Painting miniatures can be a frustrating experience if you lack a good light or lamp. Your colour scheme and highlights might look beautiful at the painting table, only to look completely different in daylight or at the gaming table.
What is worse, with many lamps you have to bend forward to be able to see properly because you cannot position the lamp in the right spot to avoid shadows. This is not only frustrating to work under, but will lead to back pain and make your painting sessions significantly shorter (Not to mention bad for your health).
But with a lamp you can position correctly and that has good light, you can avoid these problems.
This is my Uberlight Flex Lamp Review from the Reliable and I will take an in-depth look to see if this lamp will solve your miniature painting lighting issues. You can always find our current miniature lamp recommendations here.
I will start by giving an overview of the lamp. After that, I go through the various features and questions you might have about it. I end up with a list of pros and cons for the products, some alternative lamp options for miniature painting and my recommendation based on various use cases.
Review Copy Disclosure
Reliable sent me this lamp for review. I have agreed to review this lamp, but I have promised Reliable nothing more than that. No money has changed hands and Reliable does not get to approve this article before it is published.
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What is the Uberlight Flex LED Task Light from Reliable?
The Uberlight Flex Lamp is a small LED lamp made for the needs of various hobbyists and creatives. It has a minimal head with two rows of LED bulbs. A strong flexible core makes up the body and it is very lightweight. It comes in a version with a base to put on the desk or a clamp you screw onto a surface. It also comes in a black and white version.
The design is super simple and very light. Because of the flexible core of the lamp, you can position it where you most need it for the task at hand.
This review is based on my experience using the lamp for about 1.5 months as my “daily driver” for hobby tasks. This has mostly included painting miniatures, assembling miniatures and lighting up my 3D printer workspace. This is a review of the 3200TL model, which simply means that it is black and it has the clamp.
As far as I can tell the only difference between the 3100TL, 3200TL, 4100TL and 4200TL is the colour and whether or not it has a clamp or a base. There is no mechanical difference in light or functionality.
This lamp works well for a small painting station that is moved reguarly around.
You can fold it down and take it on the go or hide it away easily.
- Sturdy and Highly Rated by users
- Mobile and light design
- Provides good light coverage for many use cases
- Limited amount of LED's will lead to some shadows when painting
- Limited light settings
- Clamp can be a bit fiddly
Elements and features of the Uberlight Flex Lamp you should care about
Light coverage from the LED lights on the Uberlight Flex Lamp
For a hobby lamp one of the most important factors in selecting a good lamp is the light it shines. The Uberlight Flex Lamp features two rows of LED lights with 12 lights in each. This gives adequate coverage for many hobby situations. I had no problem doing assemble of miniatures, lighting up a workspace for some 3D printing and doing more rough miniature painting.
Sadly, for super complex and detailed paint techniques I did not find the light coverage good enough. The main problem is that the lamp has a limited amount of LED and the two rows are very closely bunched together, which very quickly leads to shadows falling on the miniature. With my bigger lamps this is much less of an issue.
As an example, the Uberlight has 2x 12 LEDs in a row of 11.5 cm long and 1 cm wide. The rows are closely bunched between each other. My current big miniature painting workhorse lamp has 2x 42 LEDs in a row of 50 cm long and spaced out between each other. With a big lamp with loads of LEDs, it is much easier to position the lamp and your hands to avoid the miniature, your hands or tools casting a shadow on the spot you need to look at.
This also means that the Uberlight Flex is very hard to share between two people that are trying to paint. It will simply not provide enough bright coverage of light.
But having a small lamp is not all bad, as a smaller lamp is much easier to store, move and makes for an overall more sleek and less robust design (read: my workhorse lamp is super ugly and takes up a lot of space).
If you are constantly painting highlights or doing very detailed fiddly work, the light coverage of the Uberlight Flex will likely not be adequate. If this is not an important aspect for you, the smaller design will likely be a benefit.
Ligh intensity and colour of the Uberlight Flex
Another important aspect of a good lamp is how much light each LED produces and the colour range it is in. This lamp has 3 functions for power and 3 functions for colour temperature, making for 9 settings in total. You cycle through these options with 2 different buttons (more on those later).
The power options are 2W, 4W and 6W and the colour presets are 2700 kelvin, 4000 kelvin and 5000 kelvin. 2700k is very yellow and 5000k is more white.
I will most of the time require all the light I can get and have it on 6W or I want very little light and have it on 2W. This is the same with the colour where I either want it as close to white as possible, 5000k, or as yellow and mellow as I can get it – so 2700k. I have never used the in-between settings.
