Connected, color-changing light bulbs are a fun way to smarten up your home's lighting, but the new Lifx Plus wants to smarten up your home's security cameras, too. Its trick? Invisible infrared light that shines out into the darkness when the bulbs are turned off. You can't see that infrared light, but night-vision cameras can, which makes it easier for them to see what goes bump in the night.
It's a pretty clever idea. Night vision cameras from names like Arlo, Nest, Canary and iSmartAlarm see in the dark by emitting their own pool of infrared light, but they can't see things in places that infrared light can't reach. With the Lifx Plus, you can effectively give those kinds of cameras a boost by lighting up dark spots in and outside of your home.
Each Lifx Plus bulb will cost $80 (£60/AU$105) when it ships out this November, with multipacks available at a discount. It's available as both a standard A19-shaped bulb and as a BR30-shaped floodlight that you can use outdoors.
At $80 each, the Lifx Plus costs $20 more than than the previous-gen Lifx Color 1000. That might be tough to swallow, given that these bulbs were expensive to begin with, but still, 20 bucks extra feels more or less fair for the novel addition of night-vision assistance.
Beyond the new infrared trickery, the Lifx Plus bulbs will function just like existing Lifx bulbs, complete with full color controls and a full spectrum of white light settings, too. They still use built-in Wi-Fi radios to sync directly with your home network, so you still won't need a hub to use them. Once they're screwed in, turned on and synced up, you control them using the Lifx app on Android, iOS or Windows devices. You can also control them using Alexa voice commands on the Amazon Echo smart speaker or with automation recipes on the free online service IFTTT.
Each Lifx Plus bulb draws 11 watts and puts out 1,100 lumens at peak brightness. That puts them right on par with 75-watt incandescent bulbs, and also makes them a touch brighter than the Lifx Color 1000. We'll be sure to compare the two when we test the Lifx Plus out in the coming weeks.
Of course, with nothing new beyond the infrared light, there's really no reason to upgrade to Lifx Plus if you don't use cameras in your home. To that end, Lifx will continue selling the Color 1000 LED, with discounts planned for the month of October.
We'll also be sure to take a look at how Lifx Plus stacks up against Philips Hue, its main color-changing competitor. Lifx has long enjoyed a color accuracy advantage over Hue, with noticeably better greens and blues dating back to generation one. However, Philips recently answered back with a new and improved, third-gen Hue bulb that puts out better, richer colors across the spectrum, along with lower prices for last year's second-gen bulbs.
Preorders for the Lifx Plus start on October 1, along with a new $90 "Lifx Z" light strip starter kit (£70/AU$120). The A19-shaped bulb comes with your choice of Edison-style screw-in base or a bayonet-style base designed for homes in the UK.