Control your Lifx smart bulbs with Brilliant smart switches, no hub needed

It's the latest evidence that smart bulbs and smart switches are finally learning to play nice in the connected home.

Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
Expertise Smart home technology | Wireless connectivity Credentials
  • 10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Ry Crist
3 min read

Quick Lifx color changes are just a tap away with Brilliant smart switches.


Lifx and Brilliant announced a partnership on Tuesday that'll let you control the former's color-changing smart bulbs from the latter's touchscreen smart switches. Live now, the integration puts color, scene and scheduling control of Lifx lights just a tap or two away on your wall, no hub needed.

"This is one of the most requested features from our customers, so we're excited to offer it starting today," said Brilliant CEO Aaron Emigh.

"As our Lifx bulbs have Wi-Fi built-in, there is no longer a need for a dedicated hub, which is a lot more convenient for consumers," adds Norbert Herrmann, Global Vice President of Lifx. Previously, you needed a compatible third-party hub like the Samsung SmartThings Hub in order to get Lifx and Brilliant devices working together. 

Philips Hue, Lifx, GE, Ring and more: Lots of new smart lights coming in 2019

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The newly native integration fixes that, and also serves as the latest example of a recent push for harmony between smart bulbs and smart switches. For years, smart switches were largely aimed at controlling dumb, unconnected light bulbs, and not made to support smart bulbs with their own mechanics for dimming, scenes, color control or scheduling. That left people interested in smartening up their lights with an either/or proposition -- replace the bulb or replace the switch, but don't replace both.

The problem there is that regular, unconnected light switches don't pair very well with smart bulbs, either. Turn off a switch like that and you cut the power to the bulb, which prevents your smart bulb automations and voice controls from working at all.


The native integration with Lifx might make the Brilliant Switch an intriguing upgrade for smart bulb owners tired of leaving their current, unconnected switch in the on position.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Things have changed in 2019, though. GE Lighting jumped out at the start of the year with a new, expanded lineup of smart bulbs and smart switches that are all designed to work well together. Meanwhile, the smart switch maestros at Lutron introduced a clever new rotary dial called the Aurora that snaps over top of your existing light switch to keep it locked in the on position while offering on/off and dimming control of Philips Hue smart bulbs. Other recent accessories like the Click smart switch from RunLessWire and the Nuimo Click smart switch from Senic promise to play well with Hue bulbs, too.

As for Brilliant, the new controls for Lifx bulbs will let you dim any of your lights or change their color using a color wheel similar to the one in the Lifx app, or with one of 15 RGB presets or five white light shades. You'll also be able to save a favorite lighting setup as a scene and then return to it with a tap, but you'll have to do that in the Brilliant app or on the switch itself -- the scenes you've already made in the Lifx app won't show up as options on the switch at all.

"We are working with Lifx closely and have a roadmap for additional features," a spokesperson for Brilliant tells me. "It's our expectation that users will have the ability to import their Lifx scenes in the fall and this feature will be released as a free background software update."

Another small limitation: No advanced, multicolor controls for the Lifx Z light strips or the wall-mounted Lifx Tiles. Each is capable of putting out multiple colors at once, and Lifx lets you finger-paint designs on them in the Lifx app. That'd be a neat feature to bring to Brilliant's switches, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards just yet.

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You'll have access to quick color presets and a color wheel on your Brilliant Switch, but you'll still need to use the Lifx app for advanced features like effects, Day & Dusk mode, and the ability to create multicolor patterns on Lifx Tiles.

Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Still, Lifx is one of our favorite alternatives to color-changing bulbs from Philips Hue, so the new partnership makes for a jaunty feather in Brilliant's cap. It's also the latest in a fairly steady rollout of new integrations for Brilliant in the past few years. Most recently, the list includes built-in Alexa voice controls with Echo Show-like information cards on the switch itself, as well as support for Google Assistant voice commands via an outside device like a Google Home Mini. Similar support for outside Siri commands via Apple HomeKit is in the works, too.

The integration doesn't come cheap, though. Though the cost of entry for connected bulbs has fallen significantly in recent years, Brilliant's switches start at $299 each.

We've got one of Brilliant's switches installed at the CNET Smart Home -- I'll test out the integration with Lifx next time I'm there and update this space with my thoughts.