The rise of sensible lighting has made it simple so as to add dimmable, color-changing, voice managed bulbs to any lighting fixture in your house. 

However what if you wish to make extra of a press release together with your lighting, or have a little bit extra artistic management over the way it appears? 

Enter the LIFX Beam, a customizable set of color-changing strip lights that may be organized into many various patterns.

LIFX Beam worth and availability

The LIFX Beam is out now, and prices $199.99 (£199.99, AU$299.99). That feels a tad costly, provided that for a similar worth you possibly can decide up 4 color-changing Philips Hue bulbs (or LIFX’s equivalent, even) that might mild a whole room. However they would not have the identical design-led impression that the Beam has. Simply do not count on this to switch a full lighting array for a room on the worth, and you will see the relative worth right here.

Design and options

The LIFX Beam starter equipment consists of six plastic LED strips (300 x 35 x 20mm), and one nook connecting unit that lets you add angles to your lighting array. 

All of them snap along with a robust magnet at both finish, with one of many included strips additionally magnetically connecting as much as a wired energy provide on one finish.

Utilizing the magnetic connections, you’re in a position to prepare a number of totally different lighting patterns, after which affix them to your partitions utilizing the offered (and strongly securing) Command Strip adhesive pads. 

A phrase of warning – have a spirit stage useful except you’re trying to obtain some off-kilter placement, because it’s tough to reaffix the pads as soon as they’ve been used for those who make a mistake. 

Equally, plan your sample out prematurely on the ground earlier than committing to hanging it, whereas consider the place the closest energy provide is, as if the facility cable is a beneficiant 2.5 meters lengthy, you might begin adventurously inserting these additional away from a plug socket.

From there on in, it’s a reasonably simple arrange course of. You obtain the LIFX app (appropriate with iOS and Android, in addition to Home windows Cellphone 10 for those who’re retaining the flame alive for Microsoft), comply with the directions to attach the lights as much as Wi-Fi (802.11n, 2.4GHz), and also you’re good to go. 

An FAQ within the app talks you thru an identical course of for syncing the system up with a wise dwelling controller too, like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and HomeKit, and Microsoft’s Cortana. For the needs of this evaluate, we primarily examined with an Amazon Echo and the Alexa voice assistant.

With every thing arrange, you’ve then choices to manage as much as 16 million coloration choices, mild temperature (2,500okay heat to 9,000okay cool) and the dimming vary, in addition to triggering various results for the lights.

Efficiency

The LIFX Beam appears improbable on a wall – whether or not you’re going for a sci-fi neon sheen on your minimalist penthouse or a heat, fiery glow on your related cottage, it gives loads of choices so that you can play with. 

The starter equipment offers you sufficient items to make comparatively massive shows, both in a straight line, T or L form.

LIFX’s app generally is a bit fiddly (some controls are a bit too small to hit precisely), however the vary of customization choices and preset lighting patterns is spectacular. 

You may management not solely particular person colours from a wheel of thousands and thousands, but in addition their saturation, brightness and heat. Land on a specific shade that you just like, and it can save you it to a private palette to return to later. 

That’s earlier than mentioning the still-magical skill to manage the on and off setting from simply your telephone alone, wherever on the earth.

The LIFX Beam comes into its personal although if you begin actually delving into its customization choices. 

Every Beam bar has ten particular person coloration customization factors – these will be set to any variety of combos of coloration, both as outlined blocks, or mixing from one shade to a different. 

You may actually paint every shade on together with your fingers with a little bit illustration of the Beam set in-app (although not it presents the set as a straight line – it received’t be capable to determine any T-junctions in your design). 

That is expanded with 15 pre-set themes (‘Mellow’, ‘Intense’, ‘Peaceable’, and so on) that every comes with a picture providing you with a really feel for his or her coloration schemes, in order for you fast entry to a variety of designs with out delving in too deep your self.

Then it’s on to the ‘Results’ pane, the place issues get simply as loopy as they’re enjoyable. You’ve bought choices to set the sunshine to: flicker like a flame; a spooky setting the place it flashes briefly earlier than turning blood purple; to pulse in time with music picked up by your telephone’s microphone; cycle by way of random colours and extra. 

You may even set it as much as do an intense strobe mild impact, at a velocity of your selecting, which ought to clearly be approached with warning if anybody round you suffers from photosensitive epilepsy.

Lastly, there’s an choice to arrange a four-point Day & Nightfall cycle, with the LIFX Beam biking by way of mild temperatures at 4 factors within the day to fit your altering wants because the solar rises and units.

Between the standard of the LED array itself and the choices at your disposal, the LIFX Beam is loads of enjoyable. 

It’s not supposed as a substitute for the standard set of sensible lights or common bulbs. However as a function to attract the attention in a room, or a centerpiece to a home social gathering, it’s wonderful.

Connectivity

As with all good sensible lighting programs, the LIFX Beam will be made to behave as a part of a bunch, by way of scene and room group settings by way of your sensible system of alternative. 

You should utilize Alexa, as an illustration, to activate a ‘Residing Room Lights’ group that might embody the Beam in addition to a set of Philips Hue bulbs. Utilizing IFTTT (If This Then That) programming, it will probably even be set to react primarily based on all method of sensible dwelling sensor parameters, be they movement or temperature, and even issues like notifications acquired in your telephone. 

Nonetheless, there have been a number of events the place the Beam appeared to lose connectivity with both our community, or the Alexa system we had it paired to. 

Regardless of initially working, over time we discovered that the Beam failed to have the ability to talk or be discoverable by our Alexa audio system.

Verdict

The LIFX Beam is a flexible and enjoyable addition to any sensible dwelling, letting you add some creative aptitude and coloration to whichever a part of a room you place it in. 

Nonetheless be ready for some temperamental voice assistant management, and a typically fiddly app. See previous these points and the Beam comes very a lot really useful.

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