I’m an adult man who’s experienced his fair share of technology, but still get giddy as a school boy over wirelessly connected devices. Growing up it was RC cars and walkie talkies and now it’s Bluetooth and WiFi connected anything. So needless to say when I learned that Belkin and LIFX made WiFi connected products that would allow me to update my studio apartment easily and cheaply I shivered in delight.
Belkin’s WeMo Insight Switch
My initial plan was to use Belkin’s WeMo Insight Switch to control my window AC unit, but at the time completely forgot that the device plugged into it would have to be in the on position (similar to using The Clapper back in the day). This eliminated the AC unit for me, along with any device, such as the TV, where I would still have to power it on by hand or with a remote. No worries, my one and only lamp would work fine.
Setup was a breeze: plug the switch into the wall and the device (my lamp) into the switch. The rest all takes place on your iPhone once you’ve easily downloaded Belkin’s app. The app gives you full control over your switch(es) allowing you to monitor energy usage and set a timer for them to power on and off. Mine comes on around sunset and shuts off at 10:30pm which I use as a kick to jolt me out of my Netfliz daze. A great device for when you leave town with the timer options as well as the ability to control from anywhere.
Having taken care of my outlet I got a couple LIFX Smartbulbs for the bathroom and kitchen (again, it’s a studio apartment). The install was nearly identical to the Belkin switch: install, power on, and get the app. The app walks you through connecting to your network and you’re ready to begin playing, and play I did.
With my apartment bathed in darkness I put on some Rolling Stones, set both bulbs on the lava lamp setting and sat down on the couch. As the bulbs cycled through the 16 million color options I just sat there laughing and laughing at the absurdity. The absurdity of what it must look like to the buildings across the way and the absurdity of why I actually need this feature, or even to control all my lights from my phone for that matter. I must have spent 30 minutes playing with all the colors, making them strobe and finding the perfect shade of white for when I needed just light bulb. I love these bulbs. I laugh and laugh every time I play with the colors, like a child having keys dangled in front of them.
For about $250 I was able to completely automate all the lights in my apartment, make them all more energy efficient and have a lot of fun with some colorful options. Fire up your Bluetooth connected speakers and you’re in for many relaxing nights ahead.