1byone Smart LED bulb full review
If the concept of a combined Bluetooth speaker and LED bulb sounds strange to you, you're not alone – we still find it an odd marriage. However, the 1byone isn't the only speaker-bulb we've tested: there's also the MiPow PlayBulb Color and Olixar Light Beats. See also: Best smart lightbulbs you can buy right now
1byone Smart LED bulb review: features and design
Depending on your lamp or shade, you may not even see the bulb once it's fitted, but this is a nice-looking bulb with a chrome-effect grille for the speaker.
It's rated at 300 lumens, which is pretty low, and has a 3W amplifier. The bulb itself uses 6W, so that's a total of just 9W.
Using the free app for iOS or Android you can connect to the bulb, play music and change the colour and brightness. There's also a timer section, but we simply could not figure out how to use it.
Part of the problem is that it's not a 1byone app, and there are different apps for Android and iOS. We mainly tested with the iOS version, but had to wait a couple of weeks for an update following Apple's release of iOS 9 as the app didn't work.
It's a Chinese app with poor English translations, so even with the manual that suffers from the same issue, you're never quite sure what you're doing. On the main tab is a list of all nearby Bluetooth devices - you have to choose BL_05, which is the name of the lamp. Also see: Best cheap Bluetooth speakers 2015/2016.
Once connected you can tap on the Lamp tab and control the colour and brightness. 300 lumens is roughly the output of a 20- or 30W halogen lamp so it's certainly not bright enough to light a room.
It's intended more for mood lighting, and that's handy because the quality of the white light is terrible. Compared to a more expensive colour bulb such as Philips Hue or LIFX, and most dedicated white lamps the 'white' setting is very cold and bluish. There's no easy way to get a warm white hue, and even the oranges and yellows are quite weak in comparison to better quality bulbs.
To play music, just go to the Music tab where you'll find a long list of the music stored on your phone. While the speaker is reasonably loud and can fill an average-size living room, the quality isn't great. A light bulb doesn't make the ideal speaker enclosure, but here it appears the quality of the whole system is mediocre.
If you return to the Lamp tab while music is playing you can tap the Auto button to get the bulb to pulsate along with the music. It's a bit like a disco. Only much quieter.
There's also no way to control the lamp via the internet, nor control two or more together to play music (in synch or in stereo) or match the colour hue of multiple lamps.
Read next: How to make your home a smart home
1byone Smart LED bulb: Specs
- Requires Android 2.3.3 or later
- iOS 7 or later
- LED bulb, 300 lumens, E27 screw fitting