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Monday, October 12, 2015

Playing with the LIFX Smart Lightbulb

"What's with the funky looking lightbulb?" you might ask. This is the LIFX Smart Lightbulb. I got to play with it for a couple weeks and here are my findings. 

Ignoring LIFX for the moment, what is a smart lightbulb? If you're not familiar with the concept of a smart lightbulb, it is one that connects to your in home WiFi network. You can then control the lightbulb from an app on your phone instead of from a light switch. This one happens to be multi-colored, too.
Okay, with the oddly shaped  LIFX Smart Lightbulb, holding this new fangled lightbulb over your head just does't make one think of a bright idea. It almost looks like a mug or frosted cup without the handle.
Setup of the lightbulb was interesting. You directly connect to the bulb to tell it your WiFi connection information. Once configured, you then never touch the light switch again and instead control the bulb from an app on your phone, Android or iPhone. The switch would need to always be in the "on" position as the bulb must have power, it is just the app that now should turn the bulb on and off, not the switch. If you decide to use the switch instead, it certainly will control the bulb, but then you can't use any of the fancy features of the app, like different colors, a dimmer switch when your light switch normally isn't dimmable, and a variety of other options.
The LIFX app is free from its respective app store. You would typically pick a shade of white light you'd like the bulb to show. However, you can also pick from the whole palette of colors to set a different mood. When selecting a color for the light, it is best if the intensity of it wasn't at 100%. This will show a truer shade of the color selected, but of course won't be as bright.

We first tried the bulb in the master bedroom. It functioned fine there and I liked being able to turn the bulb off from the other side of the bed without having to get up. However, it is only rated for 1000 lumens and we're accustomed to 1600 lumens or the equivalent of a 100 watt bulb, so the bulb wasn't quite bright enough for there.

Next we moved the bulb into the mud area right inside the garage door. This was where my wife liked it most. The bulb allows my wife to turn the bulb on from inside the garage, before unlocking and opening the inside garage door. One problem we had at first though was remembering to not turn the switch off. If you keep turning the switch off, you can't turn the bulb on from the app. Then, when you turn it on from the switch, there is a slight delay before it goes on. Not long, but noticeable enough. As time went on, we remembered to keep the switch on, but didn't always remember to turn the bulb on from the app. It takes time to change habits that you've done for 10+ years, if not longer.

The LIFX Smart Lightbulb currently retails for $99, though is available from Amazon for $60. Not a cheap bulb, especially if you want to get multiple bulbs that you could then control all at once from your the phone app. With that said, being an LED light, it has a longer life expectancy than your typical incandescent bulb. And, who wouldn't want a light bulb that could show any one of 16 million colors. Got a Nest? It integrates well with that, too.
*Read my Disclosure


  1. This is such a cool product! I love how easy it is to turn off and on and let's talk about the multiple colors. So awesome! I'd love to have this on my balcony. Thank-you for the review. :)