The Yeelight LED bulb is a great option if you're looking for an affordable smart lighting solution.
Xiaomi made its name by selling budget phones that offered great value for money, and the company is taking the same approach to connected devices. That's especially true of the $20 Yeelight LED bulbs, which offer a experience similar to that of Hue bulbs at a fraction of the cost.
A great quality product for half the price of a Hue setup.
One of the main selling points about the Yeelight LED bulbs is that they don't require a hub to connect to your Wi-Fi network, unlike Hue. Just hook up the bulbs to an E27 socket, and install the Yeelight app to get started with connecting the bulbs to your Wi-Fi network. The lack of a hub means that to get started with three Yeelight bulbs, you'll have to shell out $60, less than half of the $150 retail price of a Hue starter kit.
Once the initial setup is done, you'll be able to use your phone to control the lights, including setting a scheduler to automatically turn them on or off, adjusting the intensity and brightness of the lights, and much more. There are preset scenes available from the Yeelight app, and you can also pick a color by uploading a photo from your phone's gallery.
You can adjust the colors by sliding left or right in the app, and the intensity by sliding up and down anywhere on the screen. The app also offers options for a mode called Flow, which cycles through a set of colors. Color temperature of the Yeelight bulb ranges from 1700K to 6500K, and you can control multiple lights from the app simultaneously.
The lights get fairly bright as you increase the color temperature, but you'll be able to get that with the standard white variant of the bulbs. The RGB version is all about the colors, and it shines in that regard.
The lights are available on Amazon in the U.S., but they don't officially work in the country — yet. The Yeelight bulbs are designed for 220V outlets, and running them on 110V results in the bulbs not connecting to Wi-Fi. You'll need to get a 110V to 240V converter to get these working in the U.S.
Unfortunately, these bulbs don't official work in North America. Yet.
The Yeelight ecosystem is still in its nascent stages, but it has picked up IFTTT support at the end of last year, and Xiaomi added Alexa integration a few days ago. You'll have to switch to the Singapore server from the Yeelight app to be able to connect to Alexa, but once you do, you should be able to use your Echo or Echo Dot to control the Yeelight bulbs.
Alexa control is limited to turning the lights on and off as well as controlling the brightness. As of now, there's no option to change the color of the lights with your voice. There's also no mention regarding Google Assistant compatibility.
That said, the Yeelight LED bulb costs just $20, and is on sale all week for $17 at GearBest. Its affordability gives it a distinct edge, and the amount of features — even accounting for lack of Assistant support — makes it an enticing option if you're looking to get started with smart home tech.