Ever since the first “smart” lightbulbs landed I knew I had to get my hands on some. It took me this long, but I finally did pick up some Belkin WeMo LED lights in the form of the WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set which comes with a WeMo Link (basically a hub) and two bulbs. Despite the very steep price (more on that below), it’s hard to see how I could possibly go back to life with “dumb” lightbulbs. Here’s why:
You can control absolutely everything about WeMo smart LED bulbs. That includes turning them on or off manually (via the WeMo app), scheduling them to turn on or off exactly when you’d like and the brightness of the bulbs (which is a big upgrade over static, “old school” lightbulbs).
Before I got my WeMo LED bulbs, I used to control multiple lights in my house with simple (which probably cost around $10 each) “dumb” timers. That was very tedious; especially when it came to changing the timing which happens at least twice a year with daylight savings. With the WeMo app it’s much, much simpler—not to mention more robust thanks to the brightness controls.
Being able to control the brightness of the WeMo bulbs is very satisfying. It presents options where in the past there really weren’t any (aside from on or off). Now the lighting can match the mood or situation. Let’s say I’m watching TV and I want to be able to see better but don’t want to sit in a black room—now I can.
One of the coolest features—which is cool just for being cool, rather than all that useful—is the option to set the lights to fade on or off in conjunction with the rising and setting of the sun.
Getting the WeMo bulbs setup is easy, though not quite as quick and easy as normal bulbs. Basically, you take the bulbs and the Link out of the box, plug the Link into a central outlet in your house (they recommend one that is in a location that gets at least 2 WiFi bars, which you can use your phone to test), screw the bulbs in and switch on the lights, let the Link update it’s software and then go into the WeMo app and add the bulbs. You can give the bulbs names to keep track of them (once you have a bunch installed this is very necessary) and you can assign them locations as well. You can even group lights together so you don’t have to program them all individually.
All in all setup for the first two bulbs (i.e. the WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set) took about 10-15 minutes. I’m sure it will go much faster next round (yes, I plan on getting more) because I won’t have to setup the Link or figure out how the whole setup works.
The app is nice and usable, though it could be a bit prettier (but is certainly more polished than the SkylinkNet security system’s app I recently reviewed). There are basically three views within the app: devices, rules and more. More contains options to configure remote access, the general settings, is the place to add WeMo Links and also contains some useful setup instructions. Oh ya—and you can connect your WeMo devices to your IFTTT account which is VERY cool.
Featured image via Flickr.