The LIFX App has a simple layout which enables you to control your various bulbs from the main screen. It is possible if there are more bulbs in the home/office, for these to be grouped together so they can all be controlled as a group. I only have a single bulb setup for my bedroom currently, but have already ordered a few more bulbs for other rooms.
To switch a light on or off, simply press on the bulb icon. To adjust the various settings of that light, press on the words below the icon which will take you to the light settings menu.
The lights setting menu has 4 buttons at the bottom to select the various settings to adjust. To choose the white light controls, click on the Whites button at the bottom of the screen. This allows the control of the temperature (2500K to 9000K) and brightness level (off to 100%) of the white light. To brighten or dim the light, simply scroll the center of the disc up or down.
To select a colour for mood lighting in the room, go to the Colours screen by tapping on the Colours button on bottom left of the screen. Then you can basically choose the colours by rotating the colour wheel until the desired one is selected. The brightness can be selected again by scrolling the center of the disc up or down.
LIFX does provide a Theme selection button for you to choose some preset theme, using one of the 14 colour options on the top of the screen. It is an interesting option which my daughters liked alot, and can create some ambience or mood to suit the occasion.
Now there is an option in the Apps setting menu to create Favourites. This would enable you to add a widget onto the Notification screen of the iPhone so it is more easily accessible. Here I have set my bedroom light as a favourite, so it can be controlled more easily from my iPhone.
But the main reason to get the LIFX bulb was to allow for voice-control using Alexa from my Amazon Echo Dot. To be able to do this, you do need to enable the Skills by searching for LIFX Optimised for Smart Homes in the Skills menu in the Alexa App.
Once the skills is enabled, then you need to discover the device, which will then allow for Alexa to control it by voice commands. For example: ‘Alexa, switch on bedroom light’, ‘Alexa, turn bedroom light to 20%’, ‘Alexa, switch off bedroom light’.
Now I can say that I have added a little more control of my house with this bulb. Now I do not need to flick a switch in order to control my bedroom light. And I can even control the brightness to suit my needs using Alexa. Unfortunately it is not possible currently for Alexa to change the colour of the LIFX bulb – to do this you still need to use the LIFX App. Hopefully this will be addressed in future firmware updates.
But two features which are particularly good are that you can see which lights are switched on even when out of the house, and at what level of brightness. You can then control them when you are out. My daughter, for example, would like to be able to turn a light in the kitchen on for Rosie our dog so she is not in the dark – which she can do from the App on her iPhone.
The LIFX app also allows for you to create scenes that you are likely to want to access often, so it is available at the touch of a button. Here I have created one at 100% and another at 20%, although I could just as easily ask Alexa to adjust the brightness for me.
What I like about the LIFX 1000 Colour Smart Bulb?
- Dimmable LED (energy-saving), long lasting bulb, which can be controlled by the App or with voice-control courtesy of Alexa.
- Very easy to setup, with clear instructions from the installed App. The firmware of the bulb even updated automatically on setup.
- White and colours can be adjusted to the needs or to the right hue to enhance the desired ambience, and can also be saved as Scenes for easy access in future.
- Does not require a separate hub in order to work (unlike Philips Hue, Hive and others), as it connects directly with the Wi-Fi router.
- Allows you to check on which lights are on and control them over the Internet, even when you are out of the house.
What could be improved?
- Price is a little steep at £59.99, although I managed to get this for £53.99 through Argos for the BC version; I have managed to order 2 of the E27/ES version from Amazon for £40.49 each.
- Currently with Alexa, it is only possible to switch the light on and off or adjust the brightness, but not for changing the colours or temperature of the light – hopefully this will be addressed in due course.
This is a great smart bulb which does not require a separate hub for it to work with wireless control. It may cost more but does save cost if you are only buying 1 or 2 bulbs, as the hubs from Philips and Hive do cost £49 or more. My daughters are very impressed with it, and so am I. In the long run it will save money with longer life of the bulb and lower energy consumption than compact fluorescent bulbs. Definitely recommended.
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