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Lifx Color 1000 BR30 Wi-Fi LED Smart Bulb review: Smart color control from this pricey Lifx floodlight

The Lifx Color 1000 floodlight offers full color controls and Alexa compatibility. But is it worth fifty bucks?

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Ry Crist
Ryan_Crist2.jpg

Ry Crist

Senior Editor / Reviews - Appliances

Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is 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, and home networking.

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4 min read

If money were no object, I'd have Lifx Color 1000 BR30 LEDs all throughout my home. They're bright, they're efficient, and they offer better-looking colors than Philips Hue, plus comparable smarts thanks to integrations with the Nest Learning Thermostat, with IFTTT, and with Amazon's Alexa.

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8.2

Lifx Color 1000 BR30 Wi-Fi LED Smart Bulb

The Good

The Lifx Color 1000 floodlight LED is an Alexa-compatible smart bulb with full color controls, robust IFTTT support, and a superb design.

The Bad

$50 per bulb is still prohibitively expensive, especially since you'll probably need more than one of them. They also won't work with Apple HomeKit.

The Bottom Line

Prices are still high on these kinds of color-changing LEDs, but this Lifx floodlight is one of the best. It's worth the splurge if you're into high-tech novelty lighting.

But money is an object, and these LEDs aren't cheap -- 50 bucks each, to be exact, or about £40/AU$65. It's a lot of money for a light bulb no matter what currency you're using, and that stops me from recommending them outright (or, you know, filling my house with them). Plus, they don't work with Apple HomeKit, which might be a deal breaker for the iOS faithful.

Still, these are very good smart bulbs, and a justifiable splurge for owners of the Amazon Echo smart speaker thanks to those Alexa controls. You don't need these color-changing smart bulbs, but it's perfectly fine to want them, and fine to buy them, too, if you're looking for a little more color in your day to day.

Here are the smart bulbs that work with Alexa

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As LED floodlights go, the Lifx Color 1000 is flat-out great. With nearly 1,000 lumens at its brightest setting it's a legitimate upgrade in light output over the kinds of common 65W incandescents you might use it to replace. Bulbs like those typically put out less than 700 lumens.

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The specs are strong with this bulb.

Lifx

It's efficient, too, drawing just 11 watts (oddly even less than the white-light version of this bulb, which doesn't do colors and isn't quite as bright). With an 11W power draw, it'll save you about six or seven dollars per year in energy costs over that 65W bulb, all while putting out significantly more light.

Lifx bulbs are also terrific when it comes to color accuracy, and capable of producing rich, vivid tones at just about every shade. They're certainly better color-changers than Philips Hue, which struggles to put out true tones of green and cyan due to weak blue diodes.

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The "Turn on lights" IFTTT actions for Philips Hue and Lifx LEDs: the Lifx controls go a lot deeper.

Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

The smarts are on point, as well. The integration with Amazon's Alexa is particularly strong (I know because I own a couple of Lifx bulbs along with an Amazon Echo smart speaker, and use Alexa to control my lights each and every day). Sync your Lifx account with the virtual assistant in Amazon's Alexa app, and you'll be able to ask her to turn things on and off or turn them up and dim them down.

Tack "tell Lifx" onto your command, and she'll be able to change the colors, too, a la "Alexa, tell Lifx to change the table lamp to purple." It works like a charm for me, and makes it fun and easy for anyone to play with the novelty of your color-changing bulbs.

Lifx bulbs also work with the free online automation service IFTTT (if this, then that). It's one of the best lighting-related channels on the service, with lots of options for how your automated lighting changes can run, along with a veritable plethora of IFTTT-friendly smart-home gadgets and services to sync up with.

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The color controls in the Lifx app are smooth and easy to use.

Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Of course, there's also the Lifx app, available on Android, iOS, and Windows devices. Pull it out and sync up with your bulbs over Wi-Fi, and you'll be able to turn things on and off with just a tap, or adjust their color, brightness, or color temperature with a smooth, easy-to-use color wheel (two of them, actually -- one for colors, and one for white shades). You can also schedule the lights to turn on and off at specific times, complete with extra controls for things like fade duration.

These lights aren't perfect, though. The app's preset themes are pretty underwhelming, especially the color cycle option. It offers lots of specific controls for how the colors should cycle, but it doesn't let you pick specific colors to cycle through, and it often seems to get stuck after just one or two color changes.

A lack of support for Apple HomeKit is a notable omission, too. With HomeKit, you'd be able to automate the bulbs alongside other iOS-friendly smart-home gadgets in Apple's Home app, and you'd be able to control them with Siri commands, too. None of that is supported at this time, though, and that isn't likely to change unless Lifx releases an all-new generation of HomeKit-friendly bulbs. If HomeKit is important to you, then you're probably better off going with Philips Hue.

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Ry Crist/CNET

The verdict

These are undeniably good smart bulbs, but they aren't a must-buy. For starters, they're off-puttingly expensive at $50 each (though, in fairness, that's the same price you'll pay for a Philips Hue floodlight). They also missed the boat on Apple HomeKit, which is becoming an increasingly relevant platform for the connected home. The white-light only Lifx White 900, which costs $20 less, seems like the smarter buy to me.

Still, it's hard to argue against the quality of these bulbs. They offer bright, efficient performance, color accuracy that's dead-on, useful integrations with IFTTT and Alexa, and an app that's easy to use. They're also just a lot of fun, especially for kids. You could splurge on worse.

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8.2

Lifx Color 1000 BR30 Wi-Fi LED Smart Bulb

Score Breakdown

Features 8Usability 8Design 9Performance 8
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