Trending November 2023 # Review: Sylvania Homekit Smart+ Full Color Led Bulb Works Without A Hub # Suggested December 2023 # Top 13 Popular

You are reading the article Review: Sylvania Homekit Smart+ Full Color Led Bulb Works Without A Hub updated in November 2023 on the website We hope that the information we have shared is helpful to you. If you find the content interesting and meaningful, please share it with your friends and continue to follow and support us for the latest updates. Suggested December 2023 Review: Sylvania Homekit Smart+ Full Color Led Bulb Works Without A Hub

The go-to HomeKit accessory that the majority of people jump to is lightbulbs. Everyone can use them, and they offer a ton of functionality. That is why products like the Philips Hue system took off. The Sylvania Smart+ LED bulb is a great alternative, because it requires no expensive networked hub, and instead talks directly with your devices.

Subscribe to our Youtube channel

Sylvania is just starting their HomeKit lineup, so at the moment, they only have a standard A19 bulb with an E26 base, which is a lot of letters and numbers to say it works in standard US bulb sockets (and E27 European sockets as well). You do have the option of a white-only or full color bulb, so there is some variety.


The bulb is fairly bright, at 800 lumens. That is roughly what the Philips Hue line can output, depending on the bulb and particular hue of the bulb. Sylvania says there are 16 million color options, though we were unable to fully count all of those, I tend to take their word for it.

Sylvania does offer their own app for your iPhone or iPad, but it is pretty bare bones. It is essentially just there to perform an update to your bulb, but otherwise will leave the heavy lifting to the native Home app (or your favorite third-party option). I really prefer it this way because many third-party apps are terrible. I like how they relegated that to other apps instead of trying to confuse people of which to use.

The Smart+ bulb connects to your device over Bluetooth. This is contrary to others that communicate over Zigbee and require some sort of bridge to connect to your network. This is hugely beneficial because there is no additional hardware (or expenses) you need to incur to start using it. It also increases the response time because you don’t have to connect to the bridge first.

On the downside, that does mean you can’t control the bulb remotely, unless you have a recent iPad or Apple TV within range. Luckily, that is something many people have these day, so it isn’t much of a big deal. It can also be a downside if you planned to put some of these bulbs in remote parts of your home, and you have nothing in range of the Bluetooth.


As with any HomeKit accessory, you have the full power of HomeKit to automate your lights. All of this automation is easy to set up using Apple’s Home app. iOS 11 brings even more capabilities to your smart home.

Here are a few examples of things you can pull of with your new smart lights.

Turn the lights on when the first person arrives home

Turn off when the last person leaves

Turn on with the sunrise or your alarm in the morning

Turn on when the front door is unlocked, or the back door is open

Turn on and off using motion sensors when someone is in the room

Turn on and off while you are away so it appears someone is home

Tie to other lights in your room so they all go on and off together

The biggest downside, which is fairly irrelevant to HomeKit iOS users, is that the bulb doesn’t work with Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa. It is solely accessible via HomeKit and Siri on your iOS device.

Wrapping it up

Lets go ahead and sum up the Sylvania Smart+ bulb into a few pros and cons.


No hub necessary

Color and white options

HomeKit, Siri, and automation support

Bluetooth low energy connection

Remote control via Home hub

Affordable options


No Google Home or Alexa support

Body can get warm after long bouts of use

Needs to be within Bluetooth range of device to be used

Compared to Philips Hue, they offer similar brightness and have as many colors, yet require no hub and are roughly the same price. These are great bulbs if you are looking to add a few to your setup without purchasing a bridge or other extensive lighting system.

Sylvania is set to introduce light strips and power outlets as well to their smart home collection later this year, which should bring it even more in line with their competition. If you’d like to pick them up for yourself, you can find the color bulb for $45, and the white color for $26 over on Amazon.

You're reading Review: Sylvania Homekit Smart+ Full Color Led Bulb Works Without A Hub

Build It: A Smart, Ambient Led

Ambient technology is the current rage for presenting information in a unobtrusive and, sometimes, sublime manner. Information suited for an ambient format ranges from complex number-laden data streams to simple one- or two-digit numbers. The idea here is that you can glean the same information by simply looking at the color of a cube, rather than consulting a sensor’s text output.

By pairing a sensor with this Arduino-based mood cube to input data, you can create a more ambient-like experience:

Ambient Mood Cube: Install an ultrasonic motion detector and have the cube change its color due to your personal proximity. Kinda like a colorful greeting for a close encounter.

Interactive Ambient Art Cube: Add an accelerometer and create a cube that changes its color based on X-Y-Z orientation. Play with it, toss it around; the color changes due to your movements.

