Light bulbs have become so efficient now that you can get a pretty bright one without spending a lot of money. However, there are also some smart bulbs that although cost more, they also bring a lot of features to the table as well.
If you are looking for a smart bulb that you want to install in your home, do read further to find out the best smart light bulbs in 2020. Illuminate your home the way you want it!
Why Smart Light Bulbs?
Before anything else, there is always this question of why you need to install smart light bulbs as opposed to regular LED bulbs. If your purpose of getting a light bulb is just to illuminate your house, you can do away with regular LED bulbs. In fact, you can buy them for a very cheap price and it does the job really well.
However, smart light bulbs provide convenience, as well as features that you might not need right now but are definitely welcome nonetheless.
For instance, such light bulbs would allow you to remotely control them, so even if you’re not at home, you can easily turn them on or off using a compatible mobile device.
You can also set them to turn on depending on specific times (which you can set using a companion app).
There are just a lot of great features that smart light bulbs provide over their regular counterparts and if you have the money, I do recommend getting some for your home.
Anyway, without further ado, here are some of the best in the market:
Best Smart Light Bulbs in 2020
1.Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19
The best smart light bulb kit, in my opinion, is the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 starter kit. At $199, the price is steep but it is warranted. Let me explain.
Included in the kit are 4 smart light bulbs along with a hub that allows you to control so many different parameters of each bulb. This includes color, geofencing, light tunability, and so much more.
It works really well with Smart home technologies such as Google Virtual Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Nest, IFTTT, etc.
Among the smart light bulbs you can find on the market, this starter kit has the most vibrant colors. You can change it to emit any color you want by using its companion app.
Speaking of companion apps, it is vital that you first update its firmware as it helps patch security vulnerabilities, while also adding new features as well.
Although its price tag is definitely one of the most expensive, every dollar you spend on the Philips Hue A19 is worth it.
2.Yeelight Smart LED Color Bulb
Although the Philips Hue is the best light bulb out there, it is quite expensive and not a lot of people are willing to spend that much money on a smart light bulb kit. If you want the budget option, I suggest that you get the Yeelight Smart LED Color Bulb.
At $36 per light bulb, it is quite an appealing option for many users that want to transition to the smart home ecosystem.
It works really well with a lot of different smart ecosystems, including Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Virtual Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, and so much more.
Installation is easy because it doesn’t require a hub at all. The setup process can be done entirely using its application and you will be run through a series of steps to complete the entire thing.
The Yeelight is one of the brightest light bulbs out there and you can program it to turn on or off depending on what time of the day is.
By using its application, you can switch to any type of color that you want. This color tuning feature is great, especially if you are thinking about throwing a party inside your house.
It is worth noting, though, that if you intend to use your iPhone to control the light bulb, you will have to purchase Apple’s HomeKit separately. But, it will work with your other Yeelight products, so the purchase is okay given its flexibility.
3.Sengled Element Classic A19 Kit
Another affordable smart light bulb worth considering is the Sengled Element Classic A19 Kit. This kit contains a smart hub and two light bulbs which is a pretty good deal if you ask me.
Its 800 lumens of brightness is plenty enough and the bulbs can last up to 25,000 hours of operation so you can use them extensively for years and years.
There is also a companion app that you must download to complete the setup process. It is compatible with both Android and iOS ecosystems so there will be no problems with compatibility at all.
Although it can support some smart home services, it is only compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Virtual assistant which may put off some people from buying this kit.
Still, its peak brightness coupled with the fact that you get two smart light bulbs and a hub along with the kit makes this a really good alternative for the budget-conscious.
4.Wyze Bulb A19 4-Pack
All of the previous recommendations allow you to tweak its color to your liking but because you can do that, they are priced higher than other lighting kits. If you are okay with smart light bulbs that only have tunable whites, then the Wyze Bulb 4-pack option is the right one for you.
What does ‘tunable white’ mean? Well, you can use its companion app to change the intensity of white to whatever you like.
For example, you might want cool white in the morning but you also want to set it to a subtler shade during the evening. It doesn’t change to other colors, but this tunability allows for subtle mood lighting, especially during nighttime.
It doesn’t come with a hub which makes installation so much easier. Of course, you want to tune its parameters using its application and it will run you through the entire process to set things up.
Aside from tuning the color temperature, you also have the ability to integrate the light bulbs with your other smart home devices as well.
For instance, if you have security cameras installed, you can place Wyze bulbs near it and have it shine light whenever it detects any movement within the camera’s vicinity.
Seriously, the only downside to this product is the fact that it doesn’t change to any color other than different shades of white and that’s it.
The Wyze Bulb A19 is a full-featured, tunable white kit that is perfect for people that want to get their hands on their first set of smart light bulbs.
