Review: Smart String Lights Get Smarter for 2019 Season

One of the neat things about writing product reviews for iPhone Life for over a decade is getting to see enhanced versions of products I've reviewed in the past. Case in point, Twinkly sent a review unit of its updated Smart LED String Lights (starting at $148.95). As with the previous generation, they are intelligent holiday lights that can be programmed to display solid colors or patterns.

Related: Buyer’s Guide 2019: Smart Home Devices for Safety, Security & Energy Savings


I was impressed with the original lights, but Generation II is even brighter, with whiter whites, for an impressive light show. Twinkly has also released a "gold" edition for a classy display using shades of gold, silver, and bronze. A built-in microphone allows the patterns to respond to music for a hassle-free setup that changes with your holiday music. As before, the lights are IP44 certified and suitable for indoor or outdoor use. You connect to the lights first via Bluetooth, to get them online, then over Wi-Fi. 


After you hang up the lights, the iPhone app uses the camera to "map" the bulb pattern, and that allows for some interesting lighting effects that you can literally draw on-screen. You can buy Twinkly in 250 or 400 light kits, but you can join multiple kits together for a larger display. Or, create a scene with multiple kits that are not physically joined together but synchronized wirelessly. Either way, that can add up, but these lights should last for many holidays and can even get better over time as the app is enhanced. For example, another recent enhancement is Alexa and Google Home support, the lack of which was a criticism I had in my previous review. I love when products get even better!


  • App-controlled LED string lights
  • Support for Alexa and Google Home
  • Multicolor with animations
  • Assorted sizes and can be joined together or synchronized
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Other options besides just tree lights


  • Can get expensive

Final Verdict

Now that the Smart LED String Lights from Twinkly are brighter, and can respond to Alexa or Google Home, you're sure to win the neighborhood holiday lighting contest!

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Author Details

Todd Bernhard's picture

Author Details

Todd Bernhard

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP,,, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.