When it comes to technology in our homes, one of the last things we probably think of is our light bulbs. I imagine that most people don’t even think about light bulbs at all until one goes out. However, there is an entire selection of bulbs that go far beyond simply lighting up our homes. Some of these light bulbs were created for pure fun while others are meant to add another level of security. Sitting right in the middle of those bulbs is the ilumi Bluetooth Smartbulb.
The ilumi Bluetooth Smartbulb looks almost like any other light bulb except for the fact that it is built much sturdier. The body of the bulb is completely metal which gives the bulb a nice weight. The dome where the light shines through is made of translucent plastic, but even that feels sturdy. The overall feel of the ilumi Smartbulb is simple but elegant. It is understated and blends in, which is exactly what a light bulb should do.
That being said, the design does lend itself to some faults. While using the ilumi Smartbulb, it has gotten extremely hot due to the metal body. If something were to happen and you needed to remove the ilumi from a light socket, you will get burned if you attempt to hold it from the sides.
I am not sure if this problem would have been fixed with a plastic body, but I do know that the plastic dome does not get nearly as hot as the rest of the bulb. Even after sitting on my desk for 10 minutes after being taken out of my lamp, the ilumi is still too hot to touch. I would definitely recommend using ilumi Smartbulbs in places they will not be accidentally touched.
ilumi makes its bulbs extremely straightforward to set up. After downloading the ilumi app from the Play Store, all you need to do is create an account to get started. After putting your ilumi into a light fixture and turning on your phone’s Bluetooth, you should see your bulb appear in the menu.
From there, you can begin to customize your bulb to your liking. You can create Groups to control multiple bulbs at the same time, which can be useful if you have several ilumi Smartbulbs in one room. Once you have placed your bulbs into a group, you are ready to explore the numerous features in the ilumi app.
The ilumi app is full of features, and we will touch briefly on the majority of them. Controlling your bulbs through Groups is a fairly straightforward process. After selecting the group you want to control, you are given a slider for brightness, several preselected color choices, and an RGB color wheel for fine tuning the color and tint of your lights.
Moving on from basic bulb control, there is a section labeled Experiences that contain several features for your ilumi. Rise and Shine is one of my favorite features because you can set it to begin at a certain time, and it will mimic a sunrise to gently wake you up from your sleep. You can change things like the time and days it is active, the duration of the sunrise, and even the type of sunrise.
Music Sync is one of those features that sounds super fun but is actually disappointing. In theory, activating it should cause your ilumi to pulse and change color to the music you are listening to. Unfortunately, I never found that to be the case. My ilumi always seemed to be confused by the music I listened to because it would never change with the beat. Perhaps the effect is best seen in a room with multiple bulbs at the same time, but I found it to be unusable with a single bulb.
Scene Scheduler is useful if you have a fairly structured schedule because it allows you to have your ilumi Smartbulbs change at certain times and on certain days. You can create different Scenes, which are basically preset settings for your ilumi, and schedule them to run at a certain time. This can be useful for those who return home at a specific time because they can have their lights turn on before they get home.
Vacation is one of the security features built into the ilumi app. Activating it will make you ilumi Smartbulbs turn on and off at random times to simulate you being home. This can be useful to ward off would be criminals or even just pesky neighborhood kids. If you are planning on taking advantage of this feature, I would recommend having several ilumi bulbs throughout your house because the effect is not convincing when only one light turns on and off.
Circadian is a feature meant to help you fall asleep easier. Having this feature enabled will cause your ilumi bulbs to change color throughout the day to mimic the Sun’s natural movement and color. In theory, this should help you get to sleep, but like many of the features in the app, it is probably more useful if you have more than one ilumi Smartbulb.
Torch, like Music Sense, should be an amazing feature but suffers from poor usability. Torch is meant to use your ilumi Smartbulbs as flashlights by turning them on as you get close to them. This way you can find your way around your house at night without having to turn on every light. Unfortunately, I found that it rarely worked with my single bulb. Perhaps it would have worked better with multiple ilumi bulbs, but I am skeptical.
Simon lets you play a fairly basic game of Simon Says with your ilumi Smartbulb. Even the hardest mode is not extremely challenging, but I imagine that children would have a blast playing it.
The last feature is called Shake, and it allows you to set times when shaking your phone will turn on certain ilumi Smartbulbs. I found this to be much more useful than Torch because I could just shake my phone (which is right next to my bed) if I needed to get out of bed at night, and my lamp would turn on.
I have been using the ilumi Smartbulb in the lamp in my room for a while now, and I have to say that it is a cool piece of technology. As far as being used for a light bulb, the ilumi is fairly average. It does not get extremely bright, but it is bright enough for most any task. The amount of colors to choose from is incredible and truly allows you to make your house your own.
Since the ilumi is controlled by Bluetooth instead of over WiFi, you are more limited in your ability to control it versus other smartbulbs like the Philips Hue. You must be in fairly close proximity to your bulbs to control them compared to being able to access WiFi connected ones from anywhere.
This limited reach also expands into the security side of smartbulbs. While the ilumi Smartbulb has a few security features such as Vacation mode, the fact that you cannot control your lights from far away means that you cannot activate this mode if you forgot before leaving your house. If the price of the ilumi Smartbulb were less than the price of comparable bulbs from the Philips Hue set, I could see a reason to purchase the ilumi bulbs over WiFi connected bulbs. However at a regular price of $60, I cannot see any reason to purchase an ilumi Smartbulb over a bulb controlled over WiFi.
Although the ilumi Bluetooth Smartbulb is a well-built bulb with several useful features, I believe that it is competing with better bulbs at its current price point. If you do not want to have your bulbs connected over WiFi, then I would strongly recommend the ilumi Smartbulbs. You can purchase the ilumi Bluetooth Smartbulb from Amazon on sale for only $45!