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Cree Connected LED

North Carolina lighting manufacturer Cree is getting into the smart-bulb game with a new connected LED. Click through for a first look at this new smart-home offering.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Plastic build

The Cree Connected LED is a plastic-bodied bulb with a traditional A19-shaped silhouette.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Lighting specs

Turn the 11.5W bulb on, and you'll see 815 lumens at a warm, golden color temperature of 2,700K.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Familiar design

The Connected LED's specs and build are essentially identical to the Cree 4Flow LED, which the company introduced in 2014.

Published:Caption:Photo:Ry Crist/CNET

Convection cooling

Like the 4Flow LED, the Cree Connected LED uses convection vents to circulate air through the bulb and eliminate the need for heat sinks.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

A touch of green

One small difference from the 4Flow LED: the Cree Connected LED has a green ring around the screw to help make it easier to tell the two apart.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Wink Hub required

The other obvious difference from the 4Flow LED is that the Connected LED has a ZigBee radio built right in. This means that it can't communicate directly with your router, so you'll need a hub to play the role of translator. Cree doesn't sell a hub -- instead, it will work with the Wink Hub, which also sells at Home Depot. Moving forward, Cree plans to open compatibility to other hubs, too.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Wink setup

You'll find simple instructions for pairing Cree's bulb with your hub in the Wink app, available for Android and iOS devices. In our tests, pairing each bulb worked on the first try, and took less than a minute.

Published:Caption:Photo:Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Instructions included

You'll also find Wink-specific instructions right on the Cree Connected LED's packaging.

Published:Caption:Photo:Ry Crist/CNET

Update required

You'll need to update the firmware on your Wink Hub before you'll be able to add the Cree bulbs to your system. Unlike pairing the bulbs, updating the hub definitely didn't work on the first try, which was a little frustrating.

Published:Caption:Photo:Ry Crist/CNET

Smart lighting control

Once everything's paired up, you'll find direct dimming controls right in the app. You can control one bulb at a time, or you can combine bulbs into groups and control all of them at once.

Published:Caption:Photo:Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Additional features

You'll also be able to save lighting shortcuts, schedule recurring lighting changes and monitor an activity feed.

Published:Caption:Photo:Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

'Robot' automations

You can also sync your Cree lights up with other devices in your system, or with your phone's location. Wink calls these automations "robots" -- in the example seen here, the lights turn off automatically whenever I leave home, provided I bring my phone with me.

Published:Caption:Photo:Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Price

Cree's Connected LED bulbs will retail for $15 each at Home Depot, where they are due to hit shelves by February. For the full rundown of this smart light's strengths and weaknesses, be sure and check out the complete review.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
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