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The color-changing iLumi smart LED heads back to Kickstarter

Due this fall, the color-changing iLumi smart LED is getting a makeover, new features and a fresh round of early-bird pricing specials.

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
3 min read

Two years after crowdfunding its first color-changing, Shark Tank-supported smart bulbs, iLumi is returning to Kickstarter with the debut of generation two. Simply dubbed "The New Ilumi," the updated color-changers come in both a standard A19 form factor and a BR30 floodlight shape, and boast new features, new partnerships, and better hardware inside each bulb.

They also come with a fresh batch of limited early bird pricing specials, which should come as welcome news to anyone who's intrigued by the novelty of color-changing smart lighting, but put off by the traditionally high cost of buying in. Though they'll retail for $60 and $70 later this year, snappy Kickstarter backers can snag the A19 version for $29 and the BR30 for $35, with discounted bundles available, too.

Shop for iLumi Bluetooth A19 LED Bulb (2015)

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That's some of the best pricing on color-changing smart lighting that I've seen. For comparison, a three-bulb Philips Hue starter pack costs $200, while the Wi-Fi-enabled Lifx LED sells for $100 per bulb. At thirty bucks a bulb (a little less than £20 in the UK, or roughly AU$40 in Australia), and with no bridge or control hub necessary, iLumi makes a lot more sense for anyone looking to deck their entire apartment out with color-changing light.

You can set iLumi's new bulbs to change with the shifting white light tones of the sun throughout the day. iLumi

iLumi's bulbs communicate directly with one another (and with your iOS or Android device) via Bluetooth. Like the originals, you'll only need to screw the bulbs in, turn them on, and pair them with your device like any other Bluetooth accessory in order to start controlling and scheduling them. Generation two brings an upgraded mesh approach to that Bluetooth connectivity that promises to increase the range from 50 feet to 150 feet.

iLumi's also learning a few new tricks, including a dedicated setting to sync the lights up with the sun as its color tone shifts throughout the day, and another to sync color changes to the beat of whatever music you're listening to. You can also create your own customized sunrises and sunsets to help you fall asleep or lull you awake, or simply shake your phone to turn a light on or off. With flash memory packed into each bulb, you'll also be able to save a "Power On" state for each light -- a color and brightness that they'll default to whenever you flip the switch.

You can also set each bulb to turn on and off automatically when it detects your smartphone coming and going. If you can't decide what color ties the room together the best, just snap a picture -- iLumi's app will decide for you.


In addition to the new features, iLumi's team is promising new integrations, too. The two most notable are compatibility with the Google-owned Nest Learning Thermostat along with a dedicated channel on the online automation service IFTTT, both of which would put iLumi right on par with Philips Hue and Lifx. iLumi also plans to open its software to developers, paving the way for additional third-party integration.

The A19 version of the new bulb is designed to replace 60W bulbs, putting out 800 lumens from a respectable 10-watt power draw. iLumi promises a color rendering score of 82 at default, white light settings, along with fully saturated colors that are brighter than the competition's. We'll look forward to testing all of that out as soon as we get our hands on one.

If you already bought generation one (left), you'll be getting the new features via app update this fall.

As for the floodlight, it has a higher power draw at 15 watts -- but also promises more than 1,100 lumens worth of light.

An iLumi representative tells me that the first-gen bulbs will continue to be sold in the short term, but that the plan is eventually for generation two to replace them outright. If you've already bought in, don't worry -- the first gen bulbs will work alongside the new ones, and will receive all of the new features and integrations by way of an app overhaul due in November. As for the bulbs themselves, iLumi is promising quick turnaround, with a Kickstarter ship date set for September of this year.