Testing and Usage
Although the Lumen Smart Bulb uses Bluetooth the setup is slightly different than other Bluetooth based devices. Usually one has to activate the Bluetooth device within the settings of the iOS device, this is not the case with the Smart bulb. Simply make sure your IOS device has its Bluetooth turned on, then download the free Lumen app, turn on the Lumen Smart Bulb and then open the app. After a few seconds the app will list any lights connected and pair to the IOS device.
When the Lumen Smart Bulb TL800 is first turned on it emits a white light like any other normal light bulb. To access all of its features one must use the iOS or Android Lumen app. As of the writing of this review the iOS app is more feature pack than the Android version.
The home screen of the Lumen App shows any Lumen Smart Bulb(s) within range of your iOS device. From here you could activate a single light or group as you desire. You can rename the bulbs for easier identification on the edit screen.
On the bottom of this home screen are four icons. The on/off icon will turn on a group of Lumen Smart Bulbs. The About icon provides information on the Lumen while the Add Group icon allows you to pair single bulbs into a set. Finally the AutoLink icon will automatically detect all Lumen Smart Bulbs and automatically link them to a group.
Once a specific light bulb is selected the app will open to the white light screen. From here the contrast of the bulb can be adjusted using the large bulb icon or the preset percentages set at 90%, 70%, 50% or 30%. On the top right the user can switch from the warm white to the colored bulb activation. On the lower right surrounding the ball icon is a virtual power button on the lower left will cause the light to flicker.
Three icons found at the bottom of the app allow the light to flash during incoming phone calls, work as a gentle wake up light and allow the iOS or Android device to turn on the light when it is within proximity of the Lumen Smart Bulb TL800.
Of course the plain warm white light is useful, it’s the 16 million color combinations that make the Lumen Smart Bulb fun and unique. Tapping the RGB icon on the app will turn the plain white light into a colored light of the user’s discretion. A colored disc allows the user to slide their finger to the hue of their choosing.
On the bottom of the RGB screen are seven icons. The two Disco Ball icons will cause the light color to change via a quick strobe or a gradual fade. The strobe option was definitely vertigo inducing for both myself and my daughter who had the light placed in her room; that setting is probably great for a crowded party, but not for lounging around.
The orange and bluish icons are for romance mode and relaxation mode, which yield orange and blue lights. The music icon will open a built in music app which allows the bulb to change colors in rhythm with song being played. However, the music app needs a lot of work as it is does not allow easy navigation of one’s music library and the controls are limited to a cover stream style format.
Another feature of the Lumen app is the ability to flash the light when a phone call comes in. Using the green phone icon will allow the user to choose what color and how quickly it will flash. The blue icon with the antenna is the proximity icon.
My youngest daughter has been using this in her room and has definitely been enjoying it with her friends. The party modes are her favorite although the strobe light is too intense for both of us. She does fall asleep with the colored light at the lowest intensity. Unfortunately there is no timer to shut the Lumen Smart Bulb TL800 down while she is asleep. The proximity setting one way to address this but she usually has her iPod Touch in her room at night. This should be a minor issue to program and hopefully Tabu will add it in a future update.
The colors are bright and vibrant and the app controls work instantaneously. The dome hemisphere shape tends to aim the light forwards from the bulb with less diffusion of light than a regular bulb.
For those using Android devices, the Lumen app is currently less feature rich than it’s iOS brethren. Also, not all devices have Bluetooth 4.0 so be careful that you have that capability before picking up the TL800. I was able to test it with the iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5th generation, Nexus 4 and iPad Air.
The drawback to using Bluetooth for control is other devices can hijack the control of your light if in the TL800’s vicinity. Also you can not control the Smart Bulb remotely if outside Bluetooth range or away from your home