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For those who might want their smart lighting to also double as decor, the LIFX Wi-Fi LED Beam is almost like having your own art installation at home. LIFX already makes a great light strip that provides great mood lighting but it’s meant to be hidden behind the back of a table or under the stairs. The LIFX Wi-Fi LED Beam attaches to the walls in a very visible way and can be used as decor — or in this case, smart decor.
This isn’t your average light strip — the pieces are inflexible and don’t bend. The kit includes six Beams, each a foot long, as well as a corner unit that can be used to create a right angle. The Beams are 1.37 inches wide and 0.78 inches thick, so they’re not subtle — they’re supposed to draw attention to themselves.
The Beams supports 16 million colors, which is the same amount that the Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus can emit, but can be programmed to display just one or and an entire range of colors, which can create cool effects and makes the Beam infinitely more interesting.
The Beams do need to be plugged into an outlet to work and that changes the design a little. It’s worth looking into wall-mounted cable clips or using some other cable management system to ensure that the aesthetic of the cable doesn’t ruin the look of the Beams when mounted on a wall.
- 11.8 inches long, 1.37 inches wide, and 0.78 inches thick (each Beam)
- Kit includes six Beams, corner unit, controller, and 3M Command Strips
- Connects through Wi-Fi
- Works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit, and iOS, Android and Windows 10 apps
There are two parts to setting up the LIFX Beams — mounting the Beams and connecting the whole thing to the LIFX app. Mounting is simple, thanks to the fact that the Beams have 3M Command Strips on the back that you just peel and attach to the wall wherever you want. Each Beam connects to the next through magnetic pins on each end, so they snap into place easily. There’s also a corner piece to create right angles if you want.
Connecting the Beam to the app is also easy, though it’s not the fastest or most reliable — we’d give that title to Philips Hue. Once you create an account, connect the lights to its own Wi-Fi network and then connect that to your home Wi-Fi.
What makes it stand out
There are plenty of smart light strips out there, but few are like the LIFX Wi-Fi LED Beam. That’s because other light strips are largely built to be hidden under or behind things — not built to be mounted proudly on a wall like these Beams.
One of the best things about the Beams is that they work in zones. So while you could set a Beam to show one solid color, you can customize up to 10 zones on each Beam to be a different color for infinite combinations. I found that the app was a little buggy during this customization process, but not the worst issue so I just dealt with it.
I also liked that the Beams can be installed in a right angle; the connector piece is perfect for framing furniture, corner of a window, or doorway.
Another nice thing about LIFX lights is that they can be controlled through various smart home ecosystems. While you’ll have to do the bulk of the customization through the LIFX app, you can still control the Beams through Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa just like any other smart light strip or bulb. Being able to turn the lights on and change the brightness with just my voice is always fun.
Cons to consider
As mentioned, the LIFX app can be a little buggy and I found that to be true when you try to customize the lights. A few times when I tried to customize a Beam, it reset itself to a previous one. After a few attempts, it eventually conformed to how I wanted, but it still took a few tries. The app was also a little slow to load some screens, but again, it got there eventually.
The other downside to the Beam kit is the fact that it’s expensive at $130, so it’s not an impulse purchase by any means.
The bottom line
These LIFX Beams is a great way to add some nice accent lighting to your home. Sure, it’s a little expensive and the app is little buggy, but in the end, it gets there. The real reason to think about getting the LIFX Wi-Fi LED Beam is that it’s infinitely customizable and looks great as decor once it’s set up even if you just set each zone to one solic color.
Pros: Looks great, bright, highly customizable, works with range of smart home ecosystems
Cons: Expensive, app is a little buggy