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Hands-on review: The LIFX Tile's amazing colour combinations

05 Aug 2019
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I have had the LIFX Tile for some time now and must confess that I’ve been having fun with their bulbs – they’ve made my life a lot simpler. 

There are five Tiles in the kit. Each Tile contains 64 colour zones. Multiply that by five and you can create some amazing colour combinations.  The way LIFX Tile responds to the music is customisable too. You can have the lights moving to the beat, or they can set the mood. 

Out of the box: 

The LIFX Tile set includes five tiles, a power adapter, connecting cables to daisy-chain the tiles together, and adhesive strips for affixing them when you’re ready. The instructions suggest you lay the tiles out on the floor first, decide on the layout, and then ensure the cables are nested inside the tiles so they are out of the way. There are slots provided to ensure the cables are neatly tucked away out of sight.

The adhesive strips allow you to fix them to your walls without damaging the wall surface. My only concern is how to reach the stretchy bit should you decide to remove them, given that they are mounted around the centre of each tile. The other thing to remember is they need to be close to a power point, and you will have a cable running from the tiles to the plug. I’m planning a follow-up review in a few weeks’ time, and I’ll be sure to show you how they lift the ambience of my home office.

The LIFX app

I ran into a problem connecting to our home WiFi through an Android-based phone.  Switching to my iPhone, I connected in seconds. The issue seems to be in locating the Tile in WiFi Settings on Android. The fruit-based OS (Apple iOS) did it automatically. The LIFX Tile is available from Apple’s App Store, Google Play and Microsoft stores.

The LIFX app allows you to connect to a whole range of IoT home apps. One of the tiles has a green sticker, so be sure to make that Tile No.1, the one the power cable is affixed to. If you use Apple HomeKit, a setup code is provided for you to scan. You’ll then be able to access it via voice commands. The app also assures you that integration with IFTTT, Google Assistant, Logitech Harmony and Amazon Alexa is possible. Links to even more connections are provided within the app.

Themes

There are so many ways of using the LIFX lights, and I am still barely scratching the surface after a few weeks. One of my favourites at the moment is themes. There is no limit to the ways you can show off your creativity, with so many combinations available.

I see there is mention of a “sharing” option too. LIFX says this is a feature that's coming soon, but it's not available just yet. The feature sounds intriguing: guaranteed endless hours of fun as you create new themes and colour combinations and sharing them with all your friends. 

If you are into socialising and entertaining at home, you can use the LIFX tiles to help set the mood, accompanied by the appropriate background music. I’m already planning an intimate soirée of my own, with Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song setting the tone. It’s sure to be a party pleaser.

All the controls are customisable, and if you get too confused, you can easily reset them back to default. 

LIFX obviously are keen for us to experiment, and I like that. The Strobe function, just visible at the bottom of the illustration, is the only one that requires manual input. It will only function with the user holding the Strobe button down, which is a safety feature that recognises that not all of us take kindly to the Strobe effect.

Like LIFX’s other lighting products, the Tile allows you to control the brilliance of the lighting, and you can dim from 1%– 100%. I have found 1% means I can creep quietly into bed after a late night on my computer, without disturbing my significant other. No more bashed big toes for me! 

LIFX Tile is available through a number of resellers in New Zealand (and internationally), with prices hovering around the NZ$450 mark.