Home / Gaming / LIFX Mini smart bulb series review: Not quite as bright, but smaller and cheaper than the LIFX A19

LIFX Mini smart bulb series review: Not quite as bright, but smaller and cheaper than the LIFX A19

One day, LIFX undoubtedly heard the proceedings one too time and again: Your bulbs are nice, however they’re too giant, too heavy, and—neatly—they simply glance bizarre. Obviously bowing to shopper sentiment, LIFX has offered a 2d sequence: LIFX Mini. Because the identify implies, those 3 bulbs are certainly a bit of smaller and more straightforward to suit into maximum fixtures. One in every of them takes house TechHive’s Editors’ Selection award.

lifx app screen 1 Michael Brown / IDG

A very powerful firmware replace will considerably reinforce the protection of LIFX sensible bulbs.

Up to date February 11, 2019 to record that LIFX has launched a firmware replace to patch an important safety vulnerability known by means of a blogger who is going by means of the take care of Restricted Effects. Should you personal LIFX bulbs, flip them on and release the app. If you wish to have the patch, the app must notify you firmware replace is to be had for obtain. Click on OK within the app to obtain and replace the firmware for the entire LIFX bulbs for your community. (Extra data from LIFX right here.)

Ejecting the cylindrical design of its previous sensible bulbs, which stay in the marketplace, the bulbs within the Mini line glance a bit of extra conventional. Nevertheless it’s nonetheless now not best possible: The entire look of the bulbs is extra similar to a Lite-Brite peg than an Edison bulb, nevertheless it’s a step in the correct path. Those bulbs are about zero.four inches shorter and a pair of.four oz lighter than the LIFX A19.

The shrinkage, then again, comes on the expense of energy. Those bulbs put out a rated 800 lumens, in comparison to the 1,100 lumens the A19 emits. Then again, they eat simply nine watts in comparison to 11. The variation in brightness is noticeable in all 3 bulbs within the sequence—the Mini Colour, Mini Day & Nightfall, and Mini White—however the bulbs are another way functionally similar to the A19. The setup procedure may be the similar, and so they attach at once in your Wi-Fi community with out want of a hub.

LIFX Mini Colour

lifx mini color app 2 LIFX

The consumer interface for the LIFX Mini Colour, together with a complete colour wheel, stays the similar.

The Mini Colour delivers the similar vary of colour manufacturing because the A19, and the ones colours all glance improbable. The bulb is simply as fast to modify colours, dim or brighten, or turn on any collection of a laugh birthday party modes, together with a song visualizer and a strobe gentle.

The bulb is suitable with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s HomeKit platforms. Whilst the Mini Colour isn’t as brilliant as the bigger A19 sensible bulb, it’s nonetheless consistent with many of the marketplace, and the form of the bulb permits for extra gentle to be brought to the edges of the bulb relatively than emitting maximum of it immediately up—a perennial factor with the A19.

The smaller bulb may be inexpensive than the colour A19—$40 as opposed to $54—and it’s even more economical than its high competitor: the $45 Philips Hue White and Colour Atmosphere. Sure, you’ll in finding even less-expensive bulbs from lesser-known manufacturers, however given the intensity of options and high quality of the sunshine the LIFX Mini Colour produces, this bulb is well value the extra money.

LIFX Mini White

Should you don’t want any color-tuning options—or actually any tuning options in any respect—the LIFX Mini White gives an answer. It’s the similar bulb because the LIFX Mini Colour, generating 800 lumens max, most effective it’s locked at a colour temperature of 2700Okay (despite the fact that you’ll notice that the LIFX app incorrectly shows the temperature as 3500Okay).

lifx mini day dusk in lamp Christopher Null / IDG

Even at its coolest setting, the LIFX Day & Dusk bulb feels a bit warm.

While the bulb is set up and managed the same way as other LIFX bulbs, it lacks many of the features of its brethren. The color wheel is not available, and the white color-temperature wheel is grayed out. Many of the special party mode effects aren’t available here, either, although you can still use the candle flicker, strobe, and music visualizer effects. The bulb can be dimmed in software, too.

lifx mini white app LIFX

The app reads 3500K, but the bulb’s real color temperature is locked at 2700K.

The bulb worked fine in my testing, with the exception that when I scanned the HomeKit sticker, the camera picked up a 9 instead of a 4, causing me to have to reset the bulb before it would connect to my network.

The biggest selling point here is price: At $25, this is the cheapest Lifx bulb on the market by far, though it’s still a modest premium in price over other manufacturer’s non-tunable, white-only smart bulbs. While the bulb has the advantage of tying in seamlessly to the LIFX network, given that many of the LIFX app’s best features simply aren’t available on this stripped-down model, it’s probably best reserved for users who’ve already made a significant LIFX investment.

LIFX Mini Day & Dusk

“Day & Dusk” is LIFX’s shorthand for a white smart bulb with tunable light. This bulb is effectively the same as the LIFX Mini White, only instead of being locked to a color temperature of 2700K, it can shift through a modest range: 1500K to 4000K. The gimmick is that the LIFX app can automatically tune the light for you over the course of a day, starting with “energizing” cool light in the morning, then fading to more soothing, warm light after hours. Overnight, the bulb can be used as a very low-brightness nightlight.

lifx minidaydusk smart light e26e27 LIFX

All three bulbs look very similar. The LIFX Mini Day & Dusk smart bulb is shown here.

As with many bulbs of this ilk—the C by GE kit, for instance—I found the default temperature settings to be imperfect: too warm in the morning, and much too cool in the evening. Also, the default brightness settings run at around 80 percent for all times of day (except the nightlight), which didn’t make much sense to me considering the 9-watt bulb puts out only 800 lumens at full strength. You can change all of these settings in the LIFX app, but, unlike the other functions of the otherwise well-crafted app, it’s not terribly intuitive.

lifx day dusk app LIFX

A graph gives you a visual sense of the changes you’ll see over the course of the day.

The bigger issue here is that the bulb simply doesn’t have a broad enough color temperature range. 4000K is fairly middle-of-the-road when it comes to temperature; most competing bulbs stretch up to 6500K, which is considered a “true daylight” temperature. While the Day & Dusk’s ability to reach all the way down to 1500K is unique, I don’t find that anything below about 2500K—where the light takes a cartoonish, bright orange color—is all that useful.

You can, of course, turn the Day & Dusk feature off altogether and use the app to manually tune the light and brightness as you see fit. Four special-effects modes are also included. At $30, the bulb is roughly in line with the competition, but the limited range of color temperatures ultimately make it something of an also-ran in this category.

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