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BlueBulb Bluetooth Bulb review

on May 8, 2013 8:00 am

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The BlueBulb Bluetooth Bulb is a Bluetooth enabled LED light bulb which is currently seeking financial backing through the crowdfunding site FundAnything. They’ve already met their goal of $20,000 with over 50 days left in the project. Let’s see if it’s worth your pledges.

Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.

Technical specs

6W
80 Lumen / watt
3500K
Socket types: E27
Typical viewing angle: 130°
Input voltage: 90-240
Bluetooth 4.0
Housing material: aluminium lamp body + plastic cover

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The bulb doesn’t look significantly different than the standard incandescent bulbs we probably all have in our homes (if you haven’t switched over to CFL bulbs yet). It’s about the same size and shape but the Bluetooth Bulb has a large band of black ribs. I’m assuming this is for heat dissipation. Although after burning the bulb for several hours it was barely warm to the touch.

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The bulb doesn’t require any special light fixtures, wires, batteries, etc. It screws easily into a standard socket. Would you believe I only have one lamp in my house that uses regular light bulbs? It’s the floor lamp shown above.

You can turn the bulb on by using the lamp’s switch as you would normally. By default, the bulb will turn on with no color… like a normal white bulb. To change the color, you’ll need to pair the Bluetooth Bulb with an iPhone 4S, 5, iPad 3 or iPad mini. Sorry, there’s no support for Android at this time… Pairing requires that you install a free iOS app and then toggle power to the bulb so it will be discoverable.

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Once paired, you can then manually select a color from over 1 million choices, control the color brightness and the white brightness. The app has power toggle buttons and also a transition button which cycles through all the colors.

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The image above doesn’t do the bulb justice as far as capturing the glowing color. It’s very vivid when you turn the white setting all the way down to nothing.

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The app also has options to set a schedule for waking and sleeping the bulb based on a time and day of the week. These settings aren’t quite what I thought they would be though. It’s basically a way to turn on the bulb if it’s off and/or switch it to a specific color for 5-55 minutes. After the time is completed, the bulb will turn back to the previous color. This can be repeated based on the day of the week. There’s a similar option to sleep the bulb. You can only set 1 wake and 1 sleep event.

There are 3 problems that I noticed with the Bluetooth Bulb. First of all, the bulb isn’t all that bright. Even when set to full bright white, it won’t replace your reading lamp. Of course, that’s probably not why you would buy this bulb in the first place… The second issue is that every time you turn the bulb on, it resets back to white – it doesn’t remember the previous color. The third issue is the most concerning… I had a lot of problems with the Bluetooth connection between the Bluetooth Bulb and my iPad mini. It would constantly disconnect and reconnect. This caused the wake and sleep events to not fire until I turned on the mini, and pressed the connect button on the app. Then the event would immediately launch if I was still in scheduled window of time. Before you ask, no, I wasn’t out of range. My tests were done with the bulb and the iPad mini within less than 10 feet of each other. Sometimes even within 1 foot…

The BlueBulb Bluetooth Bulb is an interesting product that is easy to use and fun to play with, but I’m not sure what an average person would actually do with it… Maybe use it for changeable mood lighting during parties or events. But in a home, it’s just a novelty item. If they can bring down the price, add support for other control devices like Android, and fix the Bluetooth connection problems, I could give it a better recommendation. As it is, I’d say hold on to your money, unless you just love playing around with Bluetooth light bulbs…

 

Product Information

Price:$58 each ($109 for 2)
Manufacturer:BlueBulb
Retailer:FundAnything
Requirements:
  • iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, iPad 3, iPad Mini and iOS app
Pros:
  • Fully customizable light bulb
  • Wake and sleep settings
Cons:
  • No support for Android devices
  • Color resets to white when you toggle the bulb off and on
  • Bluetooth connection constantly dropping

Comments

  1. 1
    Donald Schoengold says:

    Seems like a non-solution looking for a non-existent problem. You can buy a lot of colored bulbs for $60 and change them out as your mood changes.

    Now if the thing actually worked and if it could be attached to your music player so that it changed color in time w the music, it might be more interesting. Or else, if you could hook it up with a stock market service (blue for downturns; red for upturns), they might sell some to the financial types out there.

  2. 2
    Julie says:

    @Donald Those are excellent ideas!

  3. 3
    Steve Braswell says:

    I got two of these to play with. I agree that they would make poor reading or task lamps, but they are certainly bright enough for indirect / ambient lighting. I also noticed the bluetooth connecting / disconnecting, but I haven’t played with any of the events to know how this affects them. I will say that in spite of the connecting / disconnecting, I experienced no lags or delays in controlling the lamps from the app on an iPhone 4S. My biggest hope is that they open up and publish an API for controlling these. What I want to do is tie them to a Raspberry Pi and do what a previous commenter suggested – vary the colors based on events from the internet.

  4. 4
    Drew Baker says:

    Would be cool to have an API, then you can setup different alerts. Have it monitor the power usage of your house, when being energy efficient tint it green, as you start wasting power, starts tinting red. Or blue tints for emails waiting, yellow pulses to remind you to turn off sprinklers. etc.

  5. 5
    Mrmr says:

    Was very interested until they mentioned no support for Android. Not very clever cutting out a huge percentage of phone users.

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