Weather Cube: Connect a barometric pressure sensor to the Arduino and program specific color changes for different barometric pressure readings. For example, make high pressure green, low pressure red, rising pressure, blue, and falling pressure yellow.

An approximately two-minute run of a “random” color sequence from the Mood Cube. Dave Prochnow


Time: 1 hour

Cost: $74.99 (battery-powered version)

Difficulty: easy

Parts Power options

USB cable (SparkFun Electronics #CAB-00512; $4.50)

9-volt battery snap connector (Amazon; $0.54)

5.5/2.1 coax plug (Amazon; $1.98)

9-volt battery (Amazon; $3.60)


1. Cut six 2¾-inch squares of self-stick matte paper. Apply each square to one window of the photo frame cube.

2. Plug the BlinkM LED into the analog pins 2-5 of the Arduino USB board.

3. Determine which power option you would like to use. If you select the battery option, solder the 9-volt battery snap connector to the 5.5/2.1 coax plug. Alternatively, you can power your color mood cube through the USB port of your PC.

A DIY 9-volt power supply for the Arduino-based Mood Cube. Dave Prochnow

4. Program the Arduino board with our sketch code (below). This code will occupy approximately 4584 bytes of Arduino’s flash program space.

5. Plug the 9-volt battery into the Arduino board. Move the Arduino power supply selection jumper to the EXT position. Install the board inside the cube. Bask in the vibrant glow of your continually changing color cube.

The Arduino and BlinkM installed inside the photo frame cube. Dave Prochnow

Arduino sketch code

Here is the program used to generate random colors for the BlinkM LED.

_/*======================= * le Color Cube * 26 Feb 08 * Derived from BlinkM code * BlinkM * Arduino Diecimila *======================= */_ _// BlinkM connections to Arduino_ _// PWR - -- gnd -- black -- Analog Out 2_ _// PWR + -- +5V -- red -- Analog Out 3_ _// I2C d -- SDA -- green -- Analog In 4_ _// I2C c -- SCK -- blue -- Analog In 5_ _// Note: This sketch resets the I2C address of the BlinkM._ #include "Wire.h" #include "BlinkM_funcs.h" #define BLINKM_ARDUINO_POWERED 1 _//New BlinkM address_ **int** blinkm_addr = 0x10; _//Color variables; red, green, & blue, will be assign a random value_ **long** red = 0; **long** green = 0; **long** blue = 0; **void** setup() { _//Random noise on Analog Pin 0 will set a random number seed_ randomSeed(analogRead(0)); _ BlinkM_beginWithPower(); BlinkM_setAddress(blinkm_addr); BlinkM_stopScript(blinkm_addr); BlinkM_setFadeSpeed(blinkm_addr,2); } **void** loop() { _//Seed red with a random value_ red = random(257); BlinkM_fadeToRGB(blinkm_addr, red, green, blue); delay(5000); _//Seed green with a random value_ green = random(257); BlinkM_fadeToRGB(blinkm_addr, red, green, blue); delay(3000); _//Seed blue with a random value_ blue = random(257); BlinkM_fadeToRGB(blinkm_addr, red, green, blue); delay(5000); }

Lg Ea73 Ultrawide Led Monitor Review

LG EA73 UltraWide LED Monitor Review

We’ve got our hands on one of LG’s newest in IPS LED display technology here in the LG EA73, one of two such displays with “Ultra Wide” aspect ratio of 21:9 right out of the box. This 29-inch display is made to be of the highest caliber on-desk displays on the market today, offering up 2560 x 1080 pixel resolution and a helpful and (at first) seemingly odd collection of features. Need to connect two different devices to the same monitor and dedicate half the display to each device? This monitor can do that.

This is called Dual-Link Up and it works like a snap. Once you’ve got two devices connected, they’re treated as separate machines for the purpose of aspect ratio, color, and everything from the CPU side of things. Each of the two devices is given half the display, and both react as quick as the computers that connect allow them to.

We’ve not found a whole lot of use cases for this feature, but it’s certainly nice to see it working as well as it does here – connecting NVIDIA SHIELD to one end and a desktop computer to the other has been particularly rewarding for multitasking (or multi-gaming, as it were).

Display-side controls are relatively intuitive, being controlled with touch-sensitive nubs on the right underside of the monitor – here you’ll be able to tell the display basics like sharpness and whether or not to use Dual-Link Up.

