Believe it or not, outside this website, I live in a fairly tech-free household. This is for the most part because my wife doesn’t want the house to be festooned with technology. The other reason is due to the old adage of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. That and I like having money to spend on phones, tablets laptops and the occasional holiday if I must!
So, although we have seen smart lights around for quite some time now it was never really something that was on my radar. The idea of having to have another box constantly plugged in that waited for me to turn on a light by either my presence or an action on my phone just wasn’t appealing.
Then, after completely ignoring the whole “smart things” market I was asked if I would like to test some smart bulbs from LIFX. Like a lot of you, I have seen the Amazon Echo advert where the dad asks Alexa to turn the floor blue and my son adored the idea so much he kept asking “Alexa turn the floor blue” to the extent that I had to unplug the bleeding thing! At least we will now be able to scratch that itch.
So after a small while, I had a rather large box arrive with 3 light bulbs and a “beam”. The light bulbs were pretty self-explanatory with regard to the setup, or at least they would be if I had ordered the correct ones. You see I had made the classic man error of “knowing” what bulb fitting I have in my house and requesting that without considering checking.
Fortunately, I had one light that has the correct fitting, allowing me to test the bulbs out. I opted for the LIFX A60 as this one allowed for a higher level of colour range. I was also sent the LIFX Mini Day and Dusk and the LIFX + A60 with Night Vision. The last one I mention is the same as the one I have got plugged in, albeit with the ability to use a level of light that we cannot see but shows up on CCTV cameras. As I don’t have that I felt it was unnecessary.
Once the bulbs are in place then it is a case of turning on the power and firing up the LIFX app on your phone or tablet. I opted to set up on my tablet as this was more likely to be at home than I am! The app walks you through the steps of adding a new bulb as can be seen in the video below.
I had already set up a few previous lights as you can see in the video so that was already set up. If you are starting from scratch then you will need to do this for the first time.
Once you have setup the bulbs then it’s the time to play with the settings, however, before you dive into to that you may wish to add the lights to your Google assistant/Alexa setup. This again is all described in the app but once you have done so it is really quite clever.
As for setting up the LIFX Beam that took a little bit more work and I think it is best shown in the video below.
I have had about a weeks worth of using the LIFX lights and bulbs and I have to say I have been very impressed with them. The ease of use and setup makes them virtually idiot proof. The implementation of voice services via Siri, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant makes things so simple to use. I now no longer need to turn on my lights via a switch on the wall! I know that sounds very silly when said like that but trust me, until you have had a chance to use one of these systems then it doesn’t really make sense.
What I particularly like about the setup is that I don’t have to add any other hardware to my already struggling home network. All the necessary kit needed for the lights to talk to my WiFi is actually built into the bulbs or in the case of the beam – the controller module.
I am a particular fan of the “Day and Dusk” feature on the appropriately-named bulb, as it does allow for more natural light than on the standard one. The only thing I can surmise is that the LED is not as high powered or there is a filter on the inside of the glass to lessen the harshness of the light.
Would I buy the kit that I have for myself? Well, I will be honest I would most likely skip the LIFX “Beam” as I find that the light emitted from it is quite harsh and reminds me a lot of the lights in an office. My wife also is not a fan. That being said I would definitely get the other two bulbs as these are really nice and the light is not as harsh when they are on max either.
The LIFX beam also emitted an unpleasant noise when the brightness was at it highest which was annoying when you are trying to relax.
If you are interested in getting hold of any of this kit then you can buy them from LIFX direct. they also have a sale on at the moment on the standard and Night Vision bulbs.