Just when many of us got through transitioning most, if not all, of our incandescent bulbs to far more efficient compact flourescent light (CFL) bulbs, along came practical light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs to put both to shame. In terms of brightness, efficiency, and versatility, LED bulbs can’t be beat, albeit still for a premium price over other bulb types.
In regards to that versatility, LED bulbs can house electronics that allow for remote control of color, brightness, and other functionality. Of course, many of these smart bulbs are often over-engineered or come with sky high price tags. One bulb that does offer a good basic feature set and reasonable price point (only $38.67 on Amazon right now) is the Gunilamp 9.5w Bluetooth LED Smart Light Bulb, which works with an iOS or Android smartphone app or optional remote control (sold separately) to allow adjusting of color, brightness, vividness, and powering on or off.
The bulb itself screws into any standard light socket (E26/E27) and approximates the shape of classic incandescent bulbs, albeit with quite a bit more weight due to the design of the heat sink and the extra bit of electronics. As you can tell from the photos, it’s a stylish design and looks inconspicuous once set into the light socket.
The Gunilamp Pro app is available from either the Apple App Store or Google Play store and works with iOS devices supporting iOS 6.0 or greater, or Android devices supporting Android 4.3 or greater. For the latter, the device must also support Bluetooth 4.0.
From the app, you can easily manually change colors and brightness, set an “alarm” to turn the bulb on at a specific time, or set one of seven preset modes, including Sleep (greenish hue), Reading (yellowish hue), Love (redish hue), and Dance (color cycling). Although it used to be that only iOS users could control up to nine bulbs at the same time, a recent app update for Android now allows for the same functionality.
The app itself, while usable, is not particularly intuitive. Nevertheless, you should still be able to set the bulb exactly the way you want it with just a little bit of experimentation, keeping in mind that if you shut the bulb off from the light switch it will revert to a standard white light when you turn it back on. Note also that for me to get the bulb to work with the app on my Apple iPhone 6 Plus, I had to reboot my phone. After that, it worked fine. On one of my daughter’s Android phones, a Motorola Moto G, I couldn’t get the app to work with the bulb the first time either, but there was no issue after we reinstalled the app.
Here’s a quick Instagram video of the bulb in Dance mode while I play some dance music on the Amazon Echo:
With a lifetime of over 40,000 hours (or approximately 22 years of use), this is one bulb that is designed to last. Combined with the savings on electricity you get with the more efficient LED technology (as well as the ability to make it as dim as you’d like), there’s no denying how much value is packed into this bulb. I genuinely appreciate how bright this bulb can get and how versatile the various color modes are.