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Lifx White 900 BR30 Wi-Fi LED Smart Bulb review: A smart, simple overhead light that works with Alexa

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The Good The white-light floodlight from Lifx is bright, efficient, easy to use and compatible with Nest, IFTTT and Amazon's Alexa.

The Bad Lifx bulbs don't support Apple HomeKit, so you can't control them with Siri commands. We also experienced occasional hiccups with the Wi-Fi connection.

The Bottom Line These are very good smart bulbs with a lot of tricks up their sleeves, and they cost half as much as Philips Hue's floodlights. They're the bulbs you want for smart overhead lighting.

8.3 Overall
  • Features 8
  • Usability 8
  • Design 9
  • Performance 8

Cloud-connected light bulbs are a terrific starting point for the smart home, but most of your options are A-shaped bulbs meant for use in lamps. That's all well and good, but it isn't terribly helpful if you're living in a home filled with recessed lighting fixtures designed for BR30-shaped floodlights.

The good news is that you've got a couple of floodlight-shaped options, too. The best of the bunch? The Lifx White 900, a smart, Wi-Fi-enabled floodlight that lets you control things remotely through the Lifx app on your Android, iOS or Windows device. It won't change colors like other Lifx bulbs, but it will change color temperatures on the white-light spectrum, which allows you to dial between a warm, golden glow and bright, bluish-white daylight tones. On top of that, it enjoys all of Lifx' third-party integrations, which include IFTTT, the Nest Learning Thermostat and Amazon's Alexa. The cost? Thirty bucks a pop (a little less than £25, or about AU$40).

That's not inexpensive, but it is $20 less than Lifx' own color-changing floodlight, and $30 less than the Philips Hue floodlight. It's also just $10 more than bottom-tier smart floodlights from names like GE and TCP that don't offer white-light spectrum controls or the depth of Lifx' third-party connections. That, coupled with strong performance, puts the Lifx White 900 right in the smart-floodlight sweet spot.

Smarts aside, a connected light bulb has to start by being a good light bulb, especially if it's asking you to spend $30 on it. The Lifx White 900 passes this first test with ease. Like the name suggests, it puts out plenty of light, with a claimed 950 lumens at peak settings. That's a noticeable upgrade from the sort of 65W incandescent floodlight it seeks to replace -- bulbs like that typically put out less than 700 lumens.

The Lifx White 900 is noticeably brighter than the 65W incandescent floodlights it seeks to replace.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The White 900 has a power draw of just 12 watts, so you're also getting a nice efficiency upgrade. How nice? In the US (energy rates will vary from region to region), a 12W bulb will add about $1.50 to your power bill each year, on average, which is far better than the $7 or $8 you'll spend to use that 65W incandescent over the same period. Replace that incandescent with the Lifx White 900, and your new bulb will pay for itself in energy savings in less than five years, then keep on shining for decades to come thanks to a 22.8-year life expectancy.

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