The Sonoff B1 is a “white and color” smart-bulb! Not a lot new here you might say – and certainly, many such bulbs exist. Shortly after I received this lamp back in 2017, I happened to be in Toledo in Spain at a major shopping centre at the 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 started this review on a positive note because the B1 seemed not unreasonable for a colour, WIFI-controlled light. Sonoff themselves sold this lamp for £13.97 or $18. – The very versatile Tasmota ESP8266 software will support this lamp but (update July 2020) when I Tuya-convert, it would NOT convert the version 1 B1 – even with the latest (v2.6) B1 firmware – that’s a shame – but read on – the v2 mat be improved in that respect.
I used the eWeLink 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 APP picks it up and sets it going. All of that took seconds and absolutely anyone could manage it.
So I now had a lamp which could be turned on and off by the mains switch (obviously) but also over WiFi by the APP and Alexa. Redeeming features include white control with brilliance and warm/cool setting – 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.
The lamp powered up at maybe half brilliance and there’s a slider on the APP to control the brilliance. 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
I’ve noticed a section over in the Tasmota docs which simply said that the lamp can be custom programmed and that it can be used with Alexa and Google Assistant – it is easy to take off the glass and therefore get to (with a fine soldering iron or pogo pins) the test points i.e. gnd, 3v3, rx, tx, gpio0).
You can switch the App between white and colour – 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 in the 3 years I’ve had this bulb (very little use), Itead have not fixed this issue – judging my the date on the lamp – they very quickly moved onto the V2 before eventually retiring both models. I’m guessing some but not all the issues I encountered were resolved in the v2 version of the lamp which has more white LEDs but the same 3 RGB LEDs.
Sticking with the APP and V1 lamp for now, in colour mode, there is no intensity control thought the colour light simply is not that bright anyway – not surprising I guess as the lamp is 6w in total and we have what seem to be one each, 1w red, green and blue LEDs in there. In short, the original v1 was not Itead’s best product.
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 any excess heat.
For a kid’s room corner light or a mood light in a small room this is probably an “ok” product, easy to use etc… but lack of brilliance retention when changing modes is annoying but more importantly lack of overall power means the v1 lamp is limited in use – I’m guessing that the v2 is a lot better but now may never find out.
I was hoping to get one of the v2 lamps to compare and test – I do know that the latter has 16 white LEDs as against 12 but in July 2020 the Itead site states that the B1 product is now “retired” so if you get the opportrunity to pick up these lamps cheaply, bear that in mind and at least make sure you go for the v2.