, a 5-pack can be had for just $200. That’s almost like stealing it.
If that isn’t good enough, Jigsaw Informatics has added a QLite Pro DX model with a smaller battery that supports about 90 minutes of continuous operation at High Output and about 6 hours of operation at Low Output. The QLite Pro DX also does NOT include the ability to charge smartphones. The DX model actually will retail for around $35 when the product goes live.