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Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set review: Belkin's WeMo LEDs were worth the wait

WeMo LEDs are finally here, and they're a very solid smart lighting option.

Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Labs
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.
Expertise Smart home technology and wireless connectivity Credentials
  • 10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Ry Crist
8 min read

That price cut likely stems from new rivals that have emerged during Belkin's delay -- most notably the similarly priced white-light Hue Lux LEDs from Philips . In that same period, we've also seen the less expensive, US-only Connected by TCP LEDs integrate with SmartThings and Wink , upping their appeal even further. With competition like that, Belkin might have missed its chance to get out in front of the pack.


Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set

The Good

Belkin WeMo LEDs offer a well-refined app experience and top-notch ease of use. The bulbs themselves are also highly efficient and boast surprisingly high color-rendering scores.

The Bad

There's no option for a physical remote with WeMo, and no Web interface, either.

The Bottom Line

Smart LEDs are an overdue addition to the WeMo family of gadgets -- thankfully, Belkin did a nice job of getting them right.

Still, there's a lot to like about these lights, especially if you've already bought into the WeMo family of switches and smart devices . 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.

Ry Crist/CNET

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.

Belkin's bright new bulbs are WeMo-ready (pictures)

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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.

Ry Crist/CNET

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 the WeMo Light Switch or the WeMo Switch + Motion , 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 LEDConnected by TCP LEDPhilips Hue Lux LED
Lumens 800800750
Watts 9.5119
Efficiency (lumens / watt) 84.2172.7383.33
Color temperature (claimed) 3,058 K (3,000 K)2,603 K (2,700 K)2,640 K (2,700 K)
CRI score 888079
Dimmable range 3.8 - 100%1.2 - 100%0.5 - 100%
Lifespan 25,000 hours25,000 hours25,000 hours
Starter kit price $100 $80 $100
Bulbs per starter kit 222
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.


The WeMo LEDs have noticeably better color-rendering scores than the competition.

Ry Crist/CNET

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 the Cree TW Series LED or the Editors' Choice-winning GE Reveal LED floodlight .

Ry Crist/CNET

Smart features

Light-bulb nerdery aside, what you're paying for with WeMo LEDs are the smarts. As automatable LEDs go, they're a good option, with plenty of subtle features packed into the WeMo app.

These include the expected remote controls and scheduling capabilities. If you want your lights to turn on at 8:00 AM each morning -- or at sunrise -- the WeMo app makes it easy. Additionally, you can program fades into your lighting schedules, letting you set the lights to gradually fade on over a minute, an hour, or anything in between. You can also tell the lights to slowly fade down by pressing the "Go to sleep" button.

In my home, I use Connected by TCP bulbs to wake up in the morning, but the app doesn't offer an easy mechanism for slow, customized fades, or a quick sleep mode. Of the two, WeMo looks like the more feature-rich smart lighting setup.

Connect with these 35 IFTTT-friendly smart devices (pictures)

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Something else that WeMo has over TCP is an IFTTT channel, as Philips does for its Hue Lux LEDs. With IFTTT's simple "if this, then that" approach to automation, you'll be able to plug your WeMo LEDs in as the "then that," then choose the "if this" from a lengthy list of Web services and smart home devices. That means you'll be able to trigger your lighting using things like iOS location, Jawbone UP24, and even Facebook posts and Foursquare check-ins, if you're so inclined.

Belkin's team tells us that the WeMo LED's IFTTT channel won't be ready immediately at the product's launch, though they're hoping to go live as soon as possible. Once it's up and running, I'll test it out and update this review accordingly -- watch this space.


Adding WeMo LEDs to your existing setup is quick and easy.


Once you do, you be able to control them right alongside your other devices.

Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

As mentioned before, the WeMo app makes a cinch out of setup. Like with most recent smart home apps, you'll find a handy series of start-up screens to walk you through the process. Within a few minutes, you should be up and running.

I enjoyed using the WeMo app as I tested the kit out. Belkin has been refining the WeMo ecosystem for about a year now, and it shows -- the app feels polished and well thought-out. Features are easy to find and easy to use, with a simple rule creation interface and the ability to see the status of all of your devices at a quick glance. My scheduled lighting changes always went off without a hitch, and remote controls were quick and responsive, even when I tried controlling the lights from beyond the home Wi-Fi network.

All that said, those app controls are all that you get. There's no physical WeMo remote to compete with TCP's low-cost remote or the pricier Philips Hue Tap , and Belkin doesn't offer a Web interface for controlling your lights and devices, either. With Philips Hue LEDs, you'll find plenty of third-party Web control interfaces, thanks to an open API. TCP offers a Web interface too, though you have to be on your home network in order to use it.

Belkin WeMo LEDConnected by TCP LEDPhilips Hue Lux LED
App controls Android, iOS, KindleAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS, Kindle
Smart scheduling YesYesYes
Smart fading YesNoYes
Optional physical remote NoYes ($20)Yes ($60)
Smart BR30 floodlights NoYes ($25)Yes ($60)
IFTTT compatibility YesNoYes
SmartThings compatibility YesYesYes
Wink compatibility NoYesYes
Revolv compatibility YesNoYes
Staples Connect compatibility NoNoYes

The WeMo LEDs look well-positioned to enjoy the same third-party integrations as previous WeMo devices. Aside from IFTTT, the list includes compatibility with platforms like SmartThings and Revolv, though not Wink or Staples Connect. The well-established Philips Hue brand covers all of these bases and more, while TCP bulbs are only compatible with Wink and SmartThings.

No matter which smart LED you go with, you're going to have plenty of third-party options to sync up with, but if you've got a specific third-party platform or device in mind, you'll definitely want to make sure and check for compatibility.

Overall, all three look like viable smart home options to me. If IFTTT interests you, then both WeMo and Philips Hue Lux will get you there for the same price. With WeMo, you've got direct compatibility with WeMo Switches and motion sensors -- with Philips Hue Lux, it's the potential to splurge and add a few of the original, color-changing Hue LEDs to your setup. If one of those sounds more appealing to you, I say let it tip the scale in your buying decision.

Ry Crist/CNET

The bottom line

Adding smart bulbs into the WeMo ecosystem seems like a bit of a no-brainer to me, so I'm glad that WeMo LEDs are finally here. As smart bulbs go, they're a very solid, very functional option. Existing WeMo users will be especially happy should they choose to upgrade their Belkin-powered smart home with new, matching LEDs.

Still, as fast as both the smart home and LED markets are moving, I'll bet Belkin wishes it had gotten here a bit sooner. Competition is ramping up on both fronts, and costs are coming down. With Philips Hue Lux already established, Connected by TCP bulbs getting smarter, and new, ultra-affordable GE Link LEDs just arriving to market, competing now is going to be a whole lot tougher than it would have been five or six months ago.


Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set

Score Breakdown

Features 8Usability 8Design 8Performance 8