New Lifx smart lights include filament bulbs and a king-sized switch
The Australian lighting brand is expanding its lineup.
Ry CristSenior 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.
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Lifx has been a steady presence in the smart lighting category since launching in 2012. Now, at CES 2020, the company is adding new hardware to the portfolio, and branching out beyond
with a smart switch, too. Here's a quick rundown, with details further down below:
Lifx Switch ($120, available spring 2020)
Lifx Filament White LED ($30, available spring 2020)
Lifx Candle White to Warm LED ($30, available spring 2020)
Lifx Z TV 360 Lightstrip Kit ($100, available spring 2020)
Lifx Z Gamer Kit ($60, available spring 2020)
4 switches in 1
Let's start with that smart switch. Available this spring for $120, it's designed to control Lifx lights from the wall while providing smart control over regular, non-connected lights, too. And, rather than replacing a single light switch, it's built to replace an entire four-gang bank of four light switches with a single installation.
A single switch version would presumably be easier for most users to incorporate into their homes. A Lifx spokesperson tells me that a version like that is in the works -- perhaps the company started with the four-gang model to differentiate itself from a crowded field of smart switch competitors.
Once you've wired it in, the switch's built-in control module will let you turn all four of the lights wired to it on and off from the Lifx app, or with voice controls via Siri, Alexa or the Google Assistant. And, since the switch uses Wi-Fi to connect directly with your home's router, no additional hub hardware is necessary.
The Lifx Switch won't dim the lights, though. You'll still need to use the app or a voice command to adjust the brightness of your
, and you won't be able to adjust the brightness of any dumb light bulbs that are wired to the switch at all. That's a definite disappointment here.
Still, at $120, you're essentially paying $30 per switch to smarten up four lights at once. For comparison,
Lighting just announced its own new line of smart switches, and a single, on/off-style switch costs $40. Make that $50 for one with dimming functionality.
New light strips for your computer and TV
Lifx Z light strips have long been favorites of mine because each one can put out multiple colors at once -- a nice advantage over competitors like the
Hue light strip, which can only put out one color at a time. Now, Lifx is pressing that advantage with new versions designed specifically for the back of your computer monitor or TV.
The first, the $100 Lifx Z TV 360 kit, includes four sections of light strip that you'll string together with 90-degree corner connectors to make a full rectangle of light on the back of your TV that's capable of putting out colors in all directions.
The other new set of strips is a gamer-centric kit meant to be stuck to the back of a computer monitor. With less real estate to cover, that kit is a bit cheaper, coming in at $60. Both will be available in stores this spring.
Don't forget the bulbs
Switches and light strips aside, Lifx is still a smart bulb brand above all else. So, of course, it brought some new bulbs to CES this year, too. Specifically, that'd be a new white light candelabra bulb and a new, vintage-style bulb with fake filaments comprised of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) arranged into columns. Each will cost $30 when they arrive this spring.
The candelabra bulb offers multiple white-light color temperatures ranging from a warm, candle-like glow to hotter tones that are more stark white. It won't put out colors like red or green, though. For that, you'll need to upgrade to the $45 Lifx Candle Color, which was released last year.
As for the filament bulbs, they're just the latest in a growing field of incandescent lookalikes that already includes names like GE and Philips Hue. They'll dim down nice and low, but they won't change colors, because different colors require different diodes, and with the diodes exposed in those fake filaments, a multi-color approach would ruin the aesthetic with ugly gaps in the glow. So, instead, you just get a single, warm white color temperature of 2,700 K, although I'll add that the bulbs come with either clear or smoked glass. Lifx also says that additional shapes, like globes, are in the works as well.
We'll be testing all of it out once the new products arrive later this year, so stay tuned for our hands-on first impressions later this spring.