Awkward name aside, the Yeelight Smart Bulb delivers on its promise of a bulb that you can easily control from your phone (or via Google Assistant in my case, with a little less ease). The bulb allows for color changes and varying levels of dimming, which is the main reason I grabbed this.
Setting up your Yeelight Smart Bulb
Getting your Yeelight Smart Bulb up and running is relatively painless. However, for the sake of total transparency, I had to go through the process twice – more on that later. To start, you’ll need to plug in the bulb to wherever you plan on using it, in my case is was the living room lamp. Done? Ok, lets continue.
Once the bulb is plugged in, you need to do a little reset dance (why a new bulb needs a reset, I don’t know) and then the app should be able to find the bulb to continue setup. The rest of this is pretty straightforward – you’ll connect to your wifi network, follow some on screen prompts and then boom, you’re done. The issue I ran into, mentioned earlier, was that my app told me there was a firmware update for the bulb and the process hung up. The fix was to simply reset the bulb and go through setup again, which was easy.
Yeelight Smart Bulb App Functions and Google Assistant Setup
The app itself (available for both iOS and Android) is pretty straightforward. You have the option to control individual bulb or bulbs, set up rooms and create your own scenes (though there are defaults ones included). Scenes are exactly what they sound like – specific light settings for what you’re doing, such as watching a movie or setting the mood for a romantic dinner for one. You can also set timers, which might be helpful to some but with the ability to use the app to turn things on or off, I see little use for it. Oh, and more thing – its a novelty, but you can sync the bulb to flash with the beat of music. Overall, I don’t have many complaints about the app.
Setting up multiple bulbs is pretty straightforward, I figured I’d mention this as well. You can create rooms within the app and then just add bulbs to the room. I have a second bulb on the way that I will put in the overhead outlet above my sink. I plan on having it tied to my living room so that when that light comes on, the kitchen light will come on but be dimly lit. Should give for a nice, warm feeling as I travel room to room.
I’ve been using Google Home for all most automation control (when I’m not using the app) and I now have two of the small home pucks chilling in my house – one for the bedroom and one for the living room. I initially had a hell of a time getting Home to even FIND the Yeelight Smart Bulb but then I actually opened my eyes and discovered that there was a button at the top of the app that clearly said CONNECT YEELIGHT ACCOUNT (or something similar). Once I tapped that, it was as simple as logging into my MI account and connecting it with Google Home.
The final step in getting this all working, was giving the bulb a name within Google Home – I went with “Living Room”. Naming it this way allows me to say things like “Hey Google, dim the living room” or “Hey Google, turn the living room off”. Once I sorted everything out, it all works quite flawlessly.
Performance and Closing Thoughts
Lets get this out of the way, if you want a BRIGHT bulb, this is not for you. I swapped from a 1600 max lumen GE Relax LED (was way too bright for the living room) to the Yeelight Smart Bulb which has a max of 800. It was a shock at first to go from such extremes, but I appreciated the dimmer brightness overall. Like anything tech, you’re mileage will vary.
Being able to change how much yellow or white or even blue in the light is really great and the colors are a fun novelty, as they really pop. I haven’t really used the light much during TV viewing, but I’m expecting it to be a welcome change.
At a price point of $25, its not exactly cheap but since its being used in a room I spend 90% of my day in, the cost of entry was worth it. Coupled with a capable app and Google Assistant support, its an extremely usable appliance. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for an excuse to buy something to tinker around with, but more importantly, someone looking to add total light control to a room in their house.