5.Sengled Smart WiFi LED
Price: $12 per tunable white bulb, $25 per multi-colored variants
Sengled is a company that prides itself on producing high-quality yet affordable smart light bulbs. The Sengled Smart WiFi LED has a lot to offer and it is priced differently depending on the colors that you want.
If you want a tunable white bulb, you only have to spend $12 for each piece. If you want the multi-colored variant, you need to spend a bit more but not by much at $25 per bulb.
That being said, it works right off the bat which means that you no longer have to rely on a hub. This makes it so much easier to install and all you need to do is tether it using the company’s app and you’re good to go.
Although it does integrate with popular smart home ecosystems, it only supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
It is not as feature-rich as others but it does have a respectable list of things it can do for the price.
6.LIFX A19 1100-Lumen Smart Light Bulb
If you want a really bright smart bulb where you can also tweak its colors (up to 16.8 million colors to choose from), then the LIFX A19 is for you.
It is quite expensive at $49 per bulb but its wealth of features kind of justifies the steep price tag.
Aside from the fact that you can change the bulb’s colors, you can also dim the lights as well using its app.
The bulbs can integrate with all smart home ecosystems so you shouldn’t have a problem using your preferred service.
Because it doesn’t require a hub for operation, installation is a breeze and you can even place it anywhere you like (so long as you have a compatible receptacle).
Its long lifespan of 22.8 years and the fact that it outputs 1,100 lumens of brightness makes this a really good choice for people that want flexibility and smart bulbs that have a rich feature set.
7.Philips Hue Go
If you want a smart light bulb with no prior installation required, then the Philips Hue Go is the ideal one for you.
It is basically a portable light source that you can put anywhere you like. Its brightness peaks at only 300 lumens but it is enough to illuminate one part of your room really well.
You have the option of changing the bulb’s color to your liking and you can just use its companion app for that.
This smart light bulb can also integrate with your other smart home devices as well and it can be controlled using Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Virtual Assistant.
Although they are not actual light bulbs that you have to install yourself, they are filled with smart light bulbs nonetheless.
The Nanoleaf Canvas is the perfect lighting kit if you want to have fun lights anywhere inside your home. The kids will surely love this and so will you!
Included in the kit are nine square panels; each having their own smart light bulbs. Because the bulbs are already pre-installed, you need not worry about setting things up at all. You just place them wherever you want and that’s it.
You can customize and get a hold of its features by integrating it with your preferred smart home technology but you also have the option of using its official app as well.
What I really love is the fact that it can be synchronized with the music that you are playing in your android smartphone or iPhone which is a really nice touch.
The only thing that might deter people from getting this one is the fact that it is one of the most expensive smart lighting kits on the market.
But hey, if you have the money, why not get a fun lighting kit, right?
9.Maz-Tek Plug-in LED Night Light
If you just want an easy to install a smart light bulb with no hassles, this next product is for you. To have this up and running, all you have to do is plug it into an electrical outlet and that’s it.
You can set its parameters by using its physical controls or you can use its application to remotely control its features if that is what you want.
It is rated to last up to 20,000 hours which means that this product will last for many years to come.
This smart lighting kit also has built-in sensors so that it will automatically dim itself down when there is ample lighting and it will also turn itself back up whenever it detects that it is nighttime.
10.Lifx Mini White
Most smart light bulbs would have to be installed in fixtures and pre-built receptacles but what if you want to put it inside your night lamp, for example? If that is the case, the Lifx Mini White is a great choice.
For just $19 per bulb, you get an eco-friendly LED that can last up to 22.8 years with moderate use.
You can use Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant to control the lights, and thanks to its cloud technology, you can even control it even if you are not at home.
It is compatible with both Android and iOS ecosystems so all smartphones should be supported without any problems.
The small form factor of this product ensures that you can easily install it in your favorite lamp.
Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers
Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.
You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.
That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!
For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.
The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.
Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.
With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.
For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.
On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.
At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.
Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.
If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.
This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.
Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.
Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.
To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.
The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.
On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.
It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.
However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.
Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.
The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.
Best Tech Deals in October 2020
Technology is always going to be there to help improve our lives. We at Startechnews will provide you with some of the best tech deals every month and today, I am going to be talking about some of the products that have received good price cuts.
Although Black Friday happens in the same month, most of these deals will not be a part of that special day.
Anyway, here are some of the best tech deals in October:
Best Tech Deals in October
1.Apple iPhone XR
Price: $550 (was $599) @BestBuy
If you are fond of using any devices under the iOS ecosystem, then I highly recommend that you get your hands on this Apple iPhone XR deal.
Yes, I know that this device is dated at this point but its specs, as well as its overall performance, are still really good in this day and age.