Meanwhile onscreen color control is provided by software by the name of True Color Finder. Provided by LG, True Color Finder allows you to do instant calibration (automatic, that is), or tiny tweaks in the realms of Brightness, Color temperature, and Gamma. This system has proven itself to be highly accurate and great for switching between gaming and video, in-office work and everyday web browsing (when the need strikes).

Similar to Dual-Link Up you’ll also have 4-Screen Split. This system allows you to effectively run four separate displays on the same screen, bringing on quick snap-to windows in a variety of configurations. You’ve got 3:2, 1:1, 2:1:1, and several others to work with as well. This is the sort of functionality you don’t realize you want until you’ve actually got it.

On the back of this display you’ll find that you’ve got the ability to roll with MHL, HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI/D, and the green and black ports of Audio In (PC) and H/P for sound. This unit works with 7W speakers built-in, too, so you’ll not need additional 3rd party speaker support right out of the box.

You’ll also find four USB-ins, bringing on another variety of use-case possibilities. You’ll also find the power port here ready for wall connection. This monitor will run you a cool $599.99 USD right this minute – then there’s the LN450W which is essentially the same display with a TV tuner – that’ll run you $649.99 – all yours.

Lifx Color Review: Themes, Themes, And More Themes

LIFX Color (800lm, 9W — 1-pack): $34.99 / £39.99 / €44.99

LIFX Color (800lm, 9W — 2-pack): $64.99 / £69.99

The LIFX Color is a multicolored 9W smart LED that offers up to 800 lumens of brightness with an E26 fitting. It’s the equivalent of a 60W light bulb, and it’s easiest to find in a single pack. However, the European versions of the LIFX Color offer 1,000 lumens of brightness for a little extra kick.

Like quite a few of the most popular smart light bulbs, you won’t need a hub to get the LIFX Color up and running. All you need to do is download the app for Android or iOS and follow the instructions to set up each bulb. The LIFX Color runs exclusively on 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, but you probably won’t have to worry about this setting after your initial setup. Rather, you’ll mostly use the app to establish rooms and schedules for your bulbs and choose new colors.

If you can think of a color, or even a shade of a color, LIFX has it covered.

Speaking of colors, the LIFX Color has them in spades. In fact, the box proudly proclaims “Think of a color… Stop. These have it.” The packaging lists off options like Murple and Taysonberry, which just goes to show that the entire rainbow is at your fingertips. If you prefer to use your voice over your fingertips, the LIFX Color works with Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, and Apple HomeKit.

As for alternatives, LIFX has some steep competition from Kasa Smart, Philips Hue, and Wiz. Both Kasa Smart and Wiz follow the hub-free setup, and they hold the edge on pricing, too. A few Philips Hue bulbs even integrate with the Wiz system so you can build a smart home with multiple brands at once.

What’s good?

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The main draw for LIFX is in the color department, but we’re going to start with the app itself. I found it well designed and easy to navigate. Even the small header image for each group of lights changes to reflect your current color selection. The schedules icon and card-style icon are easy to pick out and jump back to any time you want to adjust your lights.

While the shopping tab might not be the most useful, LIFX has a Discover tab that can help you connect your smart home platforms and dig up some lighting inspiration. It’s not there for smart home veterans so much as rookies, but it helps to get things looking just right.

Colors and temperatures are great, but the LIFX Color really shines with its themes.

Alright, now let’s get to the main event — the colors. LIFX adopted a color wheel aesthetic for its app, which makes it easy to cycle between shades and choose your brightness and intensity. It works the same way for shades of white, and there aren’t really any temperatures off-limits. The LIFX Color kicks off at just 1,500k but you can ramp all the way up to 9,000k, or Blue Ice, as LIFX calls it.

If you can’t decide on a single color, you might want to flip over to the Themes tab and make life interesting. There are 23 options to choose from at the moment, including a few spooky themes such as Boo! LIFX’s themes tend to work best with multiple bulbs, as each one takes on a shade of its own for a dramatic effect.

See also: The best smart home devices

LIFX Color (1-pack)

With millions of colors and no need for a hub, the LIFX Color is hoping to give your smart home a pop. You can set schedules and tap into dynamic themes in any room of your house.

See price at Amazon

Smart Air Purifier Review (Levoit Lv

Levoit LV-PUR131S smart air purifier

The Levoit LV-PUR131S smart air purifier offers effective air filtering, super-quiet operation, and low power consumption. Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and IFTTT support make it effortless to control or you can use the app. Replacement filters are a little expensive but are a small price to pay for improving the quality of the air you breathe.