The power intensity has been fine for me. While I would love a few more LED’s to have a broader projection of light, I felt that the power output of each LED was sufficient for painting and doing hobby work. I am not a huge fan of the preset method, having been spoiled with lamps that have a knob to adjust more finely how much light is produced.
I am also not very fussed about the kelvin presets. The range is rather limited, as I want to go below 2700k for some uses and above 5000k for other hobby projects. I find that 2700k at 2W still strains my eyes a bit much when working with only this light in an otherwise dark environment. Being able to go warmer on with less light would have been great.
For miniature painting consistent colours, I would like to hit a bit higher than 5000k to get closer to real sunlight white. But, it is not a huge issue. My biggest gripe is the 3 presets. While it is certainly simple to use, I like control more than I like ease of use.
All of this said the lamp provides a perfectly good light for many, many aspects of my hobby and gaming life. All of this just means that the Uberlight Flex cannot compete with super big lamps with loads of features. But, I do not think it has to because it got some other positives that does lamps cannot have.
Flexible body and turnable lamp position makes the Uberlight Flex Lamp very mobile
While the Uberlight Flex has a very hard time competing with the big boys in terms of light produced, the number of led and all of that stuff, it is now time for it to truly shine (phun not intended).
The Uberlight Flex is… well, very flexible! Other hobby desk lamps I have used are based on a design where you have some stiff elements attached to some kind of turnable element. This means that those lamps can be somewhat fiddly to get positioned correctly and there are some positions that they just cannot get into because of the design choice.
The WHOLE of the Uberlight Flex body can be turned and adjusted. And because of the material the flexi material is made of, the lamp never sagged. It just stays where I put it! This is likely also one of the reasons why lamp head has been designed so light, to avoid it sagging down the construction when in use.
Painting or doing hobby stuff below the lamp has been an absolute joy in this regard. The lamp just gets out of my way and lets me do my thing. While I dislike that the head of the lamp is small because it does not create a sufficient area of shadowless brightness, the head is also less in the way. For some hobby stuff that can be a big bonus.
The head of the lamp can also be adjusted from side to side, making it even more of a breeze to get into position. This has been a breath of fresh air compared to the bulky design I have been used to with hobby lamps.
Weight and mobility of the Uberlight Flex
Confession time: I own a lot of lamps. So when someone says they want to send me a lamp for review, it needs to stand out and be something I can see a use case for that has not been coved. Two elements stood out to me with the Uberlight Flex: non-bulky design and the possibility of having an actual mobile lamp. We will get to what I think about looks and design later.
Now we need to address what I think is the biggest and most important feature of this lamp: mobility.
You can see a lot of aspects from a product page, but it is only when you get it into your own hands that you know what you got.
When I first folded the Uberlight Flex and put it into my backpack I was ecstatic! My dreams were finally true: an actual mobile painting lamp that could bring along on trips!
I have been looking for a super mobile and great hobby lamp for so long. Finally, I have one!
While many pro painters will use the OttLite LED mobile task light when going to conventions, it was just not for me. Not only could I only get it shipped from the US, but it was also too bulky for my use case and powered by batteries (no thanks).
The Uberflex lamp is just a bit above 1kg in weight and when folded it is only 45 cm in height and fills up very little space.
So why is this so amazing?
Well, most of my lamps are mobile in the site that I can quickly take them from one table to another, they are very hard to pack away. And they do not look particularly pleasing, so when I lived in an apartment and had my hobby station in our living room this was not super great. Not only could see living out the Uberlight without it being obtrusive but you can also quickly put it in a drawer.
But the best part is that you can take this on a vacation, to a friends house or when you visit your family for a weekend.
I have come to a point where I simply refuse to do any sort of hobby under bad lighting. This has meant that I was far less likely to get any painting done on a vacation. It also meant that getting together and paint with friends was a bit of a hassle (sharing a lamp is not the greatest). Now I can easily pack this in my bag and hop on my bicycle with it. And with the sturdy build I am not at all worried about breaking a part of the lamp.
For me, this is a killer feature. If you want light and mobile I think this is the hobby lamp for you. Yes, you do sacrifice some light coverage but for me, the pros clearly outweigh the cons here. I love it as my secondary lamp.
Design and construction of the Uberlight Flex
As a last element, we need to talk about the small bits and pieces.
I have talked about the design of the lamp a couple of times and yeah I just really like the overall look. It is sleek and blends in. It does not look like an out of place monster like other lamps I own.
