The Lightify GardenSpot RGB outdoor LED color lighting system is manufactured by Osram/Sylvania. The Lightify folks sent me one to install in our Dream Home project, for the purposes of reviewing it.
I can tell you from the outset that this is one cool outdoor lighting solution. Even the spouse loves them, so we’re going to be adding some additional runs for other parts of our front and side yard. A top “spouse” score is about as good an endorsement as I can think of, but it receives our Beyond Awesome Award too.
Let’s start with some of the basics. The standard Lightify GardenSpot RGB is a series of 9 pre-wired, small RGB lights with almost a foot and three-quarters spacing between each. There are Apple iOS and Android apps to control the lights.
The overall system is Wifi controlled.
The full string of lights runs 14 feet, but you can add three additional lights to the standard configuration. Osram/Sylvania sells the extra lights separately (more below).
In the US, the GardenSpot RGB version typically sells online for $79 although pricing varies. That price includes the lights, the power supply and attached controller. What is still needed is a “Gateway” The Lightify Gateway typically sells in the low $30s online. We tested the GardenSpot Mini RGB lights using the Lightify Gateway, but it will work with the Bekin WeMo or SmartThings gateways. (All are Zigbee based for you curious DIY types.) The extension kit with three extra lights sells for approximately $29.
The image above shows the GardenSpot RGB as set up along our front walkway. I took this picture shortly after sunset so you can see the lights, and the surroundings before its too dark. (Yes some of these images are a little blurry – hard to hold a camera still in such low light – without a flash.)
Our review will proceed with more overview, including what’s in the box, and some basic “specs.” These lights are about as eco-friendly in terms of power consumption, as one could hope for, we’ll fill you in on that, too. After that we’ll take a serious look at how the app works to control the lights, including how to automate them.
This review has just published. I will do an additional writeup on additional features from time to time as they are added.
The Beyond Awesome award reflects recently added features (based on the publish date of this review). This is the first smart lighting product to receive this award. Without the update, these Lightify outdoor lights would have had to settle for our not quite as enthusiastic Too Cool award. Overall: Great job Lightify!
Lightify Garden Spot RGB Overview
The GardenSpot RGB comes as a complete kit.
In the box:
- The 9 RGB lights themselves, all connected in a 14 foot string, each with a small clear stake attached.
- A Wifi controller that will talk to your home Wifi router so you can use your smartphone, etc.
- A small power brick for the lighting (it has a small transceiver attached to talk to the the controller)
In addition to the wire that the lights are connected to, there’s more than 20 feet of wire to get from the closest light to your AC outlet.
Download the Free iOS App from the Apple App store, or if you are Android, from the Google Play app store.
Each light is connected in a string, separated by approximately 21 inches The lights themselves are very smallish affairs as you can see from one of the photos above. They are mounted to cute little clear stakes that you can put into the ground, but those can be removed if you don’t need them.
Lightify GardenSpot - Brightness and Color
You can pivot each light over a range that is approaching 270 degrees. That is, if you put the stake straight into the ground, you can have the light pointing straight up, pointing down (forward or back), about 45 degrees. I have the ones hitting my walkway pointing down about 35-40 degrees from horizontal.
You can select from the usual 16.7 million colors (24 bit color) and of course white.
As you can see in the diagram above, the Lightify GardenSpot RGB can be controlled from your app, via wifi, but it can also be remotely controlled from the app, via the cloud. The app itself indicates if you are connected to one or both.
That’s not all. This package came from the manufacturer – Osram/Sylvania, and so comes with their provided controller. That’s not your only option. The Belkin WeMo folks also have a controller for them, and they can be controlled via the SmartThings (Z-Wave/Wifi) Hub as well. (The SmartThings Hub is currently being reviewed.)
For a “string” of small lights they are surprisingly bright. Even in the daytime they are bright enough to be easily noticed in our setup, with each light about two inches above the ground.
You can dim them down from maximum brightness of 100% down to 1%. They are extremely Eco-friendly. I was surprised at how much light they can throw while drawing pretty insignificant amounts of electricity. More on that on the next page.
Let me quickly say that the App let’s you save many different color/brightness combinations. I’m not sure what the limit is, but I have about 40 saved! Once I find a color combination I really like, I typically save it at 3 or 4 brightness levels – because my lights are illuminating a walkway and wall that’s right next to the lights, the brightest settings I’m using are typically between 40 and 70 percent of maximum. At other times typically from 8 to 20 percent. Later at night, when no visitors are expected, I’m normally only using 2-8% of max brightness.
“Colorful” Barely Begins to Describe these Outdoor RGB lights
Using the color wheel in the App, I favor staying to the outside of the wheel, which provides the richest colors. As is normal, as you move to the center, you are adding a “white” component. Overall brightness may seem to increase, but the colors aren’t as rich. I’m sure some folks will want more subtle colors (more white) than we are using, but, we haven’t had these installed for very long (a month and change), and we just love the colors you see in these photos. I’m typically changing the colors at whim. Sometimes we’ll leave the same color up for days at a time, sometimes, I’ll whip out my phone, and pick a different color with a couple of taps. We vary the colors on our back patio, so we will often go with the same color palette, front and rear.
One thing you will notice looking at the photos, especially those where I’m lighting up the stone wall, is that you often see two colors not just one. For example, the orange color we like (first image above), is, of course, created from a mix of red and green (more red than green in our setting). Because the red, green and blue LED’s in each light are physically slightly separated, you have areas where they are we’ll blended, and areas where one of the two is dominant. That’s why most of that image is orange but towards the bottom of the wall, there’s a smaller area that’s primarily green. Personally, I think that makes it twice as cool. Of course if you are sticking to primary colors – red, green, or blue, then there’s only one LED working, so no spitting of the colors).
Ah, you just have to love LED lights, if for no other reason than that they are so easy on the electric bill. Thanks to having a Belkin WeMo Insight external wall outlet which tracks how much any device plugged into it draws in terms of power, (that too is being reviewed), I can easily measure how much – really – how little – the GardenSpot RGB is drawing at different brightnesses and colors. We’ll explore all of that on the next page.