GE Lighting is sending a new generation of C by GE LED smart bulbs to the lighting aisle -- and with Wi-Fi radios built into each one, you'll no longer need a separate, plug-in hub accessory in order to control them from outside your home or pair them with a voice assistant.
Branded as C by GE Direct Connect smart lights, the new lineup includes automatable white light bulbs, tunable white light bulbs , full-color RGB bulbs , and a color-changing light strip . Along with Wi-Fi, each one includes Bluetooth for local control and pairing, and each supports voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant, no additional hub necessary. All are available for preorder now, with a release date set for Nov. 15.
That pricing falls right in line with the Lifx Color smart bulb, while the 80-inch Direct Connect Light Strip costs $20 less than .from names like and , all of which cost a little less than the top brands. For instance, at $25, GE Lighting's color-changing Direct Connect bulb costs $20 less than
That said, our top color-changing value pick in the smart lighting category is the, an RGB Wi-Fi bulb that supports hub-free Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls for just $13 each. I'll update this space once I've had a chance to test the new 9.5W, 800-lumen C by GE bulbs to see how they compare with that one.
One other point of note -- the new GE bulbs and light strip don't support Apple HomeKit, or the Siri voice controls that come with it. Previously, you could connect C by GE bulbs with the C-Reach plug-in hub to bring them on board with HomeKit, but that won't work with this new generation. Sorry, Siri fans.
Meanwhile, the new lights should continue to be a Made for Google partner, and you can pair C by GE lights with Google Assistant .. GE Lighting is
Originally published Oct. 19.
Update, Oct. 22: GE now clarifies that the new bulbs will no longer work with the C-Reach plug-in hub, which means you won't be able to connect them with Apple HomeKit, or with Siri. This post has been updated accordingly.