Today we're taking a closer look at a range of smart lighting options for your home, getting hands-on as we check out all the latest features built-in, and even more that are available via the smart app, finishing up with some google assistant integration!
Looking at the classic style lightbulbs there are a few versions for these. RGB or classic white, Mi or Yee, we'll cover them as a group first and then dive in separately to look at their ideal use scenarios to suit the feature set.
Yeelight General Overview
The Yeelight app is simple, it is really easy to add your lights, to assign them to rooms and play around with them. Picking colours is easy, not as intuitive as the Philips Hue colour wheel, in my opinion, they also have a range of pre-set scenes that are as easy as clicking one button. Brightness control is easy, you can set favourites, you can set a default state, timers, schedules and more. There is a cool colour picker mode that opens up your camera and lets you match your lights to the colour of the thing you selected. Results are not always perfect, but it gets close, and it’s a nice feature.
One of my favourite features is the ‘Flow’ mode, basically, you pick 4 colours and it will flow through those colours. You can change the flow speed and the brightness to help set the scene you want. This is really nice as you can have it flowing through a select range of colours to set the mood you are wanting, much better than just a single consistent colour.
The home screen has three main tabs: Scene, Room, Device. These three views give you different ways of controlling your lights, Hue takes you directly to your rooms, so looking for an individual light is a bit harder. Creating rooms is easy as, just click the plus in the ‘rooms’ tab, click an icon you want, select a name, select which lights you want in that room (it shows if these lights are already in a different room, and asks if you want to move the light to the new room), then click done and there is your new room sitting on the list of rooms. Adding new lights is a piece of cake, click the plus icon in the devices tab, select which type of light you are looking for, then follow the simple instructions.
It is worth noting that when you have a non-colour light in a room, it removes the ability to pick colours or the flow mode for the entire room (though you can go and change the bulbs individually still), I found this really annoying, this is not the same in the Hue system. The Hue system would just try to find a shade of white that went with the colour you picked, more of a warm yellow hue with the warmer colours and more of a cold white with the blues. I found this quite smart and missed that feature when using the Yeelight app.
Yeelight’s RGB Smart Light Bulb is a favourite! With over 16 million colours to choose from, you can set the perfect vibe for any scenario with the tap of a screen (or even a voice command). The new generation of Yeelight Smart LED bulbs is equipped with highly integrated colour beads for evenly mixed light and colours that stand out against competition (such as the Philips Hue bulbs). All while providing great light, the Yeelight Smart LED Bulbs also have lower power consumption than the average light bulb! In fact, this generation has 15% lower power consumption than the previous. It also has the addition of HomeKit compatibility allowing you to link the bulb to the Apple Ecosystem! Not an Apple user? No worries. It also connects with smart home platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant! The 1S LED RGB Lightbulb comes in the popular E27 screw fitting.
Not everyone is a fan of radical colours so if you’re looking for a simpler option, the Yeelight 1S LED Smart Light Bulb is a great choice. Unlike the RGB version, this light bulb only offers one colour: white. However, it comes in a wide range of brightness and tones that you can adjust to your liking. You can choose from a clean cold white for working, a warm glow light for reading or relaxing, and everything in between. Just like its RGB sibling, this Smart Light Bulb has low power consumption so it’ll save you money while enhancing the beauty and functionality of your home. Did you know one of these bulbs has a lifespan of 25,000 hours?
This one is a smart light that simulates the brightness, colour, and even flicker of a candle. Made from high-quality materials this one is ideal for moments that could use a little creative lighting, both inside and outdoors to a certain extent - it's not waterproof so we don't advise taking it camping or for a bath - but for those that enjoy a romantic dinner on the deck this is absolutely perfect.
Yeelight Smart RGB LED Light Strip 1S
The Yeelight Smart RGB 1S Light Strip takes your lighting to a whole new level. Throw one of these bad boys on the back of your desk, under your couch, behind your TV, or along the ceiling for the ultimate ambience and mood. You can adjust the brightness, colour temperature, or select from 16 million colours! If you’re a gamer, the 1S strip will turn your gaming setup into something spectacular as it integrates perfectly with major gaming ecosystems such as Razer Chroma and Overwolf. It enables responsive lighting effects triggered by gaming events! These light strips are 2M long but can be extended up to 10m with Yeelight extension kits. It’s compatibly with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.
