Smart home technology is slowly starting to become more mainstream. We’re not quite at the point of having our own consciousness implanted into a Cookie to control our homes – as per the White Christmas episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror – however, we’re probably not too far away.
I’ve dabbled in smart home tech a bit over the last few years. For example, things like smart plugs which allow lights to be automatically turned on at a set time, or live video feeds from a camera in our house which I can watch on my phone. This is all pretty cool stuff, designed to make our lives easier on a daily basis.
As such, I was really intrigued when the guys and gals at Sengled got in touch to see if I wanted to try out their intelligent light bulbs. These Sengled Pulse bulbs allow you to control the light level from an app on your phone, but they also have an integrated JBL speaker meaning you can actually play music wirelessly through your light bulb. How cool does that sound?!
Below is my full review of the Sengled Pulse Pair bulbs, however first I though you might like to take a look at a quick video demo of the bulbs and app in action.
The product is described as:
Pulse by Sengled is a smart bulb that combines the energy efficiency of a dimmable LED light with the high-quality audio of a JBL Bluetooth speaker to provide you a premier home entertainment experience that you can easily control. Simply twist Pulse into any standard light socket, and adjust both lighting and sound from almost any Bluetooth enabled device, including your iPhone and iPad.
Experience the soaring highs and the rich stereo sound of JBL combined with warm, dimmable lighting, without the fuss of speaker wires, power cords, or an independent remote control. Pulse disappears into the lighting fixtures you already own, so you can enjoy your favourite music and mood lighting, all while accessing an existing power source. Our intuitive iOS app offers seamless control of both light and sound while listening to your favourite streamed music or media, offering you the ability to customise your light and music to suit any mood.
The Pulse Pair comes with the Pulse Master bulb and one Satellite bulb – up to seven Satellite bulbs can be connected to one Master bulb for endless pleasure of light and sound for everyone, everywhere.
On opening the box, I was greeted with two Sengled Pulse bulbs – the Pulse Master and Pulse Satellite. They were shiny red in colour, had a white, plastic end and had the bayonet cap (B22) to go with our ceiling light fittings. They are also available with an Edison screw cap (E27) and come in white or silver.
The bulbs certainly looked cool, albeit pretty different to a ‘normal’ light bulb with their futuristic appearance. They were a little chunkier than I expected, particularly when placed next to our usual energy saving light bulbs. However, I guess that’s to be expected considering they house a wireless JBL speaker.
My first decision was where to place the Sengled Pulse bulbs. Having flicked through the instructions, the only requirement was that the bulbs needed to be within 35 metres of each other. As I don’t live in a mansion, this was pretty easy to adhere to. Having wandered around the house and carefully thought about the placement for far too long, the decision was made for me.
Our kitchen, bathroom and spare room have spot lights, so the bulbs wouldn’t fit. Toddler L’s bedroom is on a dimmer switch which isn’t compatible. It’d be pretty pointless in our entrance hall or downstairs toilet. And our hallway has two bulbs on one light switch which would mean that one bulb would continually need to be on. This left two possible places – our bedroom ceiling light and one of two ceiling lights in the living room, which are on separate switches.
I decided to put the Master Pulse in the living room and the Satellite Pulse in the bedroom. Fitting them was just like fitting a normal light bulb, i.e. turn the light switch off, take the existing bulb out of the fitting, then push and turn the Pulse into place. Next, I turned the light switches on and heard an audible ‘ping’ come from the Master Pulse. I could now connect my phone to the bulbs through Bluetooth – I did the ‘scan for devices’ on my phone and found the relevant device to pair to, which had the catchy name C01-BR30.
At this point, you can do one of two things. You can use the Sengled Pulse bulb as a Bluetooth speaker and play music via your phone. This could be a streaming service such as Amazon Prime, Spotify or DisneyLife or alternatively music on your device. The other thing you can do is download the Sengled app (Android and iOS) which gives you greater control of the light and speakers from your device.
