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Noon Smart Lighting Starter Kit review: Smart light system that uses your regular bulbs

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The Noon app

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The Noon app pulses your existing light bulbs to identify them within the app. 

Noon Home

The Noon Smart Lighting System comes with the Noon app for Android or iOS phones. That's where you'll pair your room director with your current lights, as well as create rooms and scenes. Pairing the CNET Smart Home lights was an entertaining experience. Noon pulsed each bulb type individually to reference those bulbs as I paired and named them in the app. During this portion of setup, you'll also group lights together to create rooms and scenes. The app is pleasantly simple and intuitive about what to do next.

When the Noon Smart Lighting System is finished recognizing each bulb, it automatically creates three layered light scenes. You'll get Bright, Everyday and Relax scenes. You can also create your own. I added a TV scene to dim the lights just right for watching a movie. The Noon Smart Lighting System works with Amazon Alexa voice commands, and Alexa was quick to discover my new scenes. I was able to ask Alexa to turn on scenes in each room with no noticeable lag. I'm hoping Siri and Google Assistant compatibility are close behind.

The Noon Smart Lighting System also includes convenient features like Night Light and Vacation Mode. Night Light detects motion during a set window of time and turns on low level lighting. Pass by a switch on your way to the kitchen late at night, and lights will glow just enough to keep you from stepping on Lego bricks or knocking over a lamp. Vacation mode learns your everyday use of the lighting system and activates scenes to mimic your normal patterns when you're out of town. 

Is it worth it? 

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The Noon Smart Lighting System identifies each bulb in the room to create scenes optimized for your lights. 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Overall, the entire system looks nice, works well with Alexa voice commands and got me genuinely interested in how lighting design could improve my home. However, the Noon Smart Lighting System is not cheap. The Starter Kit costs $400. Just one additional room director costs $200 and additional extension switches are $100 each. Granted, the system is designed to take the place of hiring a lighting designer to customize your home, which typically costs between $75 and $150 per hour. Noon Home admits the system is most effective in an open concept floor plan, where you'd only need one room director switch. 

Still, it feels like a luxury item that doesn't do nearly as much as Lutron's Caseta line of switches that cost less and integrate with Nest, SmartThings and the Google Assistant. Yes, Noon Home's product looks better and yes, you'll get the feel of custom lighting design for your home, something Lutron doesn't aim to do. In that way, the two are a little incomparable.

If lighting design is your top priority in smart lighting, the Noon Smart Lighting System is really the only DIY, yet professionally engineered option out there. For me, it's just not there yet in terms of smart home integration and cost effectiveness. For more integrations at a lower price point, Lutron is still the clear winner.

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