What I love about iPhones, in general, is that their Bionic chips outmatch the performance of any flagship Android device released in the same year, so you can rest assured that the XR can still be good for at least 2-3 years from now.
That being said, if you are okay with this, you can get head on over to Best Buy to get yours.
Lastly, if you have an old iPhone, you can also surrender that and get even more discounts as well!
2.Amazon Echo Dot
Price: $39.99 (was $49.99) @Amazon
The Amazon Echo Studio is always going to be the best in terms of Amazon’s line of Bluetooth speakers, but there are people who are okay with the convenience and the form factor of the company’s Echo Dot line.
The Amazon Echo Dot is currently sold for just $39.99 and although it is just a $10 discount, it is still pretty good nonetheless.
One of the reasons why I highly recommend that you get one for yourself is that you can actually use Alexa to help you do a lot of different things.
If you are following some sports teams, for example, you can ask Alexa to search for scores and any news about the teams that you are truly passionate about.
The device’s always-on microphone is there to take your voice commands and Alexa will do the rest for you.
Although it is relatively okay as an audio solution, there is more value when it comes to using its ‘smart’ features.
Price: $275 (was $299) @Amazon
The Nintendo Switch is considered to be one of the company’s best gaming consoles yet. The beauty about this particular game console is that you can either play it as-is (handheld) or you can wire it to your TV via HDMI to enjoy your games at a higher fidelity screen.
This deal is for the new version of the Nintendo Switch that aims to fix the joycon drift issue that has plagued the first version of the console and it has a bigger battery life so that you can play untethered for a longer period of time.
You can buy the discounted Nintendo Switch at Amazon.
4.Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro
Price: $199.95 (was $299.99) @BestBuy
The Beats by Dre Solo Pro is a really good pair of wireless headphones that have active noise canceling. Although you might not like its on-ear design, this pair of cans is still quite comfortable to use for hours.
You get a lot of different color options to choose from and its ergonomic design allows you to use these headphones without any issues.
The Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro currently retails at a discounted price of $199.95 down from $299.99. If you are a fan of the brand or just for good Bluetooth headphones, in general, this is a really good choice.
5.Apple Airpods Pro
Price: $219 (was $249) @Amazon
The Apple Airpods Pro needs no introduction. It is one of the best Bluetooth headphones that you can buy not only for your iPhone but also for your other mobile devices as well.
Part of the reason why so many people love this particular product is due to its active noise-canceling feature. Normally, you can only expect great performance if you are using over-ear headphones, but not the Airpods Pro.
Its active noise-cancellation is really good because it shows you a warning that you shouldn’t enable the feature when you are walking on a busy street. It is really that effective.
It has consistently been compared to other Bluetooth audio solutions on the market, but nothing compares to it unless, of course, if you are talking about high-end over-ear solutions.
If you are interested in getting your hands in an Apple Airpods Pro, you can head over to Amazon to purchase this thing for only $219.
Price: $229 (was $329)
If you want to get your hands on an Android TV that is really good and it doesn’t break the bank, then I suggest that you look at the TCL 43S425.
This is a 43-inch 4K TV that has the famous Roku operating system built-in. That means that you can enjoy a ton of different features, movies, and TV shows without ever having to download any application to do those things.
Although TCL is a relatively new brand in the US, you can rest assured that the build quality and the materials that are used in the making of these television sets are of high-quality.
7.Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Price: $229 (was $279) @Amazon
We considered the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 as one of the best smartwatches for Android and even though it is a year and a half old at this point, it is still pretty good regardless.
You are looking at a smartwatch with great build quality and you can use this no matter what activities you are going to do.
Its battery life is okay, though not that great. The good thing is that you can top this device up quickly and easily using its included charger.
If you want a smartwatch that allows you to track your physical activity really well, get this product as soon as possible.
8.Bose QC 35 II Wireless
Price: $239 (was $349)
Consistently regarded as one of the best Bluetooth headphones for quite some time now, the Bose QC 35 II Wireless is great both in terms of comfort and sound quality.
Although its overall performance does not rival that of the company’s higher-end models, this is not to downplay whatever this thing is offering because it still provides you with some really amazing features- one of which is its award-winning active noise-canceling capability.
You should get the Bose 35 II Wireless right now because you can have the chance to get a limited edition Rose-Gold color if you order this month.
Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade
When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.
There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.
You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.
Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.
Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.
There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.
Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.
The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.
You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).
What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.
Specs and Performance
- CPU: A12 Bionic
- GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB/128GB
- Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
- OS: iPadOS 14
- Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
- Battery: 32.4 Wh
So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.
While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.
Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.
Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games.
Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.
It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.
Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.
However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.
My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.
If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.
The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.
Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.
Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers
Best Tech Deals in October 2020
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