They help set the mood, but Yeelight’s smart bulbs aren’t bright enough for every occasion. Available with bayonet or screw connectors, the bulky Yeelight 6W LED bulbs only produce around 500 lumens – a little brighter than a 40W standard bulb. They’re handy for mood lighting, but you wouldn’t want to read beneath one. Along with bulbs there’s also the $69.95 Yeelight Bluelight, a two-metre string of LED bulbs designed to hang around the house. The Yeelight bulbs can change colour – pre-sets include sunlight, reading, nature and romantic, or you can create your own. You can also call on a collection of colour swatches or match colours from images in your camera roll, plus there’s a disco mode that sees the bulbs change colour and pulse with your music. The Yeelight iOS/Android app controls up to 10 bulbs and communicates with them directly via Bluetooth, so you don’t need a home Wi-Fi network or a central control hub. You can sort the bulbs into groups, but the trade-off is that you can only command them from one device at a time and you may ﬁnd yourself wrestling for control. If you adjust the lights in the lounge room using your iPhone and then leave the room, someone still sitting on the couch can’t take control of the lights from their mobile device. You retain sole control until you kill the Yeelight app, disable Bluetooth or walk out of range of the light – a catch that may disrupt household harmony. The Yeelight falls short on home automation features; you only have a basic one-off timer for switching the light on or off. There’s no remote access to the bulbs and you can’t link them to the If This Then That cloud-based home automation service or to Apple HomeKit.
They play nicely with Apple’s HomeKit, but Elgato’s Avea smart bulbs are too dim to replace most of the lights in your home. Elgato is better known to Mac users for its digital TV gear, but it’s looking beyond the lounge room with the Avea smart light bulb. Shaped like traditional light bulbs, the Avea bulbs are only available with Edison screw connectors, so you’ll need an adapter to use them with bayonet light ﬁttings. They’re the dimmest of the bunch – 7W LED bulbs which only produce around 430 lumens, roughly equivalent to a 40W standard bulb. The Avea bulbs would sufﬁce for mood lighting, but you wouldn’t want to permanently use them as the ceiling lights throughout your home. They support a range of scenes such as Magic Hour mimicking sunset, Northern Glow using a variety of blues and greens, and Cosy Flame emulating the feel of a campﬁre with ﬂickering reds, yellows and oranges. You can also choose from solid colours and then tweak the brightness and hue to taste. The bulbs rely on Bluetooth, so they don’t need a separate hub. Their big selling point is they work with Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem, letting your bulbs become part of a wider home automation system. You can control the Avea bulbs from iOS devices or an Apple Watch, but there’s no Android app. You also miss out on remote access and support for the cloudbased automation service If This Then That. While they look the most like everyday light bulbs, their low brightness means that you’d only want to use them for special occasions. C
$59.95 / YEELIGHT www.yeelight.com.au
$67 / ELGATO www.elgato.com
PROS HomeKit compatible
CONS Dim; few automation features
CONS Dim; screw only
OCTOBER 2015 www.macworld.com.au