The App for the LIFX Color 1000 BR30 and their other three current lights.
This page looks at the Apps’ features, and ecosystems LIFX supports, and that support LIFX. Those include:
- Amazon Echo / Alexa
- SmartThings (by Samsung)
- The Google App
- Logitech (Harmony remote controls)
- Flic (a simple touch button for controlling devices) (think Staples “Easy” button)
- Scout (Alarm) – If alarm goes off, LIFX lights will flash red
- IFTTT (If This, Then That) – a widely supported simple “programming language for interoperability – think DIY – or something your installers might use to add extra capabilities
- Apple HomeKit (announced) Note, HomeKit / Siri will not work with current lights, but LIFX confirms that they will be supporting Apple HomeKit with their next generation of lights.
- Other eco-systems support expected. (I’d like to see LIFX work with Wink, among others)
And as mentioned previously, in my conversation with LIFX in the US, they indicated that they would be supporting Apple HomeKit. Now while some products, such as Philips’ Hue, a Bridge that controls all the lights, also can talk to other eco-systems like Apple HomeKit / Siri, that won’t be the case for LIFX. Their marketing folks tell me that they will, however, support HomeKit in their next generation of lights. So, if you are a big Siri fan (as I am – although as you know I have an Echo as well), don’t worry.
I plan to have more than 3 dozen color capable lights in our “dream home”, not counting outside strip lighting, but, I already realize that some locations really don’t need voice control. For example my outside color lighting, which will continue to primarily work on schedules.
OK, more on working with several of these Eco systems on the next page, for example, what commands you can use with Echo/Alexa to control the lights. But, first let’s take a good look at the LIFX App. We use iOS here primarily but would expect features to be very similar whether using the iOS, Android or Microsoft apps.
Using the LIFX App
As is the case with so many home automation apps, there are a huge number of features and controls to tell you about.
Our solution is to show you screen shots of more than tw0 dozen menus/ settings screens that handle setup and controlling the lights. A few are obvious, but we’ve added captions to share additional information where ever appropriate.
That folks covers a large portion of all the options available. I’d have to say that having worked with more than half dozen different smart light companies so far, the LIFX app is at least as easy to use, and escapable as any. Overall, the feature set provided is excellent, although companies (good ones) are always expanding their app’s abilities, with new things added.
To date we’ve spent a lot of time with smart lights, from big names like Philips with their Hue and friends, and Osram Sylvania’s Lightify products, to the Zipato (Z-wave) RGB+W bulb, to SengLED (white lights so far, but with JBL speakers inside), and lesser known brands including Magic Light, Mi Light, and well received BeOn (still awaiting theirs for review), etc.
It really is hard to beat the app for being both easy, and extremely capable. About the only thing I think is missing (or perhaps I just haven’t found yet) is the ability to use your devices camera to take a picture to create a color based on it. At least a couple of companies offer that. Honestly, it’s a mixed bag feature. If you are shooting just at a color – great, but if shooting a scene, you may be surprised what color is chosen. My points being: a) not a really important feature (more a marketing hype thing to a large degree), and b) most likely LIFX will add a feature like that – under the reasoning of “keeping up with he Joneses” (in this case, the Hue…).
If I really like this app, that’s one thing, what it demonstrates to me, though, is that it manages to both be feature laden, yet very intuitive. It probably is the most intuitive of the lighting apps so far, (definitely I like it better than the Hue’s.) And it makes some of the others look pretty weak, by comparison. (Note Z-wave bulbs – such as the Zipato – don’t have a traditional app, as do Wifi bulbs, Bluetooth lights and most Zigbee bulbs (Hue).
OK, what we have so far in this review, is a very impressive RGB+W smart light, and a great app to control it, plus tons of connectivity to big name ecosystems. We’ll take a closer look at the eco-systems supported and supporting LIFX so far, and finish things up, with a fairly detailed summary. Just one more page to go!