Yeelight, part of Xiaomi’s ecosystem, has made a name for itself over the years with products that match its more illustrious rivals in terms of features, but at a significantly lesser cost. One example that springs to mind are the GoPro action camera rivals. Now, Philips Hue smart lighting is in the line of attack, with the new smart lighting line-up. This includes the Yeelight Smart LED colour bulb (Rs1,999), the Smart LED tunable white bulb (Rs1,799) and the Aurora Lightstrip Plus (Rs3,599) and the Candela Lamp (Rs4,499).
Now for the price advantage. The Yeelight Smart LED colour bulb is 10-watts, and its alternative in the world of Philips Hue is priced around Rs2,795. Then there is the 2-meter long Aurora Lightstrip Plus, which finds competition from the 2-meter Hue Lightstrip base which is priced around Rs5,900. There you go then, straight up more affordable, and yet matching the Hue lighting in terms of specifications and features.
For starters, the setup of the Yeelight products is simpler too. Unlike Philips Hue, the Yeelight smart lights don’t need a base hub, which would plug into your home Wi-Fi and then allow the bulbs to connect with each other as a mesh. You simply need to install the Yeelight bulbs or connect the other smart lighting products to power, and allow the Yeelight app (free for Android and iOS) to detect these and proceed to connect them with the home Wi-Fi network. The lack of a hub means the Yeelight smart lights are easier to install. And one lesser complicated hardware as a part of the chain is also one reason why the Yeelight bulbs are less expensive.
The bulbs come with the E27 type screw base, by default, and if you want to install these in a light fixture that has the older pin holder (also known as B22), you will need to buy a separate adapter. That said, these adapters are easily available on various online shopping websites, and quite reasonably priced for a pack.
The Yeelight app itself is quite slick to use, and you get fine control options for every single light bulb or smart light you may have set up in your home. The biggest attraction of smart lighting is the ability to control its usage without having to get up and go to a physical switch to turn it on or off. As long as the Yeelight bulbs are connected to the home Wi-Fi network, you will have that luxury to the fullest. Apart from that, it is easy to control and alter the illumination intensity. If you are using the colour bulb, there is fine control over what colour want to bathe the room with—you can choose between the recommended mode, the flow mode which automatically keeps switching between different colours at the predefined speed and illumination level or manually control the exact hue.
The really helpful feature is called ‘Rooms’, which can be used to club together multiple bulbs that you may have installed in the same room—easier to turn them on or off, or simply set the colour on each.
In terms of how well the Yeelight bulbs light up the room, we have absolutely no complaints. These bulbs have a rather wide colour temperature range of 1700k-6500k, which means depending on your preference, you can switch between cool and warm colour tones. The bulbs are rated at 800 lumens, which is quite enough to keep a room well lit as well.
The genuine barometer of smartness these days is whether a gadget or accessory can be connected and controlled with a smart speaker. The Yeelight lighting ticks off that box on the checklist too—these work with Amazon’s Alexa based Echo speakers and also with the Google Assistant based Home speakers. You need to enable the Yeelight skill in your Alexa account, for instance, and then simply use voice to control the lighting. The commands that work at the moment include switching the lighting on or off, change brightness or basic changes in lighting colour.
The fact remains that smart lights have always been at the cusp of breaking through, but never really became a standard fixture in our homes. Price was one reason, and the complexity of use was a stumbling block for some users. The Yeelight lighting’s comparatively affordable price tags take care of the first debate. In terms of simplicity, these are not exactly the most complex to set up and manage either. The fact that you can call out to your Amazon Echo smart speaker to turn these on or off, just adds another element of convenience along the way.