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GE's Newest Reveal Bulbs Bring Color-Enhancing Joy to the Smart Home

GE Reveal bulbs were some of the best I tested as CNET's light bulb guy. And now they're smarter than ever.

This story is part of 84 Days of Holiday, a collection that helps you find the perfect gift for anyone.

I've covered an odd assortment of beats during my years on the CNET Home team, from touchscreen refrigerators to app-enabled piggy banks, but I particularly enjoyed the time I spent reviewing and testing out LED light bulbs. Why? Lights are a necessity, and they can make a big impact on the way your home looks and feels. But most people don't spend much time thinking about their lights at all.

Back in my light bulb testing days, GE Reveal bulbs always offered an obvious uptick in color quality. You can best see the difference by comparing the red and orange M&Ms, the white of the bowl, and the less yellowy tone of the table's woodgrain.

Chris Monroe/CNET

As such, I was always eager to find easy lighting upgrades that actually make a difference. Yes, LED lights can make your utility bill more efficient, but you want them to look good doing it, too. Few bulbs I tested, if any, made colors look as good as those in the GE Reveal line, which use a special filter to reduce the high levels of yellow emitted by LEDs. That filter makes the whites in your home look whiter, and it helps make colors look more accurate and vivid, as well.

My only lament at the time was that there wasn't a smart version of the GE Reveal bulb you could automate or control with a voice assistant -- but now, there is! Available in a classic, A-shaped bulb or an overhead floodlight LED -- neither of which costs more than $25 -- the GE Cync Reveal Smart Bulb is a sneaky good tech gift for budding home automation enthusiasts, or for anyone who just wants the colors in their home to pop.

Why it's a great gift: As one of GE's Direct Connect smart bulbs, which use built-in Wi-Fi radios to connect directly with your home network as soon as you screw them in and turn them on, the GE Cync Reveal Smart Bulb doesn't need a hub or an existing home automation platform for you to use it. All you need is Wi-Fi. Once a bulb is connected, you can use the Cync app and automate it to turn on and off or change color settings at specific times. You can connect it with Alexa or the Google Assistant for voice controls, too. On top of that, the bulb includes a full spectrum of RGB colors and several animated presets, so if you want something fun for a party or for the holidays, it's a great fit for that, too.

What you'll pay: Not much! The standard, A-shaped version of the bulb only costs $13 at Target, which is significantly less than a comparable full-color connected bulb from big smart home brands like Philips Hue ($45 each) or Lifx ($35 each). With 800 lumens of light output, the GE Cync Reveal Smart Bulb is just as bright as either of those, and with a power draw of 9.5 watts, it'll only add a little over a buck to your energy bill each year if you use it for an average of 3 hours per day. Meanwhile, if you need a BR30 floodlight like the one I tested out, that'll cost you $22 at Lowe's. Again, that's a lot less than much of the competition, and it's still plenty bright and efficient.

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