I’m intrigued by a lot of these new “connected home” devices. My inner geek gets abnormally excited by the idea of being able to control everything (or at least most things) from a smart device or computer. That’s why I was excited when electronics manufacturer 1byone offered to send me one of its Smart LED Bluetooth Light Bulbs.
Unboxing the LED bulb is pretty straightforward. Remove the bulb and the manual is under a cardboard support underneath. The manual’s kinda small but it’s the proper form to fit in this box. Installing the bulb is equally straightforward. It uses an E27-style socket, which is pretty standard in North America and Europe. Just cut power to your light fixture, remove the existing bulb, and replace it with the 1byone bulb.
For testing purposes, I plugged my 1byone bulb into one of the fixtures on my kitchen track light. I then turned the light on at the wall and the 1byone bulb came to life by lighting up and playing a little jingle.
To control the bulb, it’s necessary to download a free mobile app for Android, or in my case, iOS. (The manual has a handy QR code that takes you to an app download page.) Once the app is installed, you’ll need to pair your mobile device with the LED bulb via Bluetooth.
The light bulb controller app has five sections: Connect, Music, Lamp, Off/On, and settings. The Connect section allows you to select the bulb you want to control and the Music section allows you to select music from your device’s onboard media library to stream to the bulb’s built-in speaker. I didn’t test the in-app music section as I had no media stored on my iPad.
You can always turn the bulb on/off from a wall switch but you can also do that from within the app. This is handy if you want to turn the light off but still stream audio to the bulb’s speaker (more on that later).
The LED bulb has a range of available colors to choose from. Tap the “Manual” button and then pick your favorite color. The bulb automatically changes to that color. (My photos don’t do a lot of justice to how the bulb looks when it’s colored. But, at any color, the bulb produces a pleasing, soft light.) The app also offers an “Auto” option that causes the bulb to flash different colors randomly. It’s unclear as to what exactly this is supposed to accomplish.
The app also has a timer that can turn the bulb off at a specific time. The timer is a bit odd, as it’s based on an analog clock. I was testing the bulb just before 10:30AM so I set the timer to 10:30AM and the bulb powered off at the specified time.
Instead of using the app’s included music streamer, I decided instead to use AirPlay to stream audio from a couple different apps to the bulb’s built-in speaker. First, I played some podcasts thru Stitcher. Then, I played some music from YouTube. AirPlay worked flawlessly with the bulb and the overall sound for both purposes was surprisingly good. And LOUD. Cranking the bulb’s volume filled the room with sound.
In the world of connected lighting, the 1byone smart bulb is very much an entry-level device. It doesn’t do much more out of the box than what I’ve shown here. Still, it is a cool gadget and could be good for someone who’d like a fully-featured bulb but doesn’t want to invest in a larger setup. The smart LED bulb can be purchased directly from 1byone for $30.99 or from Amazon for the same price.