Ring made a reputation for itself with its video doorbells after which expanded into safety cameras, whole-home alarm methods, and even panorama lighting. Now, the corporate is taking its first tentative steps in conventional sensible lighting.
Ring is beginning with two very fundamental LED bulbs that require the identical bridge to connect with your Wi-Fi community that the corporate’s panorama lighting makes use of. There’s the $15 indoor Ring A19 Smart LED Bulb reviewed right here, and a $25 weatherproof PAR38 bulb (you possibly can read our opinion of Ring’s PAR38 bulb here). Both bulbs produce white gentle solely and have mounted colour temperatures.
The Ring A19 bulb boasts a few of the similar performance we’ve seen in sensible lights from the likes of Philips Hue, WiZ, LIFX, and others, together with gentle grouping and scheduling, and it additionally works properly with motion-sensing units within the ever-growing Ring ecosystem. But this dimmable and Alexa-enabled bulb lacks such commonplace sensible lighting options as scenes and a trip mode.
This evaluation is a part of TechHive’s protection of the best smart bulbs, the place you’ll discover opinions of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you must think about when purchasing.
Design and specs
Rated to last as long as 25,000 hours, the A19 Smart LED Bulb is mainly a garden-variety family bulb with an E26 base that matches in commonplace gentle sockets.
The Ring A19 bulb is dimmable (it produces 800 lumens at full brightness, which is roughly equal to a 60-watt bulb), however you possibly can’t change the bulb’s colour temperature, which has been tuned to a “neutral white” 3,500 Kelvin. That’s a far cry from the look of a 5,000Ok fluorescent bulb, however 3,500Ok is noticeably cooler than the two,500-ish Kelvin “warm white” bulbs that you just’ll typically discover in bedrooms and dwelling rooms. (I examined the bulb in my spouse’s bedside lamp and he or she instantly noticed the distinction.) The Ring A19 will most likely look greatest in a desk lamp or an enclosed out of doors fixture, though it may additionally work in a living area with an earthy color scheme.
Speaking of out of doors, the Ring A19 Smart LED Bulb is designed for each indoor and out of doors use, however Ring warns towards utilizing it in a location “where [it’s] directly exposed to water.” If you do wish to use the bulb open air, it ought to be put in in a “protected” location, resembling underneath an overhang or in an outside fixture.
Getting the Ring A19 Smart LED Bulb up and working is a straightforward course of, however do not forget that you’ll want a Ring Bridge to reap the benefits of its sensible options, resembling dimming, scheduling, gentle grouping, and so forth. It’s additionally value noting right here thathe Ring Bridge is proscribed to supporting 50 Ring lighting units, and you’ll’t deploy multiple.
If you have already got a Ring Bridge in your house, you’re all set; in any other case, you’ll must consider the price of the bridge when contemplating your funding. While the Ring Bridge prices $50 as a stand-alone product, you can too get it as a part of a bundle with different Ring units. The Ring A19 bulb two-pack starter kit, which inclues the bridge, was promoting for $60 as of this writing. There’s additionally a fair cheaper different for these with out a Ring Bridge: choosing a unique sensible bulb that doesn’t require a bridge in any respect, such because the Wi-Fi bulbs from LiFX and WiZ, or Hue’s newer hub-optional bulbs that assist each Bluetooth and Zigbee.
Once you’ve got the Ring Bridge put in, organising the Ring A19 bulb is (or was for me, no less than) a easy and painless operation. You merely open the Ring cellular app, faucet the menu button, then faucet Set Up a Device and decide the Smart Lighting class. You then scan a QR code on the bulb itself or the field it got here in, and (assuming you’ve screwed the bulb in and turned it on), the app will uncover the bulb, set up any obtainable updates, and immediate you so as to add the bulb to a room and title it. The entire course of went easily for me, and I had the bulb up and working in a couple of minutes.
Features, app assist, and sensible dwelling integrations
While the Ring app affords all the fundamental performance you’d count on for a dimmable white sensible bulb, there are just a few lacking options in comparison with what you’ll see in additional developed sensible lighting methods, resembling these provided by the price range WiZ line or Philips Hue, the 800-pound gorilla of sensible lighting.
On the plus aspect, the Ring app allows you to arrange gentle teams that permit you to management all of the lights in a gaggle on the similar time. If you group the A19 bulb with movement sensor-equipped Ring lights (such because the Floodlight Wired or Floodlight Battery), you possibly can set it (together with every other lights within the group) to activate when movement is detected. You can even schedule occasions when movement sensing is disabled, “snooze” movement sensing for as much as 4 hours, and set how lengthy the lights within the group keep on after movement is detected (wherever from 30 seconds to 5 minutes).
The Ring app additionally affords some fundamental light-scheduling options, together with the power to set customized schedules in addition to dawn-to-dusk schedules. But when you can set the brightness for a given lighting schedule, there’s no manner (utilizing the Ring app, anyway) to ramp the brightness up or down (useful for wake-up/bedtime routines), neither is there a randomized trip schedule for fooling crooks when you’re away.
Of course, there’s not solely the Ring app to think about. Given that Ring is owned by Amazon, the Ring A19 bulb boasts tight integration with Alexa, which implies you possibly can create Alexa routines utilizing the bulb, together with routines with morning and night time schedules that ramp the brightness up and down. Still, it’s a nuisance to have to leap forwards and backwards between the Ring and Alexa apps for extra superior gentle scheduling options, and never even Alexa affords an alternative to the lacking trip mode.
Another curious lacking characteristic within the Ring app is the power to arrange lighting scenes, resembling “Bright,” “Dimmed” or “Nightlight.” That means if you wish to modify the brightness for the Ring lights in a given room, you’ll have to take action individually, otherwise you’ll must go to the difficulty of organising an Alexa routine that’ll do the job for you.
Overall, it feels that the Ring app is (for now) rather more targeted on dwelling safety than conventional sensible lighting, and that might be irritating for these trying to make use of the Ring A19 bulb as an ordinary indoor bulb relatively than in live performance with Ring’s out of doors safety lights and cameras.
Besides its Alexa assist, the Ring A19 bulb additionally affords IFTTT integration. Perhaps unsurprisingly, nonetheless, the Ring bulb gained’t work with Google Assistant, nor does it work with HouseKit.
It is sensible that Ring would need in on the normal sensible lighting market, and we are able to see how the A19 Smart LED Bulb would enchantment to present Ring customers who wish to add indoor and out of doors bulbs that play good with their motion-sensing Ring units. But when you don’t have already got a Ring Bridge otherwise you’re not taken with investing in delving into the Ring ecosystem, you’re most likely higher off sticking to such tried-and-true lighting manufacturers as Philips Hue, WiZ, or LIFX.