Don’t want to leave the lights on while you’re away? This LED-powered orb can be subtly programmed using an app and left alone to fake your own presence while your travel the globe
It may make some of the most sought-after smartphones in the world, but can emerging Chinese brand Xiaomi make the leap to smart lighting with this circular LED-powered, app-programmed orb?
A potential home security solution for anyone on long trips and wanting to fake their normal lighting habits while away, the Yeelight Bedside Lamp is a cheaper take on the Philips Hue ‘smart’ lights that can be controlled using an app on a phone. As well as changing colours – perhaps not a crucial feature in terms of security – the Yeelight’s brightness can be tweaked, as well as colour temperature and, crucially, when it switches on and off. The latter can be done manually – as can brightness – by swiping a finger across the top of the device, with an app giving full mastery of programming.
Plenty of lumens
At 300 lumens, the Yeelight is plenty bright enough to make your home look occupied while you’re away. We like the design; aluminium around the bottom, with a thick opaque plastic wrap around the illuminated area, and the need to attach the product to the mains constantly won’t worry most users. In use, it’s perhaps brighter at the bottom of the lamp than at the top, but gives-off a smooth, gentle light; it’s the ideal light to have on in a TV room while watching a movie, or in a bedroom.
It’s important not to think of smart lights like the Yeelight as something you can control while you’re on a beach halfway around the world. It is possible to do that using the excellent, simple Yeelight app, but that’s absolutely not what the wireless capability is for; this is about setting-up complex lighting programs via an app. The key feature here is the ‘schedules’ section, which lets you decide when the lamp goes on and off up to five times daily, which is more than enough to fox any thief who happens to be staking-out your home while you’re away. Anything you set can be set to happen on particular days of the week; in theory you could have five complete scenarios that happen during a single week.
There are a few characteristics of the Yeelight that make it seem Chinese, such as the offering of control via the WeChat messaging app (an app VERY popular in China, yet little used elsewhere) and the lack of integration with IFTT commands – something that the rival Philips Hue can certainly offer. But do you really want a rainy day to trigger a different lighting scenario? That’s not important to travellers, who will find the self-explanatory app and well designed Yeelight a useful and decent value lamp for the home, especially when you’re away.
Price as reviewed: UK£56.59/US$69