Olixar Light Beats Bluetooth Speaker Bulb full review
Olixar's Bluetooth Speaker Bulb might sound like a gimmick, but it's actually really cool, taking mood lighting to a new level - and a fantastic idea for a gift. Read our Olixar Light Beats Bluetooth Speaker Bulb review. See all Smart Home reviews and Bluetooth speaker reviews.
A Bluetooth speaker and a light bulb aren't things you would normally put together, but it's a combination that really works. Olixar's Light Beats Bluetooth Speaker Bulb is a very cool gadget and yet, surprisingly, not unique. There's also the rival Mipow Playbulb, which costs an extra tenner but can additionally change colour to suit your mood. This Olixar (£49 from MobileFun.co.uk) is white and only white. Also see: Philips Hue review.
But we love it. The beauty of pairing light bulb and speaker is that, provided the light is turned on, the speaker is fired up and ready to go. There's no fiddling with buttons, and no need to charge the speaker or plug it into a wall outlet. You just grab your phone or tablet, connect to the Olixar Speaker Bulb over Bluetooth 4.0, and are instantly ready to blare out music, podcasts and audiobooks from the ceiling.
This high up, central position is ideal for rocking out audio without obstruction. Not that this 3W speaker is especially loud, but loud enough - about the right level to create a nice atmosphere and fill the room without annoying those in the flat or room upstairs.
One down side to pairing light bulb and speaker is that with no way to separate the two the speaker is good only as long as is the bulb. (The speaker will still work, but a light bulb that doesn't brighten the room isn't of much use.) That said, Olixar offers a two-year warranty and LED lasts much longer than a traditional incandescent bulb in any case - around 10,000 hours. There are other benefits to LED lighting, too, such as reduced energy consumption and less heat generated. The £49 tag on the Light Beats Bluetooth Speaker Bulb is therefore much better value than it might appear.
The 3W LED is said to kick out enough light to rival a 50W bulb, but its end cap (visible only when the light is on) meant the 46W bulb we replaced did a better job of lighting our room. We can live with that, given its additional functionality, but if you prefer brighter lighting you may find the Olixar more usefully paired with a lamp - especially considering that when used with the supplied bayonet adaptor (the standard connection is an E27 Edison screw type) this otherwise cool-looking white plastic and gold aluminium speaker bulb is rather long.
Unlike many Bluetooth speakers the Olixar does not support handsfree calls. That's a good thing, though: you can hardly hold a private conversation through a light bulb, and it would be impractical to reach up to the ceiling to answer the phone. If a call comes in the music automatically pauses, then resumes when you hang up. But while your ringtone won't play through the speaker, keypad tones and text, email and other notifications do. It sure is a bizarre experience having your light bulb wolf-whistle at you.
The Bluetooth connection is functional over 15m without obstructions. We found the output would break up a little when we took our paired phone into the next room and shut the door, but when used in the same room we couldn't fault it.
Sound emanates from the flower-patterned opening on the light bulb's underside. The audio is clear and without distortion, and seemed to struggle with only the bassiest tracks.
Only one device can pair to the Olixar speaker bulb at a time, but that does mean no-one but me can turn off my 90s megamix. Not unless they want to sit in the dark. We found we could easily switch the Bluetooth connection between our phone and tablet, although you must end the pairing on one device before the Light Beats bulb becomes visible to the other.
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Olixar Light Beats Bluetooth Speaker Bulb: Specs
- 3W LED
- 3W speaker
- Bluetooth 4.0 (15m range without obstructions)
- E27 Edison screw fitting (B22 bayonet adaptor included in the box)
- 2-year warranty