Review: HomeKit-Compatible Smart Light Bulb from Kogeek

Apple's HomeKit has made setting up home automation a simple affair. However, some products still require additional hardware bridges and networking knowledge to implement effectively. Koogeek's Smart Light Bulb ($54.99) attempts to solve those headaches by including all the HomeKit connection hardware in the base of the light bulb itself. Read on to find out if this bulb is smarter than all the rest.

Unlike several other competing lighting automation products that require a separate hardware hub to control its light bulbs (most notably the Philips Hue line), Koogeek has opted to simplify the setup by combining all the communication and control hardware into the light bulb itself. While this does make the bulb larger and heavier than traditional light bulbs, it makes the setup process remarkably easy. Assuming you already have an Apple TV or iPad with HomeKit enabled, the process of connecting the Koogeek Smart Light Bulb to your network is as easy as screwing the bulb into a light socket, powering it on and scanning or typing in the HomeKit ID (labeled on the bulb's base) via the Apple Home app and you're connected.  Way cool.

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The bulb can be controlled via Apple's Home app or Koogeek's own Koogeek Home app. I opted to stick with Apple's Home app since Koogeek's app did not appear to offer any additional benefit and its interface was less attractive compared to Apple's. I also wanted to include the bulb in my other home automation workflows via Apple Home Scenes.
 
In addition to turning on and off the light, you can adjust the bulb's brightness and play with 16 million color choices via sliders in either Apple Home or Koogeek's Home app as well as using Siri voice commands. The highest brightness of the bulb is on par with a traditional moderate light bulb, and while it will not provide bright light for an entire room, two or three in an average size room should be more than adequate. Synchronizing brightness and color can be configured using Scenes in the Home App as well as controlling other Koogeek bulbs throughout the home. 

Final Verdict

The cost of Koogeek's approach is more expensive than competing products using proprietary network hubs, but if you only plan to use two or three bulbs throughout the home, then the price actually averages out compared to the base kits required for other lighting automation solutions. It also offers a less expensive way to experiment and play with home automation before making a serious investment and commitment to more complex and comprehensive home automation options. Overall, the Koogeek Smart Light Bulb is a reasonable and very easy to implement lighting solution that will brighten any room with new, automated glow.

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Mike Riley is a frequent contributor to several technical publications and specializes in emerging technologies and new development trends. Mike was previously employed by RR Donnelley as the company’s Chief Scientist, responsible for determining innovative technical approaches to improve the company’s internal and external content services. Mike also co-hosted Computer Connection, a technology enthusiast show broadcast on Tribune Media's CLTV.