Air filters are not something I typically think much about. I do, however, always notice how much dust there seems to be in my house and how often I suffer from allergies. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that an air filter can’t hurt, even if I don’t live in a city with particularly bad air pollution. After spending a month with the Levoit LV-PUR131S air filter, I now wish I hadn’t waited so long to get one. This is the Levoit LV-PUR131S smart air purifier review.

What is the Levoit LV-PUR131S?

The Levoit LV-PUR131S is a smart air purifier with a three-stage air filtration system. It comprises a preliminary filter, a HEPA filter, and an activated charcoal filter. The charcoal layer also helps with odor control.

Insanely simple. You pull it out of the box, remove the plastic from the pre-installed filters and turn it on. You can manually control the level of filtration depending on the air pollution on any given day or leave it on automatic.

One thing to note is that as you crank the speed up, the air filter gets louder and you’ll burn through filters faster. Being able to control the strength of the fan is nice but it also has an automatic sensor. It constantly tests the quality of the air and controls the speed of the fan accordingly.

How does it work?

Air filters are pretty simple machines. A fan inside draws air in and passes it through a basic triple-filter system. There’s a pre-filter for capturing larger particles like dust and hair. Next is a HEPA filter for fine particles, bacteria, and allergens. The final step is a charcoal layer which also helps with odor control. The clean air is then vented through a grille on the top.

Levoit says the filters should last between three to six months depending on your usage. An algorithm monitors the airflow through the filters, presumably in concert with the air quality sensors inside. The algorithm uses this information to predict when you’ll need to clean or replace them. You can also pop the back panel off to visually inspect the filters.

Replacement filters are on the higher end of reasonably priced, at $29.99 for the set or $56.99 for a twin pack. You can pick them up on Amazon. If they last you the full six months, you’ll be investing $5/month in clean air.

You can also remove and hand wash your existing filters to prolong their lifespan a little. Keep in mind that there’s little point in scrimping on replacement filters when clean air is your goal. Just be sure to factor in the ongoing cost before committing to this or any air filter.

How noisy is it?

Not very noisy at all. Levoit says it is less than 52dB on its highest setting and 25dB on the default setting. I never felt the need to run it at top speed though, so I never had to put up with it at its loudest. Regardless, it’s still among the quietest air filters around.

The thing is, an air filter isn’t just about cleaning the air you breathe, it’s also about peace of mind. Having an air filter running sets my mind at ease, knowing that I’m doing something to ensure the air at home is clean rather than just hoping it is. I’ve noticed significantly less dust on the window sills and not as much stuff floating around in the early morning light. So it’s a win-win.

The Levoit LV-PUR131S air purifier is a small price to pay for clean air and peace of mind.

At $169.99, the Levoit LV-PUR131S isn’t the cheapest air filter around. But with super quiet, low-energy operation and solid air purification, it’s an investment worth considering. If you know your air quality is particularly poor the replacement filter cost might put you off. If the air in your home isn’t too bad though, this Levoit air filter is a small price to pay for clean air and peace of mind.

Levoit LV-PUR131S smart air purifier

Clean air and peace of mind

The Levoit LV-PUR131S smart air purifier is a voice-controllable air filter that automatically monitors and cleans the air you breathe.

See price at Amazon

Review: Phraseexpress Is Textexpander Without The Subscription

PhraseExpress is a Mac app that does the same thing as TextExpander, which I reviewed back in 2023. Both apps can be thought of as autocorrect on steroids. You type a macro shortcut of your choice, and the app replaces it with a full block of text – with can be multiple paragraphs.

TextExpander has been a game-changer for me, but it’s a subscription app, something about which I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I do appreciate that recurring revenue is good for app developers, and increases the likelihood that an app will continue to be supported and improved. On the other, multiple app subscriptions can easily stack up to a hefty annual amount …

In principle, TextExpander gives you something worthwhile in return for the subscription: cloud storage of all your macros (‘snippets’ in TextExpander terminology) so you can access them on any device. In practice, that’s of limited value as iOS doesn’t support the macros, so the best you can do on an iPhone or iPad is to open the app and manually copy and paste the text.

So when I spotted PhraseExpress, a Mac app which works in the same way as TextExpander but is free for personal use, or offers a one-off cost for commercial use, it seemed worth taking a look.

Why is this type of app useful?

Many of us will need to send the same text relatively frequently. An example is giving visitors our address and directions. I include directions for public transit, cycling and driving, and the whole thing amounts to seven paragraphs. Now I type four characters and the whole thing unfurls.

Four characters, by the way, is a deliberate choice on my part. I wanted macro shortcuts to meet three criteria:

I hit upon a standard approach:

Two memorable characters (eg. for address, the initials of our building)

Followed by two periods: ..

