The ability to remotely control the various gadgets in your home is becoming commonplace. From controlling your DVR from the other side of the world, to perhaps setting your heating to automatically come on when you leave work – there doesn’t seem to be much you can’t control from your smartphone.
The technology behind this is becoming more popular and more cost affective.
Mipow have entered the arena with their Playbulb range – a collection of app-controlled lighting products aimed at allowing you to control the lighting in different environments.
The entire Playbulb range is controlled through the Playbulb X App. It allows you connect to a single device or simultaneously to a number of devices defined in a group. It features an on-screen colour wheel allowing you change the colour and brightness of the LED light.
There are also a number of controllable effects that can be activated, including ‘Flashing’, the subtle Rainbow or my personal favourite – a rather effective simulation of a traditional candle.
There are several different devices in the Playbulb range, including:
You can’t beat a nice candle, it provides light, warmth and a nice atmosphere to a room. Of course in this digital world you don’t have to depend on wax and a wick to add a candle into the room, as the Playbulb Candle demonstrates.
The Playbulb Candle is powered by 3 AA batteries and connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. As mentioned earlier, it is controlled via the Playbulb X App in the same way as the other devices in the room.
It has to be said that the Playbulb candle is designed to be an atmospheric addition to the room rather than a bright light to read by. As this is a battery powered unit this probably a sensible move.
I was worried that the battery life wouldn’t be great, but so far the Playbulb candle is still going strong after well over 12 hours on the first set of batteries.
Scented candles are rather fashionable at the moment, and this is recognised by the Playbulb candle with the option to use a changeable “scent ring”.
Priced at £17.99, the Playbulb Candle is a great addition to a living room, and syncing multiple candles together would give a fantastic effect.
Adding lighting to a garden can add character, but normally you’re stuck with one colour for each light. However, the Playbulb Garden provides a great little solution.
Battery powered and solar charged, the Playbulb Garden allows you to control the colour of the lighting throughout your garden. Sitting on a small stand to lift the bulb off the ground, the Garden emits 5 lumens of light, so 1 unit by itself may not make much of an impact beyond a small light feature. But, by adding a few synchronised Playbulbs into your garden, you can really show your garden off.
The Playbulb Garden costs in the region of £40, and being solar charged doesn’t need a separate power source.
The Playbulb Garden and Candle may be seen as “feature lights” but if you are looking to be able to control your normal lighting, then Playbulb offer a couple of options.
At 280 lumens the Playbulb Rainbow is the brightest of the of the bulbs that we tested, and with a standard bulb fitting can be used anywhere in the house.
Each Playbulb Rainbow costs £39.99, so significantly more expensive than a normal LED bulb, but the ability to set the ambiance colour in your room through your smartphone is a great step forward in the control of your personal space.
The Playbulb Color looks significantly bigger than the Rainbow, and although it’s a little dimmer at 200 lumens, it has one extra and impressive feature; an integrated Bluetooth speaker. Not only can you control your light, but you can also play your music through the bulb.
The sound quality is good for a non-dedicated speaker system, and as a standard Bluetooth connection is used, it’s the only element on any Playbulb that isn’t controlled through the Playbulb X app.
I did experience a few difficulties with the system if I tried connecting to the speaker after setting the light colour through the app, but the instructions that come with the bulb make the order of connection clear.
At £79.99, this is an expensive bulb so you wouldn’t have many in your house, but the ability to control your light and music from the same source will appeal to some. I just wish there was an option to change the light colour to match the music being played.
I like the Playbulb range. It’s a relatively cost affective way to enter the digital home arena, and to have the option to have a consistent colour throughout your home and garden controlled by app on your phone certainly appeals.
You can check out the Playbulb range at http://www.playbulb.com/en/index.html