Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Lifx after a year

LIFX Mini White (A19) Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb, Dimmable, Warm White, No Hub Required, Works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit and the Google Assistant

WiFi / Reliability

I bought one of these a year ago to see if it would work better in a area I have where RF devices seem to have issues. Hue bulbs and even Z-wave devices out there  Unfortunately the WiFi is so weak in these bulbs that it is no more reliable than the Hue bulb I had in the same place. Note Hue and WiFi operate in the same frequency range so strength of signal is the main deciding factor between them working reliably. Hue tends to operate at shorter distances but works in a mesh so the distance to the next bulb is more important than distance to the hub. How bad you ask. Here is the signal strength stats for it and a Wyze v2, which has the worse WiFi performance of any IP camera I've tried, sitting near each other. The Unifi Outdoor+ AP is less than 20 feet away though a single interior wall.

It also seems these bulbs can occasionally just lose WiFi connection and have to be setup again to get them back. Adding them back is fairly simple but you probably do not want to have deal with doing it without a serious feature to balance that out. Especially since you are paying extra.

Note after adding mine back in today I noticed there was a firmware update so I attempted update the bulb via the Android app. So far it has failed 4 times over 7 hours even with that 92% signal strength. I tried to get the Windows app too but it seems to be hanging at install. That might mean there are Lifx server issues. The bulb does seem to work fine from the Android app but not Homeseer till I also restarted the plugin.


A 4 pack of Hue white bulbs will run you around $40 to $50.

As I write this the Mini White I have is going for $25 each. Even the cheapest used price is $14 so cost is not really a pro.

Oddly however if you want off white, LIFX Mini Day & Dusk (A19) Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb is running a dollar cheaper right now.

I also thought about getting some of their LIFX + (BR30) Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb with Infrared for Night Vision, Adjustable, Multicolor, Dimmable, No Hub Required, Works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant bubs. In 4 packs they can be had for about $60 per. Last year they dropped as low as $46 per in a 4 pack. Still though unless you need color it is a hard sell given IR floods like the Univivi Infrared Illuminator, 850nm 6 LEDs 90 Degree Wide Angle IR Illuminator Night Vision,Waterproof LED Infrared Light IP Camera,CCTV Security Camera go for $23. If you are wanting color outdoor lighting though Lifx is competitive even if you do not need IR illumination. As a white flood / IR combo though a Z-wave switch on regular floods and adding the above IR flood would seem to be the most cost effective and reliable solution. Especially if you already have a home automation hub.

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