Not long ago we introduced you to SwitchBot, a company that has a bunch of smart devices that work well and are very affordable. The company is well known for their iconic Bot and they introduced a series of smart sensors and automation devices recently. Now they have decided to enter the smart lighting nice with the SwitchBot Color Bulb (E27/B22). While there is not much competition for their other products, the bulb has a bunch of competitors at all sort of prices and with all sort of features. Lets see what their bulb is capable of.
SwitchBot Color Bulb is suitable for being installed anywhere. Chandeliers, table lamps, floor lamps, wall lamps, you name it. Bring color to any corner of your home.
The SwitchBot Color Bulb is one of those products that should be working in any home setup environment you might have. The bulb is connected to your smart network via Wi-Fi, it is compatible with Alexa, Google, Siri, IFTTT, SmartThings and Clova and it does not require a dedicated Hub to function.
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Features and specifications
|Up to 800 lumens
The SwitchBot Color Bulb comes packed in the brand specific white and red packaging. On the front we have a graphical representation of the bulb and on the bottom we have a list of compatible services, which includes pretty much all the big players in the market.
On the back, we have a graphical representation on how the bulb can be integrated in the SwitchBot ecosystem along with the Hub Mini and the Motion and Contact Sensors.
On the sides we have the main features listed and on the bottom we have the technical specifications.
Inside the box we find the bulb and an installation manual.
Design and installation
For this review we received two SwitchBot Color Bulb, which are also available to purchase as a pack for €26.55 on their website. We are going to install the bulb in a classic floor lamp and we will test how it works with the SwitchBot devices (Scenes) and with the Google, Alexa and SmartThings hubs. The bulb is 116 mm in length and 60 mm wide and can fit most of your lighting lamps. The bulb can emit up to 800 lumens at maximum brightness, which is roughly equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb. That is on the same level with most Phillips Hue Bulbs, but not quite as bright as the Yeelight Smart LED Bulb M2.
The setup is quite simple. Once you plugged in the bulb, you just have to open the Switchbot application, which is available on Android and IOS. If you don’t have an account you will need to create one. Once you have the application installed, hit the “+” button and you should have the bulb at the top of the list as an available device. If you don’t you can find it on the list of devices. You must turn the bulb on and within 2 minutes you must add it, otherwise the pairing mode will expire and you will have to start over. Next step is to connect the bulb to your Wi-Fi network. The bulb only accepts 2.4 GHz networks, so keep that in mind when selecting it. We’ve had some problems installing it and took us just about 10 minutes and 4 tries to get it added due to the fact that the software of the bulb was not updated. Once installed I suggest you update the software. My guess is that since the product is very new, not a lot of testing has been done and there are things that still need to be tweaked within the firmware.
Once added, the app displays the current status of the bulb on the main page. If you click on it you have access to the various options the bulb has and they are quite a lot. You have 3 main options: White, Color and Dynamic. For each option you can save 6 color presets, adjust the color temperature and brightness. The white and color tabs are self explanatory. The Dynamic option allows you to set up custom color cycling effects for the bulb. You can choose up to 5 different color-changing modes: fade-in, fade-out, flash, breath, and display mode.
Clicking on the Settings cog will give you access to some neat options and my favorite is the Power Loss Recovery. One of the main thing I am looking for when selecting smart lighting is how the product handles an unexpected power loss and the SwitchBot Color Bulb got me covered as I can select the bulb to return to its previous state or turn on or off and even select proffered presets. Also from this page you can create light groups and add all your SwitchBot bulbs into a group and control them all at once if you wish to do so.
Smart Functions and Routines
Paired up with a SwitchBot Hub, the SwitchBot Color Bulb can be integrated in the Scenes panel. Within the SwitchBot ecosystem, you can take advantage of your other SwitchBot devices and you can create scenes based on them. The most useful scenes for me where to connect the bult with the Motion and Contact Sensor in order to make it react to certain triggers by these sensors. Setting up scenes was not as smooth as I would have wanted them to be as the software takes quite a bit to connect to the bulb’s triggers and at times it just crashes. I think it has something to do with the software (again) and I expect a fix in a later update. After some tries and fails I was able to set up the scenes and integrate the bulb in the routines I wanted. The response time for the bulb is not the best. It takes a couple of seconds for the bulb to light up or turn off once the trigger is met and it has nothing to do with the sensors triggering it, as the response time is instant with other products. So, while the features are neat, the software and responsiveness should be tweaked by the developers.
The SwitchBot Color Bulb integrates with ease with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Samsung SmartThings and it can be voice controlled and integrated into routines.
Colors and Features
The SwitchBot Color Bulb supports 16 million colors, basically any color you can think of. The colors are not as rich as the ones we’ve seen in Yeelight or Philips bulbs, but the options to cycle colors and save custom presets are nice features to have. You can of course control brightness with the app or voice commands and the response time is in line with most of the products. The Google Seamless bulbs are the fastest I’ve seen to respond to voice commands, but this one is doing a decent job as it is in line with Philips for a lot smaller price.
The fact that you don’t need a hub to control the bulb can be a plus to those of you who want to be able to control the lights with your phone, but as mentioned earlier, the app for the bulb is buggy at times. The app also allows you to set timers for the bulb to turn on or off at certain hours, so you don’t really need a hub for that too.
The SwitchBot Color Bulb can also react to music. Using your smartphone as a microphone, the behavior of your lighting can change adhering to the vibrations given from the sound of music. It is a bit of an unconventional way to integrate the function, but it adds to the bulb’s capabilities. You can also set reminders for things like losing track of time when watching TV. Your SwitchBot Color Bulb can flash to remind you of specific events that you set.
With the introduction of the Color Bulb, SwitchBot is entering the smart lighting world. While some of the company’s products are truly game-changers in the smart home ecosystem, the bulb seem like a product that is not yet fully polished or functional. The app is buggy and it can be annoying at times, so it really needs to be addressed for the bulbs to be a real competitor on this segment of the market. The response time is not the best and neither is the richness of the color emitted by the bulb. At this point I would recommend you buy them only if you want to integrate them with the SwitchBot ecosystem, if you already have a Hub and thinking of getting some sensors. If you plan to use the Samsung SmartThings hub, for instance, you have better options on the market even at small price.