LIFX Mini sensible bulb collection evaluation: Not fairly as brilliant, however smaller and cheaper than the LIFX A19

Sooner or later, LIFX certainly heard the complaints one too many occasions: Your bulbs are nice, however they’re too massive, too heavy, and—properly—they simply look bizarre. Clearly bowing to client sentiment, LIFX has launched a second collection: LIFX Mini. Because the title implies, these three bulbs are certainly a bit smaller and simpler to suit into most fixtures. Certainly one of them takes house TechHive’s Editors’ Alternative award.

Michael Brown / IDG

An essential firmware replace will considerably enhance the safety of LIFX sensible bulbs.

Up to date February 11, 2019 to report that LIFX has launched a firmware replace to patch a big safety vulnerability recognized by a blogger who goes by the deal with Restricted Outcomes. If you happen to personal LIFX bulbs, flip them on and launch the app. If you happen to want the patch, the app ought to notify you {that a} firmware replace is obtainable for obtain. Click on OK within the app to obtain and replace the firmware for all of the LIFX bulbs in your community. (Extra data from LIFX right here.)

Ejecting the cylindrical design of its earlier sensible bulbs, which stay in the marketplace, the bulbs within the Mini line look a bit extra conventional. However it’s nonetheless not good: The general look of the bulbs is extra akin to a Lite-Brite peg than an Edison bulb, nevertheless it’s a step in the precise course. These bulbs are about 0.four inches shorter and a couple of.four ounces lighter than the LIFX A19.

The shrinkage, nevertheless, comes on the expense of energy. These bulbs put out a rated 800 lumens, in comparison with the 1,100 lumens the A19 emits. Alternatively, they devour simply 9 watts in comparison with 11. The distinction in brightness is noticeable in all three bulbs within the collection—the Mini Colour, Mini Day & Nightfall, and Mini White—however the bulbs are in any other case functionally an identical to the A19. The setup course of can be the identical, they usually join on to your Wi-Fi community with out want of a hub.

LIFX Mini Colour

lifx mini color app 2 LIFX

The person interface for the LIFX Mini Colour, together with a full shade wheel, stays the identical.

The Mini Colour delivers the identical vary of shade manufacturing because the A19, and people colours all look improbable. The bulb is simply as speedy to change colours, dim or brighten, or activate any variety of enjoyable celebration modes, together with a music visualizer and a strobe mild.

The bulb is suitable with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s HomeKit platforms. Whereas the Mini Colour isn’t as brilliant because the bigger A19 sensible bulb, it’s nonetheless in step with a lot of the market, and the form of the bulb permits for extra mild to be delivered to the perimeters of the bulb reasonably than emitting most of it straight up—a perennial challenge with the A19.

The smaller bulb can be cheaper than the colour A19—$40 versus $54—and it’s even inexpensive than its prime competitor: the $45 Philips Hue White and Colour Ambiance. Sure, you’ll discover even less-expensive bulbs from lesser-known manufacturers, however given the depth of options and high quality of the sunshine the LIFX Mini Colour produces, this bulb is definitely well worth the more money.

LIFX Mini White

If you happen to don’t want any color-tuning options—or actually any tuning options in any respect—the LIFX Mini White provides an answer. It’s the identical bulb because the LIFX Mini Colour, producing 800 lumens max, solely it’s locked at a shade temperature of 2700Okay (although you’ll word 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *