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Review 6 min read No comments

LIFX Wi-Fi lighting review: LED bulbs that really shine

Cross-linked lamps are currently available in many forms. With a bridge or without one, with the possibility of networking with Philips Hue or without. Cheap or expensive. LIFX sent us two samples demonstrating their Wi-Fi-based system without the need for a bridge. The LIFX A60 and LIFX Beam lamps proved to be a great addition to my household. Here's why.

Rating

Good

  • Simple operation
  • Excellent brightness
  • Beam light completely customizable
  • Entertaining animations

Bad

  • High price
  • Magnetic contacts on the beam are wobbly

LIFX Beam release date and price

The LIFX bulbs tested here are quite expensive outside of savings campaigns. The A60, a Wi-Fi LED bulb for E27 sockets with 1,100 lumens of maximum brightness costs $59.99 individually. The beam with six segments and a right angle costs $149.99, although at the time of writing there is currently a deal for $20 off when you buy directly from LIFX.

LIFX Beam design and build quality

In this review, we looked at the Beam and the A60. The former is more interesting because with a total length of up to 1.83 meters - it colorfully covers rather a large area of your room. Since the segments each have ten LEDs, the resolution of the beam is much finer than initially visible.

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The LIFX Beam enables vivid color gradients and, thanks to the adapter, can also be used in corners / © AndroidPIT

The A60 is particularly interesting for a seemingly simple E27 LED bulb, as its brightness is stated to be up to 1,100 lumens; a significantly higher maximum value than Philips Hue, for example, which only goes up to 800 lumens. Nevertheless, the LED lamp is able to produce all the colors of the RGB spectrum.

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The light cone of the LIFX A60 is ... / © AndroidPIT
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... but at 100 percent it's much bigger / © AndroidPIT

Simple but wobbly construction

You can build the beam either lengthwise, in an L or in a T-shape. You can use the 3M adhesive strips, which are already attached on one side, to fix it to your wall or furniture. If you do not do this, the segments, which are otherwise only magnetically fixed, quickly lose all or part of their contact. They can fall out or behave strangely.

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Better stick the beam to the wall because the magnetic connection is shaky / © AndroidPIT

The power connection, which is also magnetically fixed, is located on a two-meter-long cable that ends at the Wi-Fi antenna. From there, a 0.5-meter long cable goes on to the transformer in your socket. Since the cable only adheres magnetically to the beam, only a slight pull should be applied to it. Interruptions can quickly occur here as well. In our first sample, we even had to replace the cable because of persistent problems.

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The LIFX A60 is also suitable for large rooms thanks to 1,100 lumens / © AndroidPIT

The installation of the A60 is trivial. Old lamp out, LIFX A60 in, done. The lamp can still be operated via the normal light switch. The A60 always returns to the previously active state. If you had set it to dark red and switched it off at the switch, it will be red one day later when you switch it on at the same light switch. The LIFX lamps have no battery, as is the case with the Sengled Everbright.

The setup continues via software

You first set up the LIFX lamps through the app. After a loose contact in the Wi-Fi adapter of the beam, which we had to fix by sending for a second sample, we were able to set up the LIFX lamps in the app and link them to smart assistants in the house. During our tests, we used the Google Assistant over two connected Google Home Max speakers. LIFX can also operate with:

  • Nest
  • IFTT
  • Google Assistant
  • Smart things
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Logitech Harmony
  • Cortana
  • Apple HomeKit / Siri

So there is no lack of smart integration. Unfortunately, the functionality of voice commands is very limited. So I wasn't able to activate the scenes created in the LIFX app using an "Okay Google!" command. I only had the choice between basic colors and the brightness level as a percentage. The grouping in rooms and the switching all bulbs in a room on and off, on the other hand, was simple.

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Select from 16,777,216 colors and 100 brightness levels in the app / © AndroidPIT

The software is very easy to use . In the basic functions, you set color or white tone and brightness; either by bulb or by room; or for all bulbs in your home at the same time. The respective constellations can then be saved as "scene" and later started via DeepL access. You can also place these shortcuts on the start screen of your smartphone or tablet using the Android widget.

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In the basic functions, you set the bulbs or select animations / © AndroidPIT

In addition to the basic functions, there are predefined themes that smoke rooms with several LIFX lamps in a colorful mood. Due to its structure, the beam can display several of these colors at once. The app also offers the option of drawing colors over its entire length.

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Colour your wall with the LIFX Beam / © AndroidPIT

If that's not colorful enough for you, the LIFX app also offers animation schemes. So you can make the bulbs flicker like a chimney fire. Or you can let the lamps oscillate to the beat of music. The latter option permanently listens to the microphone of your smartphone. Not only does this feature turn your smartphone into a bug, it also worked badly in my tests. The beats were not recognized accurately and the hoped-for disco effect did not occur. So I worked with the quieter "Random" effect, which chaotically shifts the RGB spectrum with all the lamps.

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The "music visualizer" requires the microphone authorization. Apart from a recoverable privacy risk, the effect is unfortunately minimal / © AndroidPIT

LIFX and Google are not best friends

If you operate the bulbs by app, they react immediately. Voice commands, on the other hand, sometimes arrive at the LIFX bulbs several seconds later due to the enormous network and computing overhead.

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If you control the LIFX lamps on call, massive time delays occur / © AndroidPIT

Measurements of the power consumption are still available. In general, LIFX lamps are expected to have a minimally higher stand-by consumption than ZigBee-based lamps such as Philips Hue due to the always-ready Wi-Fi connection.

LIFX Beam technical specifications

LIFX Beam and LIFX A60

  Beam A60
Connection Proprietary E27
Power max. 27 Watt max. 11 Watt
Stand-by < 1 Watt (manufacturer) 0,5 Watt (manufacturer)
Dimensions 300 x 35 x 20 mm per segment + 35 x 35 x 20 mm for the angle 63 x 63 x 115 mm
Weight 96 grams per segment 210 grams
Colors RGB, white in 2,500 K to 9,000 K RGB, white in 2,500 K to 9,000 K
Wi-Fi 802.11b,g,n, WPA/2 802.11b,g,n, WPA2

Final verdict

So if you are not turned off by the high price tag, you'll probably enjoy the LIFX lamps. There are several smaller and cheaper alternatives to the bright A60. Instead of the beam, maybe the Magic Strip is a cheaper alternative for you; its operation is congruent with that of the beam.

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I've been partying with LIFX / © AndroidPIT

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