At CES, the Alba smart LED joins Nest's spotlight

With automatic dimming, built-in motion detection, and a tunable color temperature, this connected bulb looks like a smart partner for the learning thermostat.

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
2 min read

Watch this: The intelligent Alba LED works with Nest

Nest Labs "="" initiative="" back="" in="" june="" of="" 2014"="" shortcode="link" asset-type="article" uuid="18369ec4-b973-445c-affd-d6f9994ad871" slug="developer-program-makes-nest-a-focal-point-for-the-smart-home" link-text="launched its " section="news" title="Developer program makes Nest a focal point for the smart home" edition="us" data-key="link_bulk_key" api="{"id":"18369ec4-b973-445c-affd-d6f9994ad871","slug":"developer-program-makes-nest-a-focal-point-for-the-smart-home","contentType":null,"edition":"us","topic":{"slug":"smart-home"},"metaData":{"typeTitle":null,"hubTopicPathString":"CNET Home^Smart Home","reviewType":null},"section":"reviews"}"> , and ever since, we've seen a steady stream of smart home gadgets claim compatibility with the popular learning thermostat, including a fresh batch announced this week at the Consumer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas. Among these is Stack Lighting's Alba LED. Though each bulb costs $60 (about £40, or AU$75, converted roughly), there's a lot to like here -- especially for Nest owners.

The Alba LED is a BR30-shaped floodlight that packs plenty of smarts into each bulb. With sensors built to detect ambient light levels, Alba's capable of dimming automatically to provide appropriate levels of brightness throughout the day. Stack Lighting claims that this automatic dimming feature cuts energy consumption by up to 80% compared with standard LEDs.

Brighten up your Nest with Alba (pictures)

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Alba is also color tunable, which means you can change the color temperature from a warm, orange 2,700K to a hot, blue 5,000K or anything in between. Alba can automate these changes too, putting out white light during the day for better focus, then switching to warmer tones in the evening to help you relax and get ready for bed.

Each bulb has a built-in motion sensor, which lets Alba turn itself on automatically when it senses you entering the room. You'll also be able to schedule automated lighting changes and control the bulb remotely from a free smartphone app, or on your computer.

Sarah Tew / CNET

With Alba's Nest integration, the bulbs will report back to the thermostat to let it know which rooms are occupied. Alba can't detect the temperature in a given room, but you'll be able to tell Nest if you need a little more or a little less from your HVAC system when you're in a certain room.

Alba LEDs use Zigbee to send and receive data, so you'll need to plug Alba's hub into your router in order to sync them up with your home's Wi-Fi network (and with your Nest). The hub comes with Alba's 2-bulb starter kit, and isn't currently sold separately, which means you'll need to spend $150 (£98, AU$185) if you're looking to buy in.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Smart features aside, Alba claims a maximum light output of 750 lumens from a power draw of 13 watts, good for about 58 lumens per watt. That isn't bad for a BR30, though standard BR30 LEDs from Philips and Cree land closer to 70 lumens per watt. Alba also claims a lifespan of 50,000 hours -- twice as long as any other BR30 LED we've tested. Stack Lighting backs that claim up with six-year warranty.

The Alba LED is available for pre-order now, and set to ship in the US and Canada in Q1 of 2015. Moving forward, Stack Lighting plans to expand the bulb to additional countries, and also plans to release new shapes, including a standard-sized A19 bulb, a globe-shaped bulb, tube lighting, and a PAR38 floodlight.