REVIEWED: oort SmartLED lightbulb

Programmable for up to a week, this home security Bluetooth bulb can be controlled via an app

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You knew this was coming. The idea of controlling your home’s lighting while laying on a beach a couple of continents away may seem abhorrent to most of us, but you can’t criticise the technology at play; networking and the incoming Internet of Things means what you can do from afar is changing fast. However, this thoroughly affordable smart LED bulb is the proof why convenience doesn’t need to mean time-consuming instant access.

Program for a week

The oort SmartLED lightbulb isn’t a time-vampire. Instead of needlessly being accessible and controllable from the other side of the world, it’s simply programmable via Bluetooth, and controlled via an app on a phone. That means that, yes, you can switch the oort SmartLED lightbulb on and off, change its colour, its saturation and brightness, all from the comfort of the sofa. However, that’s gimmickry at its worst, and of no interest to travellers. Where it makes its play, however, is in being programmable for up to a week. There are several light modes, including Flashing, Sleep, Reading, Love, Dance, and the rather confusing Snore (it glows red when someone snores? OK …).

Simple app

The oort app covers a lot of devices (such as WeMo-style smart sockets), but it’s simple enough to use solely with the oort SmartLED lightbulb. After plugging in the bulb (it’s a screw-cap only, and fits E26/E27 light sockets, which is VERY limiting in my house … plus your phone must have Bluetooth 4.0, though all the latest phones do). Then simply select the ‘alarms’ section and add a timer event – the apps ask you to input a start and end time, and an action. That action isn’t limited to simply turning on in a pre-specified colour, so it’s therefore possible to fool the neighbours/burglars into thinking you’re staging a silent disco while abroad. But that’s really all we’re after for basic home security. Plus, it’s an energy-efficient LED light that should last up to 40,000 hours.

Great for short trips

Once you’ve sent the program to the bulb, something that happens automatically, there’s no way of changing it once you’ve more than 20ft away, though neighbours feeding cats can – if they wish – simply switch the light off as normal. This is a clever bulb, but it’s just a bulb. The programmable 7-day schedule makes the oort SmartLED lightbulb worth considering for short trips. But why stop there? By adding a two-week or even two-month long program, the oort SmartLED lightbulb could stretch its usefulness beyond holiday-makers to all types of travellers, and even those with holiday homes. However, the restriction to screw-cap over bayonet (some options would be nice) makes this product theoretically fun and useful, but in practice, unworkable in many homes.

Price as reviewed: £26

Buy the oort SmartLED lightbulb