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Eve's new color-changing HomeKit light strips look promising

For starters, they're two and a half times brighter than Lifx.

Eve Systems

Formerly known as Elgato, Eve is a German home automation brand that's all about Apple HomeKit, and at CES 2019, it's debuting a couple of new gadgets that'll sync with Siri. Among them: the color-changing Eve Light Strip, which you can stick up behind your TV, under your cabinets or anywhere else in your home that could use a smart pop of color. The cost: $79.

Read more: Will HomeKit and HomePod get any attention at WWDC?

It's the brand's first lighting product, and one of Eve's first gadgets that communicates using Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth (the other is the also-just-announced Eve Energy Strip surge protector). The pitch is similar to other HomeKit-compatible light strip from names like Lifx, Sylvania and Philips Hue. Stick the things up, sync them with your iOS device using Apple's Home app, then turn them on and off or change their color using Siri voice commands.

You can also automate them alongside other HomeKit compatible gadgets for scheduled lighting changes, or incorporate them into smart home scenes that trigger multiple devices to a preprogrammed state at the touch of a button or the utterance of a voice command. Like with other HomeKit-compatible gadgets, you'll need an Apple TV ($110 at eBay), an Apple HomePod or a dedicated, always-on iPad ($179 at Amazon) to serve as your HomeKit hub if you want to control the things from outside the reach of your home's Wi-Fi network.

The strips are 2 meters long and can be trimmed or expanded up to 10 meters, with additional 2-meter extensions available for $49 each. They're bright, too, with each strip offering a total of 1,800 lumens at full blast, white light settings.

One limitation: Each Eve Light Strip can only put out one color at a time. That lags it behind Lifx Z, which is still the only big-name smart light strip capable of putting out multiple colors at once. Then again, the Lifx strips put out 700 lumens at max brightness -- less than half as bright as Eve is offering for roughly the same price.

That said, the best value for HomeKit users is probably still the Sylvania Smart Plus Bluetooth Flex Strip, which you can currently get for just $40. It isn't as bright as Eve, but it's bright enough to work for accent lighting, which makes it a good budget pick for the price.

Still, folks willing to splurge for something noticeably brighter will be glad to have Eve's strips as an option. Eve expects to start selling them early in 2019 -- once they arrive, we'll test them out in the CNET Smart Home and let you know what we think.

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