I discovered right off that the Color 1000 BR30 performed better on color than the Philips Hue and some other color lights we’ve previously reviewed or that I’ve had a chance to play with, either due to color brightness or larger color palette. Before I get into that, let’s consider how color works on an LED light like this LIFX.
When it comes to color, as mentioned previously, I found the LIFX Color 1000 BR30 to serve up plenty of brightness when doing white. This LIFX flood also seems to be very bright when tackling colors.
Color Brightness works a bit differently with a color LED light like this one, compared to if you had bought an old single color incandescent bulbs.
To fully understand how many lights deal with color, let’s consider how the LIFX light manages to produce both dark and bright colors:
The Color 1000 BR30 is a RGB+W bulb. In addition to the usual RGB (red, green, blue), there’s a separate white led. This really helps out with producing a good, clean, white, but we’ll circle back to that.
When you dial up a pure red – the red LED is firing, while blue, green, and white LEDs are off. That will get you a fully saturated red. Intense! But, it can only get as bright as that single LED is capable. So what happens, with both RGB and RGBW bulbs, is that past a point, to produce brighter reds, basically the light adds white to the red. This is done by either adding equal amounts of blue and green (just less than the amount of red). Or, if the bulb is an RGB+W, firing up the white LED in addition to the red one.
When you have, say, full red (value 255), and add a brightness value of perhaps 50 each of blue and green, basically you end up with what could be measured as 205 of pure red, and 50 of white (combination of 50 red, 50 blue, 50 green). Sounds complicated, but what you end up with is simply more light, but less color saturation.
Analogy: It’s no different than buying a pure red light bulb and putting it in a lamp, and making that the only bulb lit in the room. A nice rich but not overly bright red. Now turn on a white light as well, right next to it. Now the room is still bathed in red lighting, but it’s been diluted by the white. It’s still reddish, but overall brighter, and far less saturated.
OK, that’s a long explanation but it sets up my point.
After a certain point, as you dial up the brightness of red on the LIFX bulb, it becomes less color saturated. By the time you are at maximum brightness (red selected), there’s just a very slight red tint – basically you have white with a warm (red) caste to it. Be aware that you don’t have to drop the brightness very much from maximum for red to become more dominant.
Is this bad – the dilution? No, it’s just part of understanding that when you want great, rich colors, you won’t crank up the brightness setting on the LIFX color bulbs. Also, if you just want a teal blue-green, or a red, or some other color, you probably don’t want it extremely bright, or you may well prefer your color “diluted” with a bit of white. The good news, is you get to decide how much! With the LIFX bulbs, you can dilute any color with more white to be less intense, by simply dialing up what you want on the App.
The sequence in these images of the single red light at different brightnesses gives you a good idea of what I’m trying to explain.
I’m not complaining, because if I want deep rich colors, those are plenty bright even before diluting them as some of the photos indicate.
Bottom line on brightness – whether color or white, this LIFX bulb has to be considered as bright as the typical stupid lights that came before, or at least close enough. That’s not the case with a lot of the competition.
We do not attempt to measure color brightness. It’s doable – I’ve measured CLO (color light output) which I like to call “color lumens” of projectors on our www.projectorreviews.com website, but it doesn’t serve that much purpose here. I’ll stick to subjectively describing brightness, whether color or white.
The LIFX Color 1000 BR30 (and their regular Color 1000) seem to handle the whole color spectrum, without any obvious weaknesses. Obviously when you put select extremely dark settings the color palette will be a bit limited, but not losing any color group (like blue greens). As you approach full brightness, a lot of white is being mixed into any color selected, so they approach becoming white with a slight color tint. But, everywhere in the middle, the LIFX do just great. This player shows a whole range of photos I’ve taken to demonstrate that they can do those challenging blue-greens, for example, that Philips Hue can’t do at all. Check’em out!
LIFX Color 1000 BR30 Color Range
There are color LED lights, and then there are Color LED lights. The original ones, were mostly RGB bulbs. Best known of those are the Philips Hue lights (and their “friends, as Hue calls the whole family of lights). Lisa reviewed those. I’ve seen them in action at her place, in stores, trade show, and at couple of friends homes.
This discussion relates primarily to the practical difference between those “older” RGB bulbs, and the “newer” RGB+W LEDs like this LIFX light. Obviously with the white LED added, you can do a clean white. By adding a touch of other color, you can warm or cool that white so, for example, with the ability to produce different color temps of white, you can setup to do Circadian lighting warmer/softer in the morning and evening, cooler, (more blue, mid-day), that helps us humans wake up, and go to sleep better. That said, LIFX doesn’t have a Circadian feature yet, in their app. I encourage them to add one.
The LIFX bulb definitely is a good bit brighter than Lisa’s Hues when doing white. When doing color, however, there’s a whole story to tell.
It starts with this image of a LIFX light doing a pleasant blue-blue-green – you can call it teal, turquoise, blue-green, green-blue, etc., but what makes this important is that it is part of a whole range of colors that some RGB lights – notably the Hue, simply can’t produce. Lisa, like me, is a fan of teal. She just can’t get her Philips Hue to produce anything in that range so she goes with magentas or other colors.
The Color 1000 BR30, though seems to do a great job reproducing the whole color spectrum.
So, why, with an RGB light like the Hue, is blue-green a problem? The way I’ve heard the story, it’s due to Philips tweaking the design in favor of better whites, at the expense of giving up some part of the spectrum.
That’s great having better whites, but geez! What’s wrong with great white light and also the full color spectrum? We’re big time blue-green fans here at Smarter Home Automation.
We want it all, and so should you!
Again, the Color 1000 BR30 light (and for that matter the standard Color 1000), don’t seem to have any problem with any part of the spectrum.
So, score a big one for the LIFX when it comes to that ability to reproduce the bulk of the color spectrum. Realize, of course, that they are not alone. I’ve reviewed RGBW lights from MagicLight, Zipato and others, and haven’t encountered a real problem with any of those that are RGBW bulbs. But then if a color light has a white LED too, then one doesn’t have to “equalize” the color balance to achieve good white from R, G, and B LEDs.
With four of the LIFX Color 1000’s running in our Dream Home’s living room (great room?) there’s plenty of brightness even when bathing the room in color. That folks, is what it’s all about.
Bottom line on the LIFX Color 1000 smart light bulb’s ability to do great color: Awesome!