Intro: Smart Bluetooth Lightbulb Review
I've got three little boys who love all things flashing especially those that make noise!
This bulb satisfies both criteria in that you can control the colour of the bulb but also pipe music to it via your tablet/phone with the added bonus of an auto mode which creates a mini disco type affect which strobes and changes the light colour in time with the music. Be careful if you have epilepsy as on a serious note it may trigger it.
The bulb came really well packaged and on opening the box the bulb itself was in a soft plastic pouch with a layer of foam covering the top to ensure the bulb arrived undamaged.
This bulb is by a company called 1byone.com and a couple of links are below
Step 1: The Bulb Itself
The bulb itself is surprisingly large but then it does contain a power supply/6Watt LED module and a 3Watt Bluetooth audio receiver with a speaker to top it all off.
The actual dimensions of the bulb are 14cm tall and 8cm wide. I found it didn't look too large when it was in a light fitting so unless your putting it into an extremely small housing it should be fine.
The bulb feels pretty solid and well put together.
One disappointing feature is that it is currently only available in an E27 screw fitting so you need to purchase a separate adaptor when fitting the bulb to a B22 UK light fitting but an adaptor is available for under a pound so it's no a major issue.
Step 2: Interface
I have seemingly received the bulb at the perfect time as they have just released a new version of the app which works with IOS 9. I understand a lot of people experienced a lot of hassles when attempting to use their newly purchased bulb. I can only base this review on the new version of the software however and I haven't experienced any crashing or show stoppers so far, I've been using it for around two weeks now so shall revisit this article if I experience any major issues.
To get the app, the easiest way is to scan the QR code on the box which then takes you to a webpage which contains links for the IOS and android versions of the apps. Once you select your OS it then takes you to the respective app store.
After downloading and installing the first thing that tripped me up slightly is that initially when connecting there were two Bluetooth devices listed. I found I had to come back out of the app and go into Bluetooth in settings and pair up with the bulb as well as the bulb with BLE (Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy). The non BLE connection is used for transmitting the audio and the BLE connection is used to control the LED on and off as well as allowing you to change the colour. You have to make sure your tablet/phone supports BLE if you want to get the most out of it.
On connecting it can take up to 25 seconds which does seem quite a while and it's easy to think that something is now working and cause you to quit the app and check the Bluetooth settings lengthening the process even further. All I can advise is to start the app tap on the bulb listed and then wait patiently. One confusing part is that while it has multiple slots which would indicate you can work with more than one bulb the website states that it can only work with one bulb. I only have one so can't confirm this however.
On connecting to the bulb it goes to the music tab. In all honesty I think you are better off going back to the main music app in IOS especially which gives you greater control so you can select albums or choose a playlist etc.
The next tab contains a colour wheel where you can select a specific colour to change the bulb to, below this is two sliders for the intensity of the light. Below the sliders are predefined colours which is how I find myself using the bulb mostly for changing colour. Lastly there is a manual and auto selector buttons below. The auto option is the most interesting as it strobes the light and alters the colour in time to the currently playing music track.
The next tab is a simple on/off switch with a small graphic of a bulb. Be aware that the bulb shall still be using a certain amount of electricity when powered off in this mode. To fully power off you need to switch off the light fitting, this would however require a physical switch to power it back on.
Lastly there is a settings box which allows you to rename the bulb as well as set an off timer. I can not see the timer being too useful and it's not too well designed in my opinion as it's initially confusing. The time it indicates is the time before the lights will power down, this does not count down however. The renaming feature is however more useful as you can name the bulb something more useful such as sittingroom as I have in the example shown.
Step 3: Conclusion
I really like this bulb but i have to admit it is for a niche market. I wouldn't personally use it in every light fitting in my home however as a bulb for a specific purpose such as a child's party or just generally entertaining it fits the bill nicely. As you can see from the video one of my twins is a particular fan!
It would be nice if you can have more than one bulb linked to the app although I accept that you can only control one at a time.
Overall it's a good product which I can envisage getting used a lot in my house entertaining my little ones and my eldest loves it also as he can control it with my phone. He's expressed an interest in one for his bedroom although I fear he'll never go to sleep if he's fiddling with the lights lol.