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Light Bulbs

Casper mattresses: Now with smart lights on the side

The online mattress retailer is getting into smart lights with a new battery-powered bedside lantern called the Casper Glow.

Casper

Casper has been one of the internet's top mattress sellers for about five years. Now, the New York-based e-retailer wants to get smart lights into your bedroom, too.

Available starting today, the new light is called the Casper Glow, and it's a rechargeable wireless lantern that docks on your nightstand. Thanks to the built-in gyroscope you can flip it over to turn it on and off, twist it to dim it up or down, or shake it to trigger a low nightlight setting. Connect it to your Android or iOS device via Bluetooth, and you'll also be able to set a timed slow fade to lull you to sleep at night, or a slow, simulated sunrise to ease you awake in the morning.

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With a built-in battery and a dedicated charging dock, the Casper Glow is designed to come with you on those late night bathroom and kitchen runs.

Casper

The price? $89 each (about £70), or $169 for a two-pack (about £130).

A ninety-dollar nightlight?

$89 is steep for a standalone smart light -- especially one that doesn't change colors and won't connect with Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant to offer voice controls.

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You can adjust the Casper Glow's brightness by rotating it.

Casper

"At launch, Glow does not sync with other devices," a Casper representative tells CNET. "As we do with all Casper products, we will continue to iterate on and improve Glow based on customer feedback and demand."

For comparison, the battery-powered Philips Hue Go costs $80 -- it doesn't include a built-in gyroscope, but it does offer full color control and support for all three major voice assistants. And, in addition to app-enabled slow fades like you'll get with the Glow, the Hue Go can automatically pair a slow sunrise with your Google Assistant voice alarms.

That said, many will appreciate the fact that the Glow pairs directly with your phone over Bluetooth, no extra hub hardware needed. The Hue Go requires a Philips Hue Bridge or another Hue-compatible Zigbee control hub like the Amazon Echo Plus.

You'll need to use the Casper Glow app if you'd like to trigger or schedule a slow fade.

Casper

All about that app

With no support for voice controls or any larger smart home platforms, you'll need to rely on the Casper Glow app for setup, scheduling and advanced control of your lights. If it's bedtime and you want to start a 45-minute slow fade, you'll need to use the app.

The Casper Glow doesn't support any voice assistants at launch, which might force you to use the app more than you'd like at bedtime.

Casper

That's less than ideal for a couple of reasons. First, Casper calls this thing "a magical light for a better night's sleep," but the focus on your phone seems to work against that pitch. At the very least, I'd hope that you'd be able to schedule an automated slow fade at your usual bedtime, but the app screenshots only appear to include wake-up scheduling. 

Even if the app lets you schedule fades for the evening, as well, most people don't typically go to bed at the same time every night. Having a phone-free means of triggering those fades in the moment would have been a much better approach.

On top of that, the lack of a wider family of products or support for any larger smart home platforms means that you won't be able to control these lights alongside any of the other smart lights in your home.

After all, if you're willing to spend $89 on a single smart bedroom light, I have to think the odds are good that you're interested in smart lights elsewhere in your home, too. If that's the case, and you go with Casper Glow lights for the bedroom, then you'll need to go with some other brand -- and some other app on your phone -- for the rest of the lights. Like I said, less than ideal.

The Casper Glow's small, unassuming design might make it a good pick for a kids room.

Casper

Simplicity in design

As for the light itself, at 5 inches tall and 3 inches wide, it looks a little like a pint-sized, light-up version of the Apple HomePod. The soft, marshmallowy aesthetic seems appropriately pillowy for the bedroom, and I like that it won't take up an excessive amount of space on your nightstand, too.

With the tone of light fixed at a yellowy 2,700 K, the Casper Glow won't let you adjust the color temperature the way that a lot of other sleep-centric smart lights will. That includes smart lights that don't cost as much, like the C by GE Sleep LED. No word from Casper yet with regards to the total light output as far as brightness is concerned, but it looks like the Glow is intended to serve as an accent light and not as a primary light source for the room.

I also wonder about that charging base. Specifically, will it charge the light from both ends? You're supposed to flip it over to turn it on and off, after all...

The good news is that we're expecting to go hands on with the Casper Glow very soon, so hopefully, we'll have answers to all of these questions shortly. When that happens, I'll update this piece.

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