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Review: LIFX Color Changing Bulb

October 19, 2017

This is my first product review, but I've decided there's some need for it. As you know if you've worked with me, my goal is always to make things simple and reliable. Unlike other product reviews that tend to be nothing more than a marketing piece, my reviews are intended to be honest, informative, and most importantly brief. 

 

This first review is for the LIFX HomeKit enabled light bulb.

 

LIFX is a newcomer to the HomeKit arena. They offer a variety of light bulbs that allow you to control with Siri via HomeKit. The bulb I tested, their standard A19 LIFX, allows you to not only turn the light on and off, but change the color. The bulb is $59, and doesn't require a hub, which sets it apart from most HomeKit devices on the market. They offer bulbs in a variety of sizes, plus some additional options for decorating a room, such as the LIFX Beam or Tile, neither of which I played with.

 

The initial setup went pretty smoothly, although it took a bit longer than they indicated in the app. One important note is that LIFX says if your wifi network has both 2.4 and 5GHz bands named the same (a standard practice) it can cause problems; however that's my setup, and it has worked fine so far.

 

Siri gives you excellent control over the light. Here's a sampling of commands that were recognized:

Turn the light on/off.

Set the light to white/blue/turquoise/magenta/chartreuse/fuchsia/etc.

Set the light to 20%.

 

In order to get all of the functionality, be sure to add the light to a room—naming the bulb isn't sufficient for Siri to fully control it.

 

The ability to change the colors on the bulb seemed a bit frivolous at first, but I ultimately found some useful things to do with it. I can set the light to a warmer color at night so it doesn't interfere with my sleep. I can set it to daylight balanced for doing work that requires color accuracy. There's even a candlelight mode that lets the bulb flicker randomly, which in addition to the Netflix "Fireplace For Your Home" program gave me a cozy scene on a snowy night. LIFX says as long as its enclosed, the bulb can be used outdoors, so I can put it in my porchlight and add some color to various holidays (red white and blue for the fourth of July!).

 

The light supports other popular apps, such as IFTTT (If This Then That), which lets you do things like blink the light blue if it starts to snow, or flash team colors when ESPN scores. It will also link to devices such as a Nest thermostat, although I'm not sure why I'd want to link my light to my thermostat. Still, I appreciate that they offer it. 

 

LIFX has an active community that is always looking for and creating new ways to interact with the bulbs, and LIFX continues to add new commands.

 

All in all, it's an inexpensive way to get into HomeKit and see what all the hubbub is about, and if you like to experiment you'll find a lot of extra functionality is available.

 

Pros: 

Relatively inexpensive.

Doesn't require hub.

HomeKit enabled, and recognizes lots of Siri commands, with new ones frequently added.

Integrates with many other devices and services.

 

Cons: 

App is a bit utilitarian.

Bulb only has a two year warranty, which seems a bit short for a $60 light bulb.

 

Recommended: Yes, with no reservations.

 

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