LIFX White 800 Review

LIFX is a wifi smart bulb that allows you to control it with your phone or smarthome products (Amazon Alexa, Google Home).

It began as a successful KickStarter project and has since been through 3 iterations; Each iteration improving on the design and connectivity of the bulb.

[Update 05/04/2018]
[The LIFX White 800 bulbs have been discontinued. Head over to LIFX to see the latest range]

There are a series of bulbs from LIFX and the one I will be revewing today is LIFX White 800 (Generation 2).

 

Build

Out from the box, the bulb feels solid and well crafted. It also has a weight to it. I would say in terms of bulb weight, it is considered heavy.

The size is also bulkier when compared to ordinary bulbs. This is to cater for the WiFi component that’s inside.

LIFX next to an IKEA bulb

 

Setup

Setup was simple and straightforward.

1. Unscrew your current bulb from the socket, and screw the LIFX bulb in. That’s it. Because the WiFi module is built into the bulb itself, there is no need for a separate hub (like Phillips HUE). Which means ones less thing to worry about.

2. Download the LIFX app into your phone. Create a LIFX account. Pair your bulb to your WiFi network. Download the latest firmware for your bulbs. You are now ready to go.

 

Performance and Usage

In my setup I had 2 bulbs installed. Each in an IKEA lamp. Turning the bulb on and off is as simple as tapping the power icon in the app. With the app launched, you are able to see in real time the status of the bulbs.

During the earlier firmware, it used to take 2 to 3 seconds for the app to ‘ping’ the bulb’s status. 2 to 3 seconds may not seem long but I expected it to be almost instant. It was good then that they released a couple more updates that cut down the time to less than 1 second.

The app allows you to rename your bulbs and also group them. So I had L2 and L1 under Living Room. The intensity and hue of the bulb can also be adjusted.


Turn the dial to Cool if you’re in ‘working’ mode.


Turn the dial to Warm if you’re in relax mode.

I also found it useful that you’re able to create schedules. So for example, you could create a schedule for your lights to turn on at a certain time of the day. The brightness level can also be adjusted in the schedule.

How long can it last? According to the product information, with a daily usage of 3 hours, it is able to last for 22 years. 22 years!

 

Works with LIFX

IFTTT (If This Then That)
Those that are more tech savvy can also create IFTTT recipes. For example, having the bulb blink when you receive an email. Or having the bulb turn on when someone mentions you on facebook. Initially I had tried to create a recipe to turn on the lights when I am reaching home but I couldn’t get it to work. Not sure why. I haven’t attempted to try again because I discovered I could create a schedule.

Google Assistant / Google Home
Your voice! That’s another method you can use to command the LIFX bulbs!  Those owning an android phone may activate this using the Google Assistant. Simply say “OK Google. Turn on my lights on LIFX.” Or “Hey Google. Set my lights to 50%”.
Just to note that Google Assistant is not available on all android phones. To check whether your phone has Google Assistant, long press the home button. The Google Assistant interface will appear with the question “How can I help you?”

Some of the other products(not comprehensive) that work with LIFX are below:
Amazon Alexa
Logitech Harmony
Logitech POP
Samsung Smart Things
Flic

 

Price and Availability

Head over to the website to purchase:  LIFX

A set of 4 bulbs plus Shipping(Malaysia) will set you back RM480 (USD109). You could also opt for 1 bulb but the price reduces slightly with more bulbs bought.

The Bad News
Depending on the type of LIFX bulb you’re looking for, you may or may not get to buy them. I would assume that most of the lamps at your home are using the regular sized bulb. Meaning the A19 shape (snow cone) with the E27 threading. If you’re unsure, unscrew the bulb and check the label.

As of this moment of writing, all bulbs with A19 E27 configuration are either sold out or do not have an option for International shipping. Those that are interested in the White 800 series are also in for a bummer. LIFX does not plan to make anymore of them at this time. If you are patient, I can only suggest to wait and see whether they stock up. If you can’t wait then read the good news below.

The Good News
You’re able to get it through 11street.my.  As of this time of writing, the search results on 11street returned an impressive list of LIFX bulbs. Pricing will be expensive as it’s no longer sold through the official channel.  A set of 4 plus shipping to Malaysia is RM1200. Aiks! Well at least there’s an option to get your hands on one!

Another place you can try is at Amazon.

 

Alternatives

Phillips Hue
Phillips Hue is the direct competitor to LIFX. It does pretty much the same thing. The only difference is that operates with a smart hub. At the moment, Philips Hue isn’t officially available in Malaysia.

 

Final Thoughts

All these may seem cool but the question you need to ask yourselves is, do you really need it.

For myself, I definitely could live without it. Ultimately it was more of “hey, this looks cool. LIFX’s having a promo. Ok buy”.
Ok really, utimately it came down to “although i only see myself using this in limited situations, i’m open to see what improvements it can bring to my home.” The next thing to consider is cost. RM120 is a steep price to pay for a bulb. But if it’s within your budget, then I would encourage you to try.

I’m very happy with the LIFX bulbs. The build is solid and has always turned on or off whenever it is instructed. The ability to change the different shades of white and its intensity is also really useful when setting the mood at home. All in all a good product with a reliable performance.