The new LIFX Z light strip from LIFX is the best kind of unnecessary.
I recently got married and with that moved into a new home. The most exciting prospect of the new home was the ability to kit the whole house out with smart stuff. I’m about as acquainted with DIY as Hitler was to children’s parties but I managed to change all of the light fittings to fit my smart bulbs. So now I have a fully LIFX controlled house, a big step up from our original Color 1000 review where I was just rocking the one bulb in a lamp. I can now appreciate the full extent of the LIFX capabilities, scheduling the room lights to come on at sunset, turning the bulbs on at night before we arrive home in the dark and making the lounge lights flash red when someone owes me rent in Monopoly.
The most recent addition to my LIFX eco system is the LIFX Z, a new LED strip light that they released a few months ago as part of their generation 3 product line. I bought the starter kit which comes with the AC power pack and 2 metres of strips, the LED strips are split into 1 metre lengths which join together easily and then a small button on the AC pack connects the strips together extending your strip to the new length. With each 1 metre strip there are 8 customisable colour zones, which allows for an assorted medley of colours.I didn’t have any issues with set up, it was about as simple as the Color 1000 was except instead of screwing in a bulb you just stick the strip to your desired surface. It connects to the app the same way as the bulbs. The app guides you through the set up process, this is done by connecting to the LIFX Z’s own network and then switching the strip over onto your home wifi, the strip is then added to the app and you have access to all of it’s functionality, easy as (still no hub needed!).You can customise the colour of the strip using the colour wheel just like the bulbs, or with the strip comes a new feature, where you select one of the preset colours and essentially paint it onto the strip within the app. This adds the colour in real life (an easy way to waste a few hours). Selecting a theme will add a range of colours automatically to the strip and you can now also animate the theme so the colours will change periodically adding some nice movement to a potentially still and lonely room.
Some people have reported having issues with the LIFX Z’s connectivity, where it would seemingly drop connection often. However, I haven’t had any issues with this and in my testing the strip has always been connected and ready to go, this might be something to bear in mind though when purchasing, depending on the router and connection your experience may differ.
I’ve enjoyed having a new way to light the room in conjunction with my existing bulbs and it’s brilliant having them all inside the same app, LIFX do a great job of creating a seamless eco system.
Being fairly new to the scene, the LIFX Z still has a few areas that could do with a polish up. I found that the colours displayed on the screen don’t quite match up to what the strip itself displays, it also seems as if the strip doesn’t have quite the same colour range as the bulbs do, I’m not sure if that can be fixed with a software update or if that’s just the nature of LED strips.It would also be lovely if you could save the colour combinations you create with the zones, currently they disappear and flip back to a single colour as soon as you try and alter the brightness or saturation. I’d also like to be able to change the preset colours you can paint with, at the moment you’re stuck with the default ones. These are all things however that I’m sure can be improved over time and I don’t doubt from past experience that LIFX will do just that.
Another perhaps poor man’s gripe is that you need to buy the starter kit to get the AC pack, you can’t purchase it separately. With my set up I can only fit one strip in so I have a spare extension knocking about in the box. It would be great if I could buy the AC pack without the strips and then set this extension up in another room.
The LIFX Z is a great way to draw attention to a particular area of a room or make a boring set of cupboards a hang of a lot more interesting. With the ability to change the colours on the fly you can make them new and interesting every day. You definitely don’t need the LIFX Z like you might need the standard bulbs, but it adds another level of customisation and creativity to your set up that’s a little hard to resist. It will also impress your friends and confuse your Nan.
The LIFX Z has me excited about the future of the LIFX range. You can check it out here!
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