That price cut likely stems from new rivals that have emerged during Belkin's delay -- most notably the similarly priced white-light. In that same period, we've also seen the less expensive, US-only integrate with and , upping their appeal even further. With competition like that, Belkin might have missed its chance to get out in front of the pack.
Still, there's a lot to like about these lights, especially if you've already bought into the WeMo family ofand . Like the Hue Lux LEDs, the WeMo bulbs are IFTTT-compatible and boast a full suite of well-designed, easy-to-use app controls. Smarts aside, they're highly efficient and stronger than Philips or TCP when it comes to color rendering. With those sorts of specs, Belkin's smart bulbs are certainly better late than never.
Design and usability
Belkin didn't go out of its way to make its LEDs stand out from the crowd. With a traditional A19 shape and a white-bodied base, they follow a trend we've seen other LEDs tack recently, with space-age looks eschewed in favor of less-conspicuous builds.
The starter kit will set you up with two bulbs and the WeMo Link that you'll need in order to control them. While the LEDs aren't available in the UK yet, other WeMo products are. That $100 price point for the starter set converts roughly to a little over £60.
In Australia it's a little more expensive -- AU$169.95 for the two bulb starter kit or AU$49.95 for each individual bulb.
The WeMo Link is a small plug-in device that's just slightly larger than a typical phone charger. The plug will receive data over Wi-Fi (such as you turning the lights on from the WeMo app), then relay it to the bulbs via ZigBee, the same standard used by Philips Hue and Hue Lux LEDs.
Those Philips bulbs, however, require you to plug a hub directly into your router. That can lead to clutter on the router shelf and fierce competition for those Ethernet jacks, something we've certainly experienced here at CNET Appliances HQ. I much prefer Belkin's approach, which lets you plug the Link in wherever you like.
Like we've found with other WeMo products, getting started is relatively simple. After plugging the Link in, it'll flash green and orange. Pull out your smartphone and you'll be able to join up with the Link's Wi-Fi network. Once you do, screw in the bulbs, turn them on, and open the WeMo app. It'll detect your bulbs automatically then pop you back onto your home Wi-Fi network, and you'll be ready to go.
If you're already using WeMo products like theor the , you'll be able to control your bulbs right alongside them in the WeMo app. This includes rule creation, which means you'll be able to do things like turn your lights on by triggering WeMo's motion detector.
|Belkin WeMo LED||Connected by TCP LED||Philips Hue Lux LED|
|Efficiency (lumens / watt)||84.21||72.73||83.33|
|Color temperature (claimed)||3,058 K (3,000 K)||2,603 K (2,700 K)||2,640 K (2,700 K)|
|Dimmable range||3.8 - 100%||1.2 - 100%||0.5 - 100%|
|Lifespan||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours|
|Starter kit price||$100||$80||$100|
|Bulbs per starter kit||2||2||2|
|Additional bulb price||$30||$20||$30|
Back to the bulbs, though. At a power draw of 9.5 watts, and with a light output of 800 lumens, they're slightly more efficient than the competition. Belkin also settled on a color temperature of 3,000 K, just slightly hotter and less yellowy than the 2,700 K light put out by Philips and TCP.
The bulbs are also fully dimmable through the WeMo app -- though you'll want to be sure not to use them with in-wall dimmer-switch setups, as the two dimming mechanisms will clash, causing terrible flickering. In the app, though, dimming is smooth, simple, and flicker-free, with a slider bar that lets you dial the light up from 0 to 100 percent in 1 percent increments.
In front of our spectrometer, we detected increasing levels of light at each and every percentage point. That's an especially nice level of dimming control if you're picky about the brightness of your bulbs. My only complaint: that minimum, 1 percent level of brightness puts out about 4 percent of the bulb's total light output. That's probably plenty low for most purposes, but both Philips and TCP can dial down even lower.
One of the WeMo LED's strongest specs is its color-rendering score, which averages out to 88 out of 100. Most 60W replacement LEDs will struggle with red tones, and sit at an average score right around 80, which is where you'll find both the Philips Hue Lux LED and the Connected by TCP LED.
At 88, the WeMo LED can claim to make the colors in your home look noticeably more vivid and accurate than those two will -- though it won't do quite as good a job as bulbs that score in the nineties, like theor the Editors' Choice-winning .