The latter is to guard against accidental triggering. You can use a specific trigger, which defaults to the tab key in PhraseExpress, but I find the double-period approach faster.

I mentioned last time a professional application.

As a tech writer, I get a lot of PR companies emailing me with details of new products and services they’d like me to feature. Like, a lot. The majority of these are either not remotely relevant to me, or simply insufficiently interesting to cover.

The sheer volume of emails would suggest that the only sane way to handle them is simply to delete the ones that don’t interest me – but this creates its own problem. The more persistent PRs will send a second and sometimes a third email ‘just circling back’ to see whether the thing that wasn’t of interest last week has magically become interesting a week later.

I thus tried an experiment of responding to uninteresting ones with a form reply which asks them not to follow-up and gives them a list of bullet-points of things that do and don’t interest me. My jury is still out on whether or not this is a net time-saver, but it has led to the more on-the-ball PRs sending me pitches that address one of my stated interests, so I’m sticking with it for now.

I’m pleased to say this proved a big success, and really has helped manage my email inflow.

Converting from TextExpander is a breeze

If you’re not currently using TextExpander, you can skip this section, but the good news for current TextExpander users is that it literally takes about a minute to export all your existing snippets and then import them into PhraseExpress.

If you have your TextExpander snippets organized into groups, you have to repeat this for each group, but it’s still super-quick.

PhraseExpress in use

TextExpander calls them snippets, PhraseExpress calls them phrases, but I’m just going to call them macros.

If you have your macros set to ‘Execute immediately,’ then using one is as easy as typing the trigger. Otherwise, type the trigger and then hit the tab key.

For example, I buy most of my wine through Naked Wines, and one of the really helpful things about the website is the customer reviews. I prefix all my reviews by explaining my star system:

This is triggered by ‘NW..’ (more on this in a moment).

You can also set PhraseExpress to an autocomplete mode, where it will offer up matching macro text as you type it. I personally find that distracting, so I don’t use that.

One feature I really like is that you can exclude apps. For example, I was able to include one of my triggers (NW..) above without, well, triggering it. I could do this because I’m writing this in Chrome and simply selected Chrome as an excluded app. This would be handy for anyone who is concerned about the possibility of accidental triggering in apps which might require them to type codes, for example.

PhraseExpress also acts as a simple clipboard manager, saving your last ten cuts/copies. You can find these via the menubar icon then Clipboard cache.

One minor irritation: the app’s icon is a red exclamation mark inside a quote shape. It looks very much like a ‘something has gone wrong’ alert when you see it in the dock. You do have the option of hiding it in the dock, and accessing it only from the menubar, but the somewhat eccentric menubar UI means this isn’t very convenient. I really wish they’d switch to a less distracting icon.

The app also isn’t as pretty as TextExpander. It started life as a Windows app, and it shows. But the UI is straightforward, and you’re only looking at it when creating or editing macros, so I don’t personally see this as a big deal.

Pricing and conclusions

If you only want the app for personal use, then it’s free. However, if you use more than ten phrases (as almost anyone would), then it turns into nagware, with messages encouraging you to buy a license. For commercial use, you need a license.

There are three editions:

Standard: $49.95

Professional: $139.95

Enterprise: $219

The price is a one-off fee for a lifetime license. Once you’ve paid it, the current version of the app is yours forever, and it includes any updates within a year.

This compares to $39.96 for a one-year subscription to the cheapest tier of TextExpander (Life Hacker, billed annually). This means you’ll break even after 15 months, and be saving money from month 16 on.

This, to me, makes it a no-brainer … except, there is one other option: Alfred. My colleague Bradley Chambers is a big fan, and the app includes text expansion among its many capabilities. I used to use it back in the dim and distant past, but haven’t done so for many years. I keep thinking I should revisit it, but it’s become one of those Catch-22 things: I’m sure it will save me time, but its very complexity means I’d need to find a decent chunk of time to explore it.

So I think my bottom-line here is, if you have time to get to know Alfred, you’ll probably want to trial that first. That too is free for basic use, and then offers a choice of £29 ($38) for a lifetime license for the current version, or £49 ($64) for lifetime upgrades.

But if all you want is text expansion, PhraseExpress is probably your best bet.

PhraseExpress is free for personal use (but nags you to license it), or $49.95 to buy it – which stops the nagging and allows commercial use.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Update the detailed information about Review: Sylvania Homekit Smart+ Full Color Led Bulb Works Without A Hub on the website. We hope the article's content will meet your needs, and we will regularly update the information to provide you with the fastest and most accurate information. Have a great day!