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Light Bulbs

Sengled's $35 smart bulb wants to take on you-know-Hue

Debuting at CES 2018, the Sengled Element Color Plus LED is a $35 smart bulb that changes colors and syncs with both Alexa and Google Assistant.

element-color-plus-1

The Sengled Element Color Plus LED.

Sengled

Color-changing lights are a fun smart home novelty, but they don't come cheap. Bulbs from big names like Lifx, Sylvania and Philips Hue sell for $40 or even $50 a piece -- too expensive for some to even try a single bulb out, let alone fill their house with the things.

To that end, Sengled's new Element Color Plus LED, debuting at CES 2018, seems like a small step in the right direction. Bulbs will sell for $35 each, or $99 for a two-bulb starter kit with a plug-in Zigbee hub to connect them with your home's local network. For comparison, $99 is the same price Philips Hue currently charges for a two-bulb "White Ambiance" starter kit that doesn't change colors.

Like Hue's bulbs, which also communicate with each other using Zigbee, the Sengled bulbs can connect directly with approved third-party Zigbee controllers. Specifically, Sengled plans to roll out compatibility with Samsung's SmartThings Hub by the end of January, and with the Zigbee-equipped Amazon Echo Plus by the end of March. And yep, that also means that you'll be able to control the bulbs using Alexa voice commands. 

Those upcoming Alexa controls will join the bulb's native compatibility with the Google Assistant, giving users two voice platforms to pick from. 

As for Siri, a Sengled spokesperson wouldn't rule it out, telling me that the company is "actively looking to expand compatibility to other platforms, including [Apple] HomeKit." HomeKit is the set of iOS-based smart home protocols that lets you sync compatible smart home gadgets directly with your iPhone and iPad, and with Siri.

As for specs, Sengled promises a light output of 800 lumens at the bulb's default 2,700 K setting, which would put it right on par with a common, household 60W incandescent bulb. At a power draw of 8.6 watts, it also uses slightly less energy than current-gen color-changing bulbs from both Lifx and Philips Hue.

The Sengled Element Color Plus LED will be available for purchase on Sengled's website and on Amazon by the end of March. Sengled plans on selling the bulb at major retail outlets this spring, though details on that front have yet to be finalized.

What to expect from the smart home at CES 2018: We take a look at the smart home and appliance trends we expect to see this year.

CES 2018: CNET's complete coverage of tech's biggest show.