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Fall has arrived! It's October and the indecisive weather here in the Midwest has finally gone chilly. This is hands down my favorite time of year. The air is crisp, the bugs are gone and I spend a lot of time outside enjoying the fresh air. I try to get as much outdoor time in as I can before the inevitable blizzards begin. I love unwinding at the end of the day by sitting in the yard, reading a book or talking to friends. Entire weekends are spent outside. This past weekend we sat around a fire late into the night, indulging in s'mores and the beautiful weather. From relaxing on the patio, watching the kids play in the yard, having friends over for a drink or a casual meal outside. Setting the mood is easy with two important components: lighting and music. What else could you need? Maybe a warm blanket and a few bottles of wine but that's another topic.
I set out to find an outdoor speaker that isn’t my phone and not only sounds good but looks good as well. I came across Kichlers Lyndon Portable Bluetooth LED Lantern. Two birds, one stone, right?! A light and speaker in one means less to carry if I move from one spot in the yard to another. Less clutter sitting out on the table and fewer wires to keep them charged. I have specified Kichler lighting for years so I was thrilled to find what I was looking for from a familiar brand. I decided to test it out and put it to the ultimate test - surviving in my home. And because lady universe works in mysterious ways, the day after the lantern was delivered we had a power outage. My sister was visiting, so we used the lantern to light up the living room and feed her very hungry baby.
***The Lyndon #49500 and South Hope #49473 Lanterns have the same specs, just different designs. This is a review of the Lyndon Lantern but the functions and instructions for the South Hope Lantern are the same.
You can purchase the South Hope Lantern Here.
The day the lantern arrived I took it out of the box and was immediately impressed by how sturdy it feels. I’m used to the plastic lanterns we take camping. This lantern is nothing like that. The base and frame are a textured black aluminum with a thick, seeded glass globe. Measuring 19” high, the largest part of the base is 8” wide. It’s solid weighing in at 6 pounds so this thing isn’t blowing over! The only assembly required is to place the globe into the frame and attach it by tightening 3 screws. The screws hold the globe in place by applying pressure to the glass. The instructions warn not to over tighten. I’ll be honest, I am not a gentle creature so this made me a little nervous at first. But I have not had any issues and I’ve carried it around and removed the glass several times while testing it out and showing it off.
Charging is simple. Plug the charger into the port on the underside of the lantern. The small indicator light illuminates red while charging and turns green when the battery is at 100%. The battery will charge from 0%-100% in 5 hours. When not charging, there is a rubber stopper that plugs into the charging port, similar to a cell phone. It has a UL Damp rating, meaning it may be used in sheltered outdoor areas that are protected from direct contact with rain, snow, or excessive moisture. Basically, don't leave it outside in the rain. At maximum volume and 100% light brightness the lantern has a 5-hour battery life. If the battery is getting low, you can still charge the lantern while it is being used.
Controlling the Light Output:
To turn on the lantern, tap the power button. The button turns green and the light comes on at 50% brightness. Adjusting the brightness is controlled by pressing and holding the power button. When pressed, the light begins to dim until it reaches its lowest setting or by releasing the button when the desired brightness is reached. To increase the lights brightness, you first must lower the light to the lowest setting, release the button, then press and hold the button again. You can release the button at the desired brightness or hold until the maximum level is reached. The round LED bulb is at the top of the frame and distributes an even, ambient glow throughout the globe. I do wish there were up and down buttons for controlling the light output but I also like the simplicity of having just two buttons.
Pairing and Connecting a BLUETOOTH Phone or Tablet:
To connect the lantern to your phone or tablet press the Bluetooth button on the lantern until you hear a tone. Turn your devices Bluetooth setting on and select “Kichler” from the device list. When the connection is successful the lanterns Bluetooth light will turn blue and you will hear the tone sound again. Once connected, the audio is controlled with your phone or device. The Bluetooth will stay connected to your device within a 30-foot range. To turn off the lantern’s Bluetooth audio, press and hold the Bluetooth button until the tone sounds and the button light turns off. The lantern light does not have to be on for the speaker to function. If you have multiple lanterns, you can only connect your device to one lantern at a time.
For being a smaller speaker, the sound is pretty impressive. It's not tinny and has a decent bass. Even standing at a far distance from the lantern, the music remains clear and audible.
Output power: 3 Watts
SNR: ≥ 80dB
Max distortion: 1%
My only complaints are simple ones. First, like I mentioned before, I would prefer if the light level was controlled by separate up and down buttons or a toggle button. It seems counter intuitive to lower the light all the way down before increasing the brightness. I did get used to it quickly though. An app with light controls that could be accessed from a phone or tablet would also solve that issue.
Second, it is labeled a portable lantern. Technically, yes, it is portable because it’s cordless. Even though the frame is impressively solid and sturdy and the glass is thick, I won’t be tossing it in the back of the car for a trip. From the front porch to the backyard is one thing, but I’m not taking it tent camping or tail gating. If you plan on using it around your home or leaving it at your cabin, camper or vacation home, then I would call it portable.
Other than those minor points, I’ve been using it almost daily for over two months and I love it. It’s durable, looks good, the light is bright and the audio quality sounds great.