Another great option are the night lights, which, thanks to their rechargeable design, are a top option for those looking to add some automatic soft lighting where ever it's needed.
While these aren't smart in the modern sense (no app required) they have sensors that turn the light on when you approach. One charge can give you up to 120 days of use, and charging is as easy as plugging them in with a USB cable. They include both a hook and adhesive strip with removable cover - so you can pop them on the stairs, bathroom, in cupboards, the garage and pretty much anywhere in your home you could use a little more illumination.
Thanks to smart design with that removable plate, you can even pop it off and take in with you on a little late-night journey to raid the fridge, then pop it back into the same spot when you return - perfect!
Check out our video on YouTube below, in which we check out the Yeelight Motion Sensor, trying the various modes and seeing just how good these little lights are!
The Mi colour light is very similar to the Yeelight colour bulb, this is because Yeelight makes the bulbs for Mi. The Mi bulbs have a slightly different design but perform very similar in terms of colours and brightness. The biggest difference in terms of usage is that Mi light takes longer to respond.
If you’re serious about study or late night work, the Mi Home 1S LED Smart Desk Lamp is for you. It provides premium, flicker-free light that can be adjusted to suit your needs. With a single nob (or from the Mi Home app), you can adjust the brightness, lighting mode, and colour temperature. If you want lighting that promotes productivity and alertness, opt for a bright cool light. If you want lighting that’s relaxing or good for reading, opt for a warm yellow light. If you can’t be bothered messing about with various settings, you can simply choose from one of four lighting modes. These include reading mode, computer mode, child mode, and focus mode. The lamp will provide even illumination over a wide area making it the perfect desk lamp.
Are you wanting a nice light to have sitting on your bedside table? This attractive lamp is the perfect thing to have beside your bed, offering a range of light options for whatever mood you want. Use the reading mode while you relax with a book, the TV mode while binge-watching your favourite shows, perhaps the candle or romance modes for a romantic encounter... Whatever mood you want to set, this lamp has your back. Want to be woken up at a certain time but hate the rude awakenings from your alarm? Set the sunrise mode to gently awaken you with a warm glow set to replicate the sunrise, giving you a great start to your day without waking up those in adjacent rooms. Did I mention that it has awesome touch controls too?
Looking for something same, same but different? The Yeelight Bedside Lamp D2 comes in a different shape and size and has some additional features. To turn on the D2, all you need is to double-tap on the lamp. Because of its short round size, it provides a nice all-rounder light that radiates from every angle. The lamp is fully adjustable to different brightnesses and colour temperatures so you can set the perfect ambience for your room. For a little more fun, turn on the flowing colour mode where the lamp will automatically cycle through different colours and ambiences. The Yeelight Bedside Lamp D2 is compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.
Mix-Matching the Mi and the Yee?
In testing we found the Yeelight app to be superior because all the Yeelight and Mi lights showed up there no problems, but the Yeelight lights didn’t seem to show up on the Mi app.
However, as mentioned earlier in the Yeelight section, the Mi Home app is a far more complete app, and it works with the rest of your Mi Ecosystem products to allow for a much deeper smart home experience, so if you have the extra products or have any desire to expand to other smart home products to help with cooking, cleaning, security, health and fitness and more, then this is the app to use - and if you go full Mi lights it's a non-issue anyway!
We all love the Google Home Mini, it’s so simple, yet so effective. With this I don’t have to find my phone to change the lights, I just call “Hey Google, turn on the lights”, “Hey Google, set the lights to Movie mode”, “Hey Google, set the lounge lights to romance”, “Hey Google, dim the lights”.
The voice controls for the Yeelight and Mi lights are really handy. You can get it to turn on and off the lights, change the colour, scene, brightness and more with simply your voice.
You can add multiple smart devices together in the app for more smart control, linking the Yeelight bulbs and my Mi lights all to the Google Home app, assign them as needed to the bedroom or lounge zones. You can do some really cool things with this and other smart devices, such as the Google Chromecast - such as asking Google to play my favourite show on Netflix set my lounge lights to movie mode, while you're settling down with snacks and a drink!
Having this all set up is now it's easier (and cheaper) than ever before - and the feeling you'll get each time you use it is sure to bring a smile to your face.