Ulanzi 40W COB Light Review: The portable, battery-powered, kitbag gamechanger!

This a battery-powered, portable, 40W bi-colour COB light. It’s the ULANZI LT028 and it costs less than a hundred dollars.

That’s right, under $100 and it fits in the palm of your hand. You can now take a keylight with you in your kitbag!

What’s a COB Light?

Ok, before I go any further I expect a lot of you reading are like, what is a COB light?

Simply put it stands for ‘chip on board’ but what really matters is the fact that it has tons of LED elements packed very tightly together making one very bright but continuous light source.

The main benefit to the COB light is that they are thermally efficient so they can be made incredibly small.

Just like this little guy right here!

ULANZI LT028 40W COB Light

Ok, so why am I talking about this light?

Well, if you’re like me then you’ve probably found that trying to pack a super lightweight shoot kit with adequate lighting is near impossible.

The lighting always takes up so much space, even LED wrap panels. So having a light that can fit in my kitbag with my camera and lenses is a gamechanger!

Oh, I should probably also say that ULANZI aren’t sponsoring this video or have any input on this video’s production. I have purchased this light myself and as such these are my opinions on this product. After you’ve seen and heard about this light, if you like the look of it then I have an affiliate link below you can use to get this light at no extra cost to you but it does help support the site.

But now that’s out of the way let’s talk about it.

What is the ULANZI 40w COB Light?

So, you have probably seen, heard and used Aputure COB lights before, other makers such as Neewer, Godox and Zhiyun with their new MOLUS lights.

Zhiyun Molus X100 COB - ULANZI LT028

They are all very good lights and I use one in my videos regularly.

BUT they are expensive and in most cases still really quite large!

This little thing is under 10cm cubed and weighs 460g.

That’s less than some lenses!

It also makes it super portable.

ULANZI LT028 Light Output

What about the light output I here you say. I was just getting to that. 

It is a 40w light, so you know, it’s no Aputure 120d or anything, so don’t expect it to light your whole house.

But it is still VERY bright! Do not look directly at this thing.

ULANZI LT028 40W COB Light Output

Even though it’s 40w it still produces over 13000lux, which is pretty impressive!

The CRI and TLCI indexes are not the best in class, 95 and 96 respectively. So you wouldn’t be using this for exact colour values and replicable skin tones on premium level sets but then again if you are on a large shoot with talent you will probably be looking at much bigger lights than this anyway.

However, you can definitely still use this as your key light for a small set up such as mine or pretty much any talking head interview type shoot.

ULANZI LT028 Controls & Functions

The light has two knobs on the back, one that controls temperature. All the way from 2500K to 6500K so that you can dial in the exact amount of warmth that you want from it.

ULANZI LT028 40W COB Light Controls

This knob also controls 8 different beam effects, including strobe, candle, paparazzi and lightning.

How often you would want or need to use these is another matter.

The other knob is your dimmer, controlling the intensity of the light source. That’s pretty much it on the back.

You of course have your on and off switch and the power input to charge the unit.

ULANZI 40W Power & Battery Life

Talking of power, this little light actually has an impressive amount of run time.

It has a built-in 3200mah battery in it.

If you operate at 100% brightness from a full charge you can get up to 75 minutes of light but if you were to operate at 1% (which still seems crazy bright) you can run for up to 5 hours.

ULANZI LT028 40W Battery Life

It takes 3 hours to charge back up to full again.

I have to admit that it’s a shame it doesn’t charge via USB-C so that you can continuously power it on the go but for most shoots that would use a light like this, you probably don’t need more than 1-2 hours anyway.

So if you have it at 50% you’re going to get plenty of battery time out of it.

The final thing on power, it can be bought with a variety of different plugs specific to your region so make sure you choose the right one before purchasing.

UPDATE: You can now buy a DC to USB-C adapter to power and charge this light from USB-C or a power bank!

What’s in The Box?

Good question.

It comes with a reflector that helps shape and wrap the light.

It is still super harsh with just this on though so if you were going to use it like this I’d highly recommend using it to bounce light rather than use it to directly light an area or subject.

However, if you do want to light a subject then ULANZI do include this silicone light dome diffuser thing that helps to soften the light and make it much more appealing.

ULANZI LT028 40W What's in the Box

One note on this silicone cone is that it does seem to alter the color temperature of the light, at least to the naked eye anyway and so you may want to overcompensate on the color temperature output from the light to correct it with this dome on. If you have a light meter then it could be wise to use it with this light if you need accurate white balance.

But the really interesting thing about this light is the mount.