You have a simple two-button system. The power button is the same button you press for cycling the 3 different power presets. You also hold in that button for turning off the lamp. The last button will cycle the temperature.
While I always appreciate simplicity in these sorts of things (yeah, I am looking at you BenQ WIT lamp), a dedicated power button would have been nice. Holding down the button to turn it off is not my thing.
The clamp does its jump and is very much as I expected. It can be slightly awkward to turn and screw in at times, but no big deal.
One issue with moving the lamp is the power cord. The cord ends in USB, which means you can either use their power brig or plug into a nearby device that can power the USB. But the other end of the cord is permanently attached to the lamp and it gets in the way of the clamp every single time I move it. A small thing, but small things do matter when you use something every day.
Also, the clamp cannot be removed from the lamp itself. Removing the clamp is essential when moving a big lamp, as it is hard to screw in otherwise, this is not such a big deal here. Still, I would like to have it come off for ease of moving.
As the clamp is metal, it can damage the surface it is on if it is very delicate. They have put a small rubber thing in the bottom of the clamp, which will help some.
Because the lamp is not super heavy, it will wiggle a bit if the table moves (I can visually see it bounces when I type on the table it is on right now). If that kind of thing annoys you, get something bigger with more heft.
But overall the lamp is just super well built. I very much like products I buy to be value based.
For me that means the price needs to match the features, but also that I buy for the long term. I want a great lamp that I can use for 20 years. I can definitely see the build of this thing lasting at least 10 years. I will update this post if the flexi-build gives out at some point, but I doubt that will happen. A thing to note: overall reviews on Amazon and stuff like that are very favourable. When products have some serious design flaw or break easy, reviews will quickly show that.
Is the Uberlight Flex Task Lamp Right for you?
What I really like about the Uberlight Flex:
Very mobile lamp for moving around or taking with you on the go
Provides reasonable light coverage and good colour for a lamp this size
Overall aesthetics are much better compared to the competition
Sturdy design with no bull
Drawbacks of the Uberlight Flex:
Light coverage cannot compete with bigger lamps
Preset settings are not the best there is
Buttons, cord and clamp could be designed a bit better
Alternatives to the Uberlight Flex
As I see it, the Uberlight Flex is a perfect fit if you value mobility, the design and construction of it. Now let us talk a bit about how it stacks up with the competition. The Uberlight Flex with the clamp is currently about $60 on the Reliable website, which is important to know when looking at lamp alternatives.
You see, you might not care as much for the good features of the lamp. In this case, you should read up on alternatives. Below are other lamps you could consider if your use cases differ from mine.
Remember that you can also always check out our “Best Lamp for Miniature Painting” to look at what we are currently recommending for lighting your hobby!
Another mobile lamp would be the OttLite LED Mobile Task lamp. Instead of having a cord, it uses AA batteries and it is much less flexible in how it positions. It will cast broader light and produces a fixed 5000K light. The light will not be as strong as the Flexible lamp. It costs about $40, so is cheaper.
This is more of a permanent “to go” lamp and is built as such. This might be a better case for you if access to power can be an issue where you need to do your hobby stuff (think conventions and the like).
The Neatfi XL 2,200 covers your whole painting station in bright white light, making it much easier to paint details.
It is flexible enough to be where you want it to be, so the light can come from above instead of from the side.
The Neatfi XL is my workhorse painting lamp (or at least, I own an earlier version of it). It is much more bulky than the Flexible lamp, costs more and is less “nice to look at”. What you will get in return is better light coverage and colour temperature closer to daylight (good for painting minis). It cannot go into the yellow temperature, which means it will strain your eyes more when painting late at night.
The last alternative you should consider is just getting a cheap task lamp from your local Amazon or shop. You can get comparable light to the Uberlight Flex for about $20, but you will lose some features.
I trust these products way less to hold up in the long run. They will usually have less ability to customise the light and they cannot be packed and taken on the go in the same way.
Who should buy the Uberlight Flex LED Task Lamp
There are 2 setups where I think the Uberlight Flex really shines:
- Your hobby setup is in a way so you need to regularly pack everything away or move it around a lot. The ease of moving the lamp will be great and other people in your space will appreciate that it does not take up a ton of space and that it can be packed away
- You need a lamp to take on the go quite regularly. Taking long trips with work where you would also like to hobby? Painting at your friends or families house where the light is poor? This is the lamp for you.
Overall, I really feel that the Uberlight Flex fits into a great niche with us miniature painters and hobbyists.
This is also why I have declared it the best “Mobile Painting Lamp” in our overview of the best lamps for miniatures.