Ok, so I know I haven’t done a smart home post in a while, forgive me, I’ve been focusing on trying to do as many furniture builds done as I humanly can. However, that doesn’t mean my passion for geeky home appliances has waned. No dear reader, the opposite is, in fact, true. Since I’ve moved into my new place I’ve been spending a lot of my time setting up my “smart home” (and I’m using quotes here because every time I have to repeat something to my Google Home I wonder how smart it truly is). So if you too are interested in setting up a smart home this article is for you!
The first thing many people after deciding to jump into the smart home world is buying a bunch of smart lights so that they can say “Ok Google, turn off the lights” before bed. It’s a great starting point for people trying to get their feet wet with talking to an invisible robot assistant. Usually though, when someone is trying to set up smart lights in their home I tell them to steer clear of individual smart bulbs like the Philips Hue lights and other similar products. The reason for this is simply because of the cost involved. If you’re looking to outfit a single room with 4-5 bulbs you could spend anywhere between 300 and 500 dollars depending on the bulbs you pick. When people see numbers like that they start to think “Nah, I’m good with my good old-fashioned switch and $2.99 LED bulbs”. I can’t blame them either, that’s a lot of money to shell out for robot lights.
Enter the Yeelight Smart Bulb. This smart light bulb does 90% of what the competition does at half the cost. A price delta like that can make a real difference when you’re outfitting a whole room, or even, your whole house with smart bulbs. It begins to look even cheaper compared to the competition when you consider that the Yeelight Bulb can communicate directly with your smart home, no need for a bridge like the Philip Hue system. I abhor clutter, and one less electronic gizmo I have to sit on a shelf is a win in my books. The Yeelight is no stripped out budget option either, it’s a fully functional smart bulb. That means you’re getting complete control of the bulbs colour (16 million different shades), brightness as well as a host of other user programmable features.
I actually have both a first and second generation Yeelight Smart Bulb, but I’ll be focusing on the second generation as it’s more widely available at this point. Their upgraded second generation bulb is 33% brighter (800 lumens vs 600 lumens), has better colour reproduction (specifically the yellow tones are a lot more yellow and a lot less green) and subjectively has a much nicer design. It’s a nice, if not revolutionary, upgrade over the previous generation.
Let’s talk looks for a second because I really enjoy the design of these bulbs. Which is a weird thing to say, because it’s a light bulb. Who cares right? But the Yeelight is pretty handsome for what it is, the high gloss white plastic has a quilted pattern that makes it look and feel like a very premium product. It’s almost a shame to hide these bulbs away in recessed light fixtures or behind shades. I’d say they are best suited to open and exposed style lamps, where they can become part of the rooms aesthetics. If you feel differently though, feel free to hide them away behind a shade like a normal bulb!
Once your Yeelight Bulb is screwed into a fixture and turned on you can then pair it to your home WiFi network using the Yeelight App. The Yeelight App will be your hub for tuning and setting up your Yeelight. From here you can control the colour of your bulbs, the temperature of white light, and the brightness of your bulbs. It’s a lot of controls, but the app does a good job of laying it out and makes it all feel very easy. You can also set up scenes, which is Yeelight’s term for pre-scripted patterns. Yeelight includes a dozen or so pre-made scenes, but you can create your own too. If you have multiple Yeelight products you can group your lights together into rooms using the Yeelight App on your phone. This is a handy feature because it allows you to control multiple lights with a single command. It also allows you to easily synchronize the colour and brightness of individual lights. Google Home also recognizes groups of lights set up in the Yeelight app which is a nice touch that makes voice control quick and effortless.
Overall I’m quite pleased with the Yeelight bulb, but I do have a few gripes you should be aware of before you run out and buy one for yourself. First I was really hoping I could set my lights to automatically turn on before at a set time every morning just before I woke up. Currently, this isn’t something you can do using the Yeelight App. I did a bit of research and using third party software like IFTTT you can make it happen, but it’s not an easy process. I’d love to see Yeelight integrate this feature into a future update. Also, the bulbs are physically quite large, so be aware that you may have clearance issues depending on what fixture you screw them into. As you can see from the photos they protrude slightly from the lamps I put them in. I don’t really mind the look, but it’s something that might not be for everyone. Lastly, I had quite a bit of trouble pairing the bulbs to my wifi network using the Yeelight App on my Google Pixel 2 XL. I tried multiple times but couldn’t get it to work. I downloaded the app onto my girlfriends iPhone X and it worked on the first try. If you’re an Android user you may want to have an iOS device nearby just in case the pairing process goes awry for you too.
Overall I’m very impressed with the Yeelight Smart LED Bulb Color. In fact, I’m going to be outfitting a few more light fixtures in my house with them in the near future. To my mind, they are currently the best balance between price and performance on the smart light bulb market. They have a rich feature set, are extremely bright, look great and are available at a very reasonable price. I give them a solid thumbs up!
Time for some disclosure, because I think full transparency is an important thing and I respect my readers. Gearbest.com is an online retailer and they provided me with a review sample of the Yeelight Bulb. I bought the first generation Yeelight with my own money, but my second generation Yeelight was provided at no cost. Make of that as you will, I do my best remain impartial.
If you’d like to purchase a Yeelight Smart LED Color Bulb and you want to support me at the same time you can do so by clicking this link: Yeelight Smart LED Bulb (color) I’ll get a small kickback from Gearbest and you’ll get the Yeelight Bulb for the lowest price I could find anywhere online. Gearbest offers international shipping too, so no matter where you’re reading from that link should work for you.
Thanks for checking out my review and let me know in the comments if you want to see more reviews of smart home products!