It is a mini bowens mount and so as you may have seen with Zhiyun MOLUS lights with mini bowens you can in theory, and I say in theory because I have not tested this but you can in theory get an adapter to go from mini bowens to bowens and then use it with all of your normal diffusers and adapters.

Alternatively, there is a mini bowens mount softbox similar to the MOLUS one that you can get to go with this light and take that in your kit bag too.

It won’t diffuse as much as a regular size soft box but it will certainly help over the silicone dome that comes with it.

ULANZI LT028 Build Quality

I just want to take a moment to mention the build quality and thermal dynamics.

While it’s predominantly plastic it is incredibly durable and feels really well put together and rugged.

I feel like this would survive being thrown into many kit bags quite well.

ULANZI LT028 40W Build Quality

On top of that it has these vents on all four sides to allow for heat dissipation.

I can also hear an active fan for additional cooling capacity but it is not loud at all.

Now, this does get hot. I’ve had this thing on for a while and it does get hot to the touch, not like a tungsten light or anything but you know that it’s been working if you get what I mean, so I definitely would never cover the vents.

To mount this little beast of a light it has a quarter-inch threaded hole on the bottom so you can mount it to the top of your camera rig, to a threaded light stand or a tripod if you so wish.

Using the ULANZI LT028 40W COB Light

So how would you use this light if you were taking this along in your kit bag?

Well, pretty much like in the video at the top.

In part of the video, you see me lit with the ULANZI LT028 as my key light which I’ve swapped for my Godox 100w.

Now, I don’t have a softbox on there, just the silicone diffuser that comes with it. So the shadows are a little bit harsher than what I’d normally be used to.

To help that I would also bring with me a collapsible reflector, as shown in the video, and just bounce that light onto the other side of my body and face to soften those shadows.

This is now a great interview setup using just this one light that I can fit in my kit bag.

Now that’s working smarter, not harder!

This is a great kit light to be able to take with you and just elevate a shot or scene that you ordinarily might struggle to do with natural light alone.

In fact there are a few ways you can improve the quality of your videos with simple tricks and kit like this.

I’ve got more on that in a bit.


So, it’s not all rainbows for this light.


I have found that the dimming ability of the light doesn’t seem to go as low as I would like.

It’s actually too bright for my use at the lowest end of the light.

ULANZI LT028 40W Dimming

If I wanted to use it as a hair or rim light for example, is still quite bright at 1%. Once you click past 1% it turns the light off.

This seems like a weird thing to complain about because most people want a lot of light from a light but I’d like for it to dim further and have more of a gradient to it.

Bluetooth (or lack of)

The big thing that is missing is the fact that it’s not got bluetooth on it.

There is no wireless control via app or controller. Everything is manual with this light.

That’s fine if you need to set it up and leave it and never alter it again but if you have multiple lights and need to adjust your set up then going around and manually turning knobs can be time consuming.

Powering the Light (though now solved with USB-C adapter)

I think the other big thing which I mentioned earlier is the lack of USB-C interface with it.

Because it’s a power adapter and that’s the only option, you need to ensure you take it with you and definitely do not lose it because you can’t charge it any other way.

ULANZI LT028 40W Power Adapter

If it had USB-C it would allow you some freedom to charge it anywhere with a myriad of USB-C powered options.

Those are probably my biggest gripes with the light but I have to take those with a slight pinch of salt because the size, portability and price of this light combined with it’s impressive output do make for an attractive package and I can see this being a staple in my kitbag for those shoots where I don’t have room or time to be taking along heavy lights and rigging them all up.

Who’s it For?

Ok, so my take on this light is that it would really suit those of you who a) are new to lighting and want a light that you can practice with, that will give decent results but that doesn’t break the bank.

But also b) for those of you who know how to light but hate having to cart around heavy kit with you.

This light could do away with a significant amount of weight for the same sort of output.

And then there is c) those of you who have a setup but want a little extra kicker to fill some areas of your scene without wanting to spend a lot of money or have something really bulky that needs a lot of rigging.

As I mentioned, if you like the look of this light then there is an affiliate link just below that helps the site out at no extra cost to you.

Portable 40W COB Light

The LT028 Bi-Color LED offers convenient key or fill lighting for video shoots. This compact cube light can be handheld or mounted on a stand. Its internal high-capacity battery allows for cordless use.

DISCLAIMER: I am an Amazon and Skimlinks affiliate and by using the link above I will earn a commission. However, it is at no extra cost to you and will help the site to run. Thank you for your support.

Now, if you’re in the market for a light that has more colors, more battery life and is in the shape of a tube, then the NEEWER TL60 just might be what you’re looking for:

Got any more tips of your own? Let us know below: