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Witti Notti review: Cool and clever, but it might drive you crazy

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The Good The Notti smart light looks cool and has a wide range of color choices. It adds in extra features for an alarm clock or syncs its light to your music playlists for party mode.

The Bad Blinking notification lights quickly become annoying. The confusing app makes figuring out finer controls a challenge.

The Bottom Line The Notti smart light illuminates every time you get a notification and the incessant blinking quickly becomes annoying. I like it better as a mood light or party enhancer.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.9 Overall

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The Notti smart light ($40 at its current sale price, which converts to about £30 or AU$55) is a phone accessory for iPhone and Android that illuminates when you receive a notification message -- email, a phone call, Facebook and so on. It connects to your phone using Bluetooth and works with all major social networks, flashing the color you've designated whenever a message comes in. So it could be green for Facebook Messenger or purple for email. If you miss a lot of messages, it's something you'd consider for your office or home.

The Notti appealed to me instantly. Its white, angular design reminds me of icebergs, and I love the idea of leaving my phone in my room to charge, or in my purse at work, while the Notti sits on the countertop or on my desk, silently glowing when a message comes in. To be clear, the Notti does not display notifications. You'll still need to look at your phone to see them.

It's a great idea in theory, and the Notti works as promised, even throwing in some extra features that I like -- an alarm setting (the colored light you choose slowly increases intensity to wake you up) and a music mode, in which the light beat-matches a song on your playlist with blinking colors. These extras I like, but what I don't like are the Notti's lit-up notification alerts. In fact, they drive me absolutely nuts.

The problem is information overload. The blinking lights are too distracting, and they don't stop until you respond to the notification on your phone or press a button on the Notti device itself. This is terrible if you're having an ongoing digital conversation. Even when I set the Notti to a soothing mood that gradually changes color along a spectrum, a notification interrupts all that to aggressively blink at you until you open the message. Even when I trimmed down to just one notifying app, it still got old fast.

In addition, the app can be confusing to use, and doesn't always work as expected (e.g. a slider to decrease intensity doesn't seem to work with that rotating spectrum mode). Battery life, however, felt fine. It kept going a couple days before it needed a charge. Another time, I left the Notti fully lit for a full work day. The device can link up to three other Nottis if you want to coordinate party lighting, but if colored lighting's your sole aim, you should also look into a dedicated Philips Hue or Lifx set of LED bulbs.

As a notifications device, the always-blinking Notti is more trouble than it's worth -- but as a portable light show for your dance party playlist, it totally works.

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