Bluetooth-enabled LED bulbs and smart plugs are coming out of the woodwork. San Diego-based Satechi is just the latest manufacturer to enter this emerging space. The firm, which sells a broad collection of PC, smartphone, and tablet accessories, launched the Spectrum IQ Bulb and the IQ Plug late last week.
We recently put half a dozen connected, color-tunable LED bulbs through their paces to see how they stacked up. The 8-Watt Spectrum IQ Bulb has a clear advantage over most of those products in at least one department: price. At $35, it is among the most affordable options on the market. The bulb can be controlled via Bluetooth using any Android or iOS device, which eliminates the need for a hub or bridge.
The accompanying mobile app allows you to turn the bulb on or off, alter its brightness, and change the color (up to 16 million colors to choose from). Although the company itself makes no mention of the bulb's lumens output, a couple of users over at Amazon reckon it's no brighter than a 40W incandescent. The IQ Bulb is rated for 25,000 hours of use.
The IQ Plug also has a $35 price tag, but is currently being sold at an introductory price of $30. Designed to fit into any standard AC power socket, it allows you to use your smartphone or tablet to turn whatever device is plugged into it on or off. You can also create schedules for the same. Satechi's app will also report on the power consumption of the device you plug into it, although you'll need to be within 49 feet of the device to control or monitor it.
The story behind the story: Smart luminaries and plugs are great entry points for anyone wanting to jump on the connected-home bandwagon. They are relatively inexpensive, remarkably foolproof, and clearly useful.