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New Lifx smart lights include filament bulbs and a king-sized switch

The Australian lighting brand is expanding its lineup.

lifx-filament-led-promo

Vintage-style Lifx bulbs are headed to stores this spring.

Lifx
This story is part of CES 2020, our complete coverage of the showroom floor and the hottest new tech gadgets around.

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 bulbs with a smart switch, too. Here's a quick rundown, with details further down below:

What's new

  • 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)
lifx-switch.png

The Lifx Switch.

Lifx

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.

The Switch affixed to a wall.

Lifx

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 Lifx bulbs ($125 at Amazon), 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, GE 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.

lifx-z-tv-promo

A new Z TV 360 light strip kit is meant for the back of your TV. It can put out multiple colors at once in all four directions -- but it can't automatically match up with with the colors on screen.

Lifx

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 Philips 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.

lifx-z-tv-corner-connection

Corner connectors and strip lengths specific to the size of your TV should help make quick work of installation.

Lifx

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.

Just don't expect those colors to automatically match up with the colors on screen -- for that, you'll need to invest in the Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box or a similar product, like Dreamscreen 4K.

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.

A new tunable white-light candelabra bulb is joining the Lifx lineup this spring.

Lifx

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.

Read more: Best cheap smart LED bulbs of 2020: Does it matter which bulb you buy?

lifx-filament-led

New vintage-style filament bulbs combine smart controls with an old school aesthetic.

Lifx

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.

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