The app is pretty straightforward to use. I had no issues downloading it or getting it connected to the Sengled Pulse Master bulb. When in the app, you can do a couple of things. Firstly, you can control the light bulb – for instance, turning it on or off with one click, or moving your finger to increase or decrease the amount of light like a dimmer switch. The other thing you can do is control the volume of music that comes out of the speaker. Similarly to the dimmer, you can move your finger to increase or decrease the volume.
The app isn’t packed with features, but it does allow you to control the light and sound of all bulbs connected. I only have a Master and a Satellite, but in theory, you could use this for up to eight bulbs. One feature I did like was the ability to change the speakers – for instance, if you have two in the same room, you can designate one as the left speaker and one as the right speaker which gives you a feeling of surround sound.
I’ve been using the Sengled Pulse bulbs for a few months now and really like them. However, they are not without their slight annoyances. Let me start with the positives though. It’s without question that the ability to turn on/off and dim lights with a touch of your phone is cool – no more getting up to manually turn on the switch.
It’s also pretty awesome to be able to pump music out of a speaker in your light fitting wirelessly – this means no cables, no separate remotes, no hassle installing and you can save space. In just a few seconds, you can be streaming music directly into your house. Toddler L often points to the bulb and says “party” in order to get me to put the music on.
I’ve been really impressed with the sound quality of the speakers. Even when it’s at full volume, I’ve not found any crackling or distortion which I’ve been surprised about. I’ve also found the actual lights to be brighter than our previous ones, and if I understand correctly, this is at a lower number of watts which means we are saving energy. I’m no electrician, but these bulbs supposedly average 13 watts when both the light is on and the music is playing, which is less than our previous 20 watt bulbs for just light.
Now for a couple of my annoyances. The biggest thing for me is the change in habit. When you’ve been turning light switches on all of your life, trying to get into the mentality of turning it on via an app – particularly when you’re stood at the light switch – is a difficult one. This can often take longer and be more hassle than just flicking the switch – particularly if you don’t know where your phone is or it’s run out of battery.
Leading on from this, if someone has flicked the switch so that it’s off, you can no longer control the bulb with your phone. That means you have to turn the switch back on and then go through the process of paring it with your phone and the app. I’ve also had one or two connectivity issues, but this usually resolves itself if you close the app or turn Bluetooth on and off again.
All in all though, my view of the Sengled Pulse bulbs is very positive. They might be a little over-engineered and use tech for the sake of using tech, but it’s pretty cool to be able to control light and sound through a bulb in the ceiling!
The Sengled Pulse Pair costs €129.90 (approx £115.00) and can be bought directly from Sengled or via places like Amazon. For two light bulbs, there’s no getting away from the fact that this is expensive. However, if you think of these as two Bluetooth speakers as well, it’s not as bad. I’m not going to say that over £100 is a bargain, but the cost of two LED light bulbs and two portable wireless speakers would probably come to around this much if bought individually.
I think the Sengled Pulse bulbs are a pretty cool addition to your home, particularly if you’ve not used smart tech before. Through an intuitive app, you have the ability to control the light level – on, off and dimmable – but also can play music directly through the speaker in the bulb.
This makes them pretty versatile. In the past, I’d have used them for wild, alcohol-fuelled, late night house parties. However, these days, they are more likely to be used to play white noise to a baby or to play music from Disney soundtracks as Toddler L and I dance around the living room.
The Sengled Pulse bulbs look cool, allow you to play music wirelessly, save space as they fit into your existing light socket and the sound quality is really good. However, it can be a bit fiddly at times to remember to use your phone to control the lights, plus if someone has already turned the switch off, you’re unable to use the app. This does make them a bit of a faff.
In summary, I really like the idea of the bulbs and have been impressed with them. However, it does feel a little over-engineered – do you really need to use a smartphone app to control your lights? I’ll let you decide!
The DADventurer Star Rating
4 out of 5 stars
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N.B. This review was written by me (Dave) and represents my honest opinion of the product. The light bulbs were sent to me by Sengled with the purpose of writing an honest product review in exchange for the product.
N.B. This post includes an affiliate link(s). For more info, read my Disclosure policy.