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Appliances

The connected, color-changing Misfit Bolt debuts at CES

The color-changing Misfit Bolt is a smart LED built to work seamlessly with Misfit's activity trackers.

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LAS VEGAS -- It's not a shock that we're seeing new color-changing smart LEDs here at CES, but I'll admit that I was surprised to hear that fitness-tracking company Misfit would be unveiling one this year. It's called the Bolt, and at $50 per bulb (a little over £30, or AU$60, converted roughly), it'll be one of the most affordable lights of its kind.

Misfit pitches the Bolt as a strong companion to the brand's core products. You can turn it on or off with a few taps on the Misfit Flash , or pair it with Beddit or Misfit Shine to tune it into your specific

Misfit

sleep cycle, providing daylight shades when you need to focus and softer, more relaxed tones when it's time to unwind. In addition, you can use Bolt as a visual alarm clock, with a simulated sunrise feature.

As far as specs go, Bolt rings in nicely as a 60W replacement, putting out a stated 800 lumens from a power draw of 13 watts. That's brighter than Philips Hue LEDs , which only put out 600 lumens.

Bolt uses Bluetooth LE to link directly with your Android or iOS device. This means that you won't need to plug a hub into your router, which in turn means that the cost of entry is just the cost of a single bulb -- $50. That's a more appealing approach than the hub-based Philips Hue, which only sells its hub as part of its starter kits, which cost $200 (£130, AU$250). Misfit will also offer a three pack of its new bulbs for $130 (£85, AU$160).

Of course, Philips Hue has managed to set itself apart thanks to a strong slate of features and third-party integrations. A better comparison for Bolt might be the Tabu Lumen LED , which originally retailed for $70, but now sells for right around $50 at vendors like Best Buy and Amazon. Though the controls felt a bit limiting at times, the Lumen LED offered just enough to leave me more or less happy with it, including a music sync mode that outperformed other bulbs with the same feature.

misfit-bolt-app.jpg
Misfit

Bolt's app, though visually appealing, doesn't have such a strong focus on features. All you can really do is switch between different lighting scenes, each one a collection of complementary color tones. Choose "Forest" for shades of green and blue, "Volcano" for shades of red and orange, or create your own custom mix. The effect obviously works better if you're using multiple bulbs, which might be a reason to consider splurging on that three-pack -- use just one Bolt, and you'll get just one shade.

Another limitation is the lack of a native scheduling feature. To enable scheduled light changes -- a fairly essential smart lighting feature -- you'll need to sync your Bolt up with a hub that's connected to your home Wi-Fi network. At launch, the Bolt will be compatible with Logitech Harmony Home 's remote and app, with other hubs likely to follow suit.

The Misfit Bolt is set to arrive by February, and will sell on Misfit's website and on Amazon. Expect a full review just as soon as we get some time to tinker around with one.

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