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Lifx Z: Color-changing light strips for the smart home

These Wi-Fi light strips connect directly to your home network for app-enabled in-home color control.

Ry Crist
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.
Ry Crist
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1 of 8 Ry Crist/CNET

Lifx has long made color-changing lightbulbs, but this year, it has released "Lifx Z," a set of color-changing light strips. Click through to see what they're capable of.

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2 of 8 Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Color controls

The Lifx Z light strips use a Wi-Fi radio to connect to your home network just like Lifx lightbulbs do. You don't need a hub or a bridge plugged into your router. Once everything's synced up, you'll be able to change their color and brightness using the Lifx app.

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3 of 8 Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Themes

You can also use the "Themes" section of the app for quick color changes, or to use random colors from one of several presets. Here's how the strip changed after I tapped on the "Exciting" preset.

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4 of 8 Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Paint with light

You can also drag colors across the strips to create your own multicolor pattern. Each 1-meter strip has eight different zones that you can adjust. And yes, those zones are why this product is called "Lifx Z."

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5 of 8 Ry Crist/CNET

Here's how it looks

Here's an example of a multicolor setup that we painted in the app. It's a nice feature, because other smart light strips (notably the ones from Philips Hue) can only handle one color at a time.

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6 of 8 Chris Monroe/CNET

Works with Alexa

Like the other Lifx smart lights, the Lifx Z strips are compatible with the Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers, so you can tell Alexa to turn them on and off.

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7 of 8 Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

IFTTT controls, too

The strips are also compatible with the free online automation service IFTTT. Sync everything up, and you'll be able to trigger the strips using all sorts of IFTTT-compatible products and services.

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8 of 8 Ry Crist/CNET

Price

The starter kit includes the plug-in power attachment and two one-meter strips (you can connect up to ten of them in total). The price? $90, or about £70/AU$120. Check out our full review to see if we think they're worth the splurge.

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