The GE Smart Bulb Link Starter Kit is the perfect buy for someone who is looking to get into home automation products, but doesn’t know where to start. This kit will give you a taste of what it’s like to jump into the world of “smart home” products at an affordable price.
I picked up my kit off of Amazon and you can find a link to that here. These bulbs are also available in select Home Depot stores.
This kit in particular comes with two smart bulbs, and a link hub (not to be confused with SmartThings or Wink hub). The benefit is in the design and simplicity of the product. All you have to do is plug the link hub into the wall, and download the app.
From there, you follow the onscreen instructions, which includes pictures for you visual learners out there. In a matter of 10-20 minutes you’ll have everything set up and ready to go.
With this kit, you can control the two included bulbs, and many more if you choose to do so, right from your iPhone or Android device.
The system connects through your home Wi-Fi network and Wink’s own servers so you’re able to control the lights whether you are in the living room or 300 miles away. All you need is a connection to the internet from your phone.
If you haven’t watched the video yet (below), I highly encourage you to do so, as you’ll be able to see the product inside and out.
Benefits of the GE smart bulbs
After having them for a couple weeks now, I’m starting to see the real benefits and drawbacks of these bulbs. Here’s what I’ve liked:
I can control the lights from my bed or anywhere else for that matter.
As I mentioned in the video, I don’t have to turn off the light, then stumble through the dark to find my bed. Instead, I can lay in bed and turn the bulbs off from there.
It’s great if I’m coming home late from somewhere and can walk into the house with the lights already on. On the other hand, if I leave the house and have forgotten to turn the lights off that can be fixed with a few clicks on my phone.
The brightness/dimming ability
Instead of having to install a dimmer switch to have a dimming effect, the app allows you to adjust the brightness and intensity of the lights from your smart phone. As it gets later into the evening, I can dim the bulbs, which has ultimately helped me fall asleep faster at night.
Just as they help me fall asleep at night, they help me get up in the morning. The scheduling features allows me to set a specific time for the lights to come on or go off similar to the way I can set an alarm on my iPhone.
The grouping feature isn’t as useful for me as it is for others, but it is nice to know I have it. With this feature, I can group certain bulbs together and then control them from a single button. This would be fantastic for someone with a home theater that has several of these bulbs.
Multiple devices can control the bulbs
Whether I have my iPhone or iPad, I can control the lights from either. This is especially helpful if you have any roommates as you can create one account everyone is logged in on.
Ability to add more
With this kit I have the ability to add more bulbs, whether it’s the A19 size, BR30, or PAR38. I haven’t been able to find a specific number, but I can’t imagine adding more than 8-10 of these throughout an entire household.
Eco-Friendly and Energy Efficient
Remember when fluorescent bulbs came out and people thought they were the most ‘green’ thing ever? That’s what these are now. A 60w equivalent only uses 12w of power, according to General Electric, which will last just short of 23 years if used 3 hours a day.
Drawbacks of the GE Smart Bulbs
Where there are benefits, there are also drawbacks when switching to a new way of doing things.
It takes some time getting used to
When you put these bulbs in and plan to use them exclusively from your phone, you have to get into the habit of turning them on and off from your phone. Yes you can still use the light switch, but then what’s the purpose of having smart bulbs?
There’s a slight delay in turn on time
I’m picky about stuff like this. As you can see in the video, when I hit the button on my phone, there is about a 3-8 second delay for the lights to come on. This may not bother some people, but I figured it should be worth mentioning.
The hub’s LED is very bright
I have the hub set up in my bedroom and the LED on the top of the hub is very bright. It’s a blue color, but seeing that at night is not enjoyable. To fix this, I simply placed some electrical tape over it.
These drawbacks are very small, and I think the benefits definitely outweigh them. I didn’t include it in the list, but sometimes I click on the light, and it will not come on or will not go off. This may be due to the fact my Wi-Fi is absolutely horrible (won’t publicly name my ISP), but I do not see this being the case for most people.
- Brightness: 800 Lumens
- Estimated Yearly Energy Cost: $1.45
- Based on 3 hours per day at $.11 per kilowatt hour.
- Life: 22.8 years
- Based on 3 hours per day
- Light Appearance: 2700 K
- Energy Used: 12 watts
Overall, I like these bulbs, and for the price they’re not that bad. Considering these will realistically last in the 15-20 year range, I think they’re worth the price especially when I’ll be able to have all of the benefits I’ve found. I’ve been interested in home automation for some months now, so the GE smart bulbs seemed like a logical choice so I could get my feet wet. I definitely will be buying more in the future to add to this collection and testing other products too.
Ready to dive into the world of home automation?
Have any questions or comments? Feel free to email me at SmartHomeReview@gmail.com!