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Philips Hue, Lifx and Misfit Bolt: A color comparison (pictures)

How do these three color-changing smart bulbs compare across the spectrum? We put them to the test.

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Ryan_Crist2.jpg

Ry Crist

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1 of 12 Chris Monroe/CNET

A close look at color

Your options in the color-changing smart bulb category are growing -- so let's take a look at how three of the top options stack up against each other.

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Soft white

Let's start with a soft white setting of around 2,700K -- the default for most smart bulbs including the three shown here: Philips Hue, Lifx, and Misfit Bolt (in that order). All three offer full white light spectrums, and all three do a good job at hitting those white light tones. Lifx is the brightest, Misfit Bolt the least so.

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Daylight

Here the bulbs are at a hotter, whiter daylight setting close to 5,000K. Again, all three hit the mark well, though Misfit Bolt is noticeably less bright than the other two.

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A closer look

Here's a closeup of Misfit Bolt, with the camera exposure settings adjusted for that particular bulb. It isn't quite as dark as the shot with all three bulbs make it look, because that shot has to compensate for the brightness of the other two.

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Red

Now let's get to the colors. All three bulbs are able to produce vivid shades of red. Lifx is actually dialed down to 50 percent brightness -- anything higher starts adding in white diodes and giving you tinted light (pink, in this case). And again, Misfit Bolt is the dimmest.

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Misfit in red

Here's Misfit Bolt on its own. Again, it's not as dark as the last shot would have you believe, and in this closeup, you can see that its take on red is pretty spot-on.

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The blues

Next up: blue. Misfit Bolt is even less bright here, and if you look close at the Philips Hue on the left, you'll see a faint indigo tone to the light. That's because its blue diodes aren't very powerful, forcing it to add in a little bit of red to put out enough light.

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Close on Misfit

Here's Misfit Bolt on its own. Again, the color is accurate, the bulb isn't nearly as bright as the other two.

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Three greens

Three bulbs, three different takes on green. Lifx is clearly the closest to pure, vivid green here, while Philips Hue can't muster much more than tennis ball yellow (again, those blue diodes just aren't that powerful).

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Misfit hits it

And again, Misfit is the darkest, but if you look at it on its own, you'll see that the tone is true green.

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Purple power

Finally, let's look at purple. Philips Hue probably hits it the closest, thanks in part to the strength of its red diodes.

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Misfit's purple

And here's Misfit Bolt on its own. Looks good and purpley to me, though still not as bright as the other two.

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