Not a lot new here you might say – and certainly, such bulbs exist yesterday. I was in Toledo in Spain at a major shopping centre and just happened to be in Leroy Merlin store – and noticed that not only did they have lamps that on the surface look like this – but also they had LED strip. I also noticed they charged the most horrendous rip-off prices for both.
So I’m starting this review on a positive note because the B1 is not unreasonable for a colour, WIFI-controlled light. Sonoff themselves sell this lamp for £13.97 or $18 – so not bad as far as current day prices go and importantly, the increasingly versatile Tasmota ESP8266 software appears to support this lamp though I’ve not tested that.
So out of the box you simply plug this lamp into the mains and a white light comes on – it is a 6w light so not too powerful – but I was interested to note that it consumes 0.5w on standby – no doubt due to the ESP8266 inside. The bulb incidentally runs from 90v to 250v so it more or less universally usable.
I used the Sonoff App on my Android phone to test the lamp. Simple enough, turn the lamp off and on 3 times in a row with 2 second intervals and it goes into programming mode at which point the phone app picks it up and sets it going. All of that took seconds and absolutely anyone could manage it.
While the adverts claim the bulb is compatible with Alexa and Google, as it is not even mentioned in the supplied instructions, I’ve no idea if the problems I identify here apply also to use with Alexa etc. I suspect they will be.
So I now had a lamp which could be turned on and off by the mains switch (obviously) but also by the APP. Redeeming features include white control with brilliance and warm/cool setting – very important as it all depends where you’d put this light as to whether or not you want a standard warm “filament” feel or a cool “kitchen” look. In common with most people, I HATE cold LED lamps outside of a bathroom. All of that worked well. The lamp powered up at maybe half brilliance and there’s a slider on the APP to control the brilliance. Lovely. At full brightness on cold white, the lamp is quite bright enough to light up a hallway. On the warm setting, disappointingly less less so but still ok, not unhappy.
At this point, I’ve noticed at least one other review which simply says the lamp can be custom programmed and that it can be used with Alexa and Google Assistant – but strangely there’s no detail – why do people only say good things about products when clearly there is more to tell.
You can switch the App between white and colour and white – but amazingly, as you do so, the lamp loses the brightness setting for white, defaulting back to “medium” brilliance. This I think for the partner who isn’t into gadgetry could prove to be very annoying and needs fixing quickly.
But it gets worse – in colour mode, unless I’m missing something there is not intensity control and the colour light simply is not that bright – not surprising I guess as the lamp is 6w in total so at best I’m guessing we have 2w red, green and blue LEDs in there.
There are various controls such as SCENE, schedule and timer modes which you can set up on the App but for me, they are icing on the cake – a rather dim cake.
I can’t fault the look of this device – the heatsink appears large enough to get rid of a lot of heat – which again I don’t really understand as it is only a 6w lamp.
For a kid’s room corner light or a mood light in a not-too-big room this is probably a nice product, easy to use etc… but it would be nice to hear from someone who has used the Tasmota software I linked to above, because right now that lack of brilliance retention when changing modes is annoying but more importantly lack of brightness means this lamp is more limited in use than I was hoping. I regularly make use of RGB LED strip – using my own ESP software. I have 3 metres of strip under my work shelf and can get the same kind of functionality – cool and warm light, full colour etc and I can tell you that I get considerably more brilliance from that, than this new lamp right now.
I hope to hear someone tell me I missed the brilliance control in the colour panel and that it is merely a fluke that the white brightness reverts to medium when flicking between white and colour modes – but until then – this one is relegated to a corner lamp somewhere.