Who WOULDN'T want a color-changing light bulb?

Mood lighting gets a smart upgrade


The scoop: TikTeck LED light bulb, by Tikteck, about $10.

What is it? It’s an LED light bulb! But more than that, it’s one that provides the user with a rainbow of color options, all controlled by a smartphone or tablet app. The light bulb communicates with the app via Bluetooth, but still lets you connect to other Bluetooth devices at the same time – so you can control the lights and still beam music to a speaker.

Why it’s cool: 16 million different color options! In reality, it’s variations of about seven different colors (red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, navy blue, purple), plus white. The app opens up a color wheel that lets you choose what color you’d like the light bulb to display, as well as brightness and “heat” levels via slider bars.

The fun begins with multiple bulbs – if you decorate a room with these, you can have different color combinations to get a particular mood or effect – the app supports changing colors for all of the bulbs at once, or individual changes. For example, you can turn the bulbs all red and green for a Christmas vibe, or orange for a Halloween party. A timer function lets you program the light to turn on or off depending on time of day (including one at sunset/sunrise), which can be useful in the same way those automatic light timer gadgets work.

My favorite feature (other than making the kids go “oooh!” when I changed the color of the light bulb) is the ability to play a song on my smartphone, and have the light bulb change colors and pulse to the beat of the songs. Like those dancing flower gadgets, the rate of the pulsing depends a lot on the song, but with some trial and error you can create a nightclub effect with the bulb and your music player.

Some caveats: Apart from changing the colors, there’s not much else you can do with this at the moment. The “lab” section of the app includes one game – a balloon popping game that plays a lot like Candy Crush – when you match a bunch of the colored balloons, the light changes to the color of the last group you matched. Meh.

A more useful feature/app would be a setting where the light bulb changes color based on an event (like it blinks red if you get a text message, for example). I think that the company wants the bulb to be part of an “Internet of Things” device, but at the moment it’s not really connected to the Internet (since you can only change the color if you’re within Bluetooth range).

Grade: 3 stars (cute and cheap, buy a bunch of them for the best effects). 

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