Ilumi LED Smartbulb Boasts Impressive Feature Set, Performance Disappoints

The ilumi smartbulb brings a ton of features to a previously “dumb” appliance. Unscrew your boring old light bulb and screw in the ilumi smartbulb and you’ll get a highly efficient, color changing, music sync’d, presence detecting light bulb that can be controlled by your smartphone via Bluetooth connectivity. You can get yourself an ilumi A19 smartbulb for $59.99.

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With your smartphone connected to your ilumi smartbulb, you unlock a world of features that you’ll never experience with your standard light bulb. There’s no hub or WiFi required, as your phone connects to the ilumi smartbulb directly via Bluetooth. Another great feature is that the ilumi smartbulbs are compatible with your existing light fixtures and light switches, no need for electrical work! The only downside is that ilumi does not recommend using standard dimming switches with their smartbulbs.

The ilumi smartbulb, despite all of the smart features, is also very energy efficient. It uses LED as its light source, so you can produce 800 lumens at around 10 watts. This light output is equivalent to a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb, so the ilumi smartbulb is six times more energy efficient! Everyone loves a lower electricity bill.

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With the app, you can control all of the ilumi smartbulbs in your house, individually or in groups. You can group your living room lights together, your bedroom lights together, your kitchen lights together, etc. You can configure all of those different groups with different settings and timers to completely automate and customize your house’s lighting.

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You can also set individual lights to automatically turn on when the ilumi senses your smartphone’s presence, so you’ll never find yourself searching for the light switch in a dark house when you come home late from work. You can also set your lights to follow the circadian rhythm of the sun cycle, which some say helps promote overall wellness.

One of the neat things that the ilumi smartbulb can do is a “candlelight effect” that gives you a yellowish light that flickers just like candlelight. While it mimics the flickering effect nicely, it’s a little jarring and I couldn’t imagine actually using it in real life unless it was behind a heavy lampshade.

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Another neat trick is that you can set the ilumi to turn on and off randomly while you’re on vacation. This is a way to throw off potential criminals, making them think that someone’s home, even if the house is empty. You can also set your ilumi to pulse different colors in sync with the music being played on your mobile phone. While it’s a nice trick, I didn’t notice the light actually syncing with the beat of the music, which is unfortunate.

While all of these fancy features are nice, how does the ilumi perform as a standard white light bulb? Unfortunately, not very well. While you can tune the color of the LED to match almost any color temperature, the ilumi smartbulb makes an audible buzzing sound. This is something that is difficult to ignore and will get on your nerves after a while.

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Unfortunately, due to the cost of a single ilumi smartbulb ($59.99) and the faltering performance of the bulb, I can’t recommend them for use in your smart home. While the fact that the ilumi smartbulbs are compatible with existing light fixtures and light switches is convenient, the performance doesn’t feel like it lives up to the price tag.

You can purchase the ilumi smartbulb directly from ilumi’s website!

Source: The ilumi smartbulb was provided by the manufacturer as a review sample.

What I Like: Compatible with existing light fixtures and switches; Beautiful color changing ability; Nice feature set; Customization features via smartphone app.

What Needs Improvement: Features don’t perform as well as I’d hope; Smartbulb creates an audible buzzing sound.


About the Author

Perry Brauner
I'm an architect by trade, but the overarching theme of my life has always been trying to keep up with the newest, coolest technology. Ever since I picked up an NES controller, I've been hooked on the latest and greatest gadgets, gizmos, and toys. Whether it's gaming, mobile phones, and accessories, or PCs and Apple products, I'm interested. I use many Apple products in my daily life, such as the iPhone, iPad, and my MacBook Pro. I've also built a few PCs in my day, so I'd like to say that I'm a pretty well-rounded techie.