May 26, 2022

Gadget of the week

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lb120%ef%bc%88us%ef%bc%891-0-02_1473153089369oThis smart light bulb is easy to set up and cheaper than the competition

By Brandt Ranj, Insider Picks From Business Insider

I’ve gone on record about how much I like having smart light bulbs in my apartment. In fact, they were the first “smart home” accessory I ever bought.

But part of why I like those bulbs is novelty; I can make those bulbs any color I’d like. If you want bulbs that cut out the novelty and focus on solid performance and smarts, you’re better off with these bulbs from TP-Link.

Like all of TP-Link’s smart products, this bulb connects to your phone through their “Kasa” app. The setup process was a matter of screwing the light bulb in, waiting about fifteen seconds, and connecting through the Wi-Fi connection that it made. Once connected, I linked the bulb to my apartment’s Wi-Fi and I was done.

The entire process took about three minutes.

You can’t make TP-Link’s bulbs any funky colors, but you can change how it looks by adjusting its light temperature. If you prefer your white light bulbs to be purely white, you can do that. If you prefer them to be more of an amber, you can do that, too. The Kasa app actually gives you very fine control of this, so you can find the perfect tint that works for you. A further option lets you change the bulb’s temperature over the course of the day to cut down on your late-night blue-light intake.

There’s not a lot more to say about this bulb other than it works — very well, in fact. You can hook it up to an Amazon Echo without needing to plug in a hub, which really impresses me. Alexa support was rock solid; asking to turn on and off the light, which I named “Bathroom Light” worked every time. One thing to be aware of is that there’s a one-second delay between when you flip on your light switch and when the bulb turns on. I wouldn’t have even noticed, but I installed it in a fixture next to two other bulbs and there was a delay between TP Link’s bulb and the others.

Besides not having a hub, the other thing this bulb has going for it is having a more budget-friendly price. Even if you don’t have an Echo or other smart hub, you can control these bulbs from your phone, from anywhere. That comes in handy if you find yourself thinking “did I remember to turn off the lights in the garage?” If you’re looking to start your smart home with a focus on practicality and keeping costs low, these bulbs would be the first product I recommend.

TP-Link LB120 LED Smart Bulb, $34.99, available at Amazon

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