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Christmas lights have been boring for much of modern history. Boring was a welcome respite, however, from the flammable death sticks that used to adorn many Christmas trees. Yes, back in the “olden days” we humans didn’t think attaching small burning candles to tinder-dry evergreens was a bad idea … we thought it was “festive.”

After candles came electric light strings, which were still imperfect since they burned hot, and came in limited colour options. Christmas lights through the latter half of the 1900’s looked largely the same, and they didn’t do much to incorporate themselves into people’s unique personal styles. That’s different now with the introduction of Playbulb String lights.

Playbulb: Smart LED holiday string lights

Playbulb’s LED String lights give you smart img_7537.jpgfunctionality via a Bluetooth connection; you can turn them on or off with your smartphone, adjust colour to dozens of different subtler hues, you can set timers, or use a handful of special effects, all automatically.

 

Mipow Playbulb string is easy to usersz_playbulb_string_2

I’m a fan of the Playbulb line of lighting devices because they’re dead simple to use; plug them in, and download the app. They’re likely already connected by the time you load the app and you’ll be able to see your lights and work with them instantly, without all the fidgety set-up and configuration many other “smart” lights require. You could even give these to older parents or grandparents who aren’t super tech savvy, and they’ll be able to operate them easily—and without crisis phones calls to you for tech support!

These lights come in a string of 10 meters/33 feet, with optional 5 meter extensions sold separately. It’s worth noting you can only go to a max of 66 feet or 20 meters. It’s also good to know these are easy to wind up and store. The cables have bends in them where each bulb meets the wire, so they fold up rather easily and can be wrapped tight with some string or a pipe cleaner. No more tangled nests!

Playbulb folds easily

Smart lights make sense for holidays

Smart Christmas lights make so much sense. I’m often crawling around a pile of gifts, trying to yoga myself into a position where I can reach the outlet behind the Christmas tree to shut it down for the night. By having strings of lights connected to my phone I can control them easily, and without risk of tipping the tree or crushing a gift.

MiPow Playbulb X app

playbulb-app-reflectorI’ve used numerous lights in the Playbulb collection, and they’re all controlled via the Playbulb X app. The app is very user friendly with a simple interface that’s straightforward to operate.  One menu allows you to select different lights, while a second sub-menu gives you choices over colour, brightness and special effects, which include a pulse setting, a rainbow effect, a fade, and flashing, so you can set up your room (or your tree) to twinkle for the holidays.

The PlayBulb app allows you to control dozens of different shades for any of these lights, or recall quick colours with a single touch. You also have dimming and brightening abilities right in the app, and the lights will remember the settings they’re left on.

Playbulb String works indoors or outdoors

After an afternoon of testing, I’m in love; the Playbulb line by Mipow works so well. The Christmas String lights in particular are easy, fun and very versatile since they can be used either indoors or outdoors. You’ll just want to make sure that they’re not too far from the house, as the lights need to be able to communicate with your smartphone via Bluetooth

Colour intensity

I love how easy to use Playbulb lights are, but if I have one complaint, it’s that these lights at times aren’t quite as saturated as some other smart coloured bulbs I’ve tested. There are a lot of different colour options with the String, but I feel like some of the colours, mainly purples, pinks and oranges could be a bit more saturated and brighter. Same with the bulbs. It’s not a major complaint, and not a dealbreaker when evaluating these lights since other colours like red and blue do seem to be strong and bright.

rsz_playbulb_reflector_2Other Playbulb lights

Playbulb has several lights and bulbs in its line. There’s the original Playbulb, which is a light and a speaker in one. There’s Playbulb Reflector Flood light, and Playbulb Spot too, so depending on your lighting needs and the type of fixture you have, you can get coloured smart bulbs almost anywhere in your home. (Other lights in the Playbulb line that are great for every day or can be made festive for the holidays include the versatile Comet light strip, the Sphere portable lamp and the Playbulb candle.)

I tested the Playbulb Reflector in a basement pot light fixture. It works well, but I’d prefer more intense colours and a brighter bulb.

Playbulb Reflector bulb installed.
Playbulb Reflector bulb installed.

After all, I could turn it down dimmer, but when it’s at max brightness and I need more light, I’m hamstrung.

Overall thoughts on Playbulb lights

I really, really like this line of lights. So much so, I own the Sphere, Candle, Comet and Playbulb original. They’re super easy to use, and allow me to decorate my home with light for the holidays. You can bet I’ll be adding the String light to my arsenal next.

Get Playbulb’s LED String lights and other smart lights at Best Buy.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I bought these and they died after three months. Product support from Mipow was poor. the concept was good, the execution was terrible. I don’t recommend these at any price

  2. They are great and all but the fact that the lights don’t alternate colours individually doesn’t make them christmas lights in my opinion. I have these, they are great, and bright, but when the flash or change colour, all the bulbs do at the same time, if they alternated individually, would be a much better decoration piece.

    • That’s a great point, Joel. I never thought about them operating individually. I wonder if that’s something they could do as a software update? You should totally suggest that to the company!

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