Could BeeWi Smart Color LEDs be the Hue competitor we've been waiting for?
At less than $40 per bulb, this affordable Philips alternative could make a colorful debut in the first half of 2014.
Lighting that changes color on demand is nothing new, and if you've read our review of the
That's why BeeWi's new Smart Color Light -- which the company plans to sell for less than $40 per bulb -- has us intrigued. Announced amid a wide slate of other Bluetooth-enabled smart home devices headphones, and even battle-copters than it is for designing light bulbs., BeeWi's bulbs might have gotten a bit lost in the shuffle. After all, BeeWi, a rather whimsical company based out of Europe, is better known for developing Bluetooth-powered toy robots,
That might soon change, as their new Smart Color Lights are due on sale, "within the next 90 days," according to a company representative. Fully controllable from a free iOS and Android app, the Smart Color LEDs boast the same 16 million colors as Philips Hue bulbs, as well as preset modes for waking up or syncing your lights with your music (BeeWi touts the fact that its app will customize the color of your lights based on the specific genre of music playing: a reggae song, for instance, would be met with red, yellow, and green light). And then there's the actual brightness of the bulb: BeeWi is promising 850 lumens, comparable to a 60-watt incandescent. Philips Hue bulbs, on the other hand, only hit 600 lumens at their peak.
Aside from the lumens and the price point, another key advantage the BeeWi bulbs might have over Philips is that each one is completely controllable right out of the box, thanks to the fact that they use Bluetooth to communicate directly with your device. Philips bulbs use a Zigbee connection, which means you need to plug the Hue Bridge control hub into your router before you'll be able to operate them. Since the Hue Bridge is only sold as part of the Hue Starter Kit, this means that the cost to get started with Philips is effectively $199. That isn't ideal if you aren't completely convinced that color-changing lights are for you.
We've already seen this Bluetooth-based, hub-free approach with the
These advantages aside, Philips users will still enjoy much greater compatibility with third-party devices like