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Quick Review: LIFX A60 Colour (Gen 3.) WiFi Smart Bulb

Smart lighting is an ever growing market and nowadays you have plenty of options/brands too choose from. I’ve personally used and reviewed Philips HueLIFX and TP-Link over the past 6 months and I’ve more brands to go (Hive, Osram etc.). Today though, I’m looking at the newest iteration of the standard colour LED bulb offered by LIFX – the A60 “Gen 3” – and comparing it to my existing “LIFX Colour 1000“.

Features

  • Up to 1,100 lumens (45 lumens brighter than the previous generation)
  • 16 million colours including various shades of white
  • Colour temperature range of 2500K to 9000K
  • Requires only 11W to power at peak brightness and less than 0.5W on standby
  • WiFi enabled (no bridge required – b/g/n compatible)
  • Lasts up to 22.8 years (40,000 hours – years is based on a usage of 3 hours/day)
  • Fittings: E27 or B22
  • 135 degree beam angle (5 degrees wider than the previous generation)
  • Dimmable (via software)
  • All bulbs are interconnected via a “low power IPv6 802.15.4” mesh network, meaning all bulbs can be grouped and managed from a single point
  • IFTTT compatible
  • Amazon Echo compatible
  • Google Home/Now compatible
  • Apple HomeKit compatible (previous generation was not)
  • 2 year warranty

What’s new?

There’s not a huge amount that’s obviously new with regards to the Gen 3 – especially visually, however it seems all of the changes have taken place “under the hood”.

HomeKit

Probably the main attraction/change with regards to the Gen 3 bulbs is the addition of integration with Apple’s HomeKit. LIFX users had been asking for this functionality for some time prior to it’s inclusion and finally it happened.

The HomeKit integration means you can control your bulbs via the Apple Home application on your iOS device. This means, you can tell Siri to turn your lights on/off, change your lights to a different colour, setup schedules etc. or even use HomeKit enabled accessories to control your LIFX bulbs.

Outdoor usage (within an enclosure)

Something that wasn’t as publicized was the fact that the spec sheet for the Gen 3 bulbs now explicitly notes that the bulbs can be used in an outdoor environment, but as long as the bulb is within an enclosure. This is great news for anyone who has wanted an exterior smart bulb, to control it remotely and make it seem like someone is home and turning the exterior light on/off, or for those that make use of geo-fencing capabilities and who want to return home to a lit pathway.

An extra 45 lumens of peak brightness

The Gen 3 bulb increases the peak brightness of the already bright Gen 2 bulbs (aka Colour 1000) by a further 45 lumens. This brings the total peak brightness of the Gen 3 bulbs up to 1100 lumens! Bear in mind, Philips Hue Gen. 3 bulbs have a peak brightness of around 800 lumens…

Seemingly quicker to respond to changes

This one is a bit hard to measure and I don’t have the right tools or know how, but when making changes on my Colour 1000 and the Gen 3 bulbs, the Gen 3’s seem to be slightly more responsive and quick to do as I have actioned. This could be a simple case of the Gen 3’s are running newer and more optimized firmware, or this could be down to LIFX optimizing their API’s, of which the Gen 3 is quicker to make requests/process requests?

Improved packaging

LIFX Gen 3 A60 Bulb - Packaging

The first thing you notice when you buy anything, is the packaging in which that product comes in. This may seem a little “sad”, but when my LIFX Gen 3’s arrived, I was shocked as to how compact the packaging for the bulb was! The new style packaging is cylindrical in shape (previous generations were square boxes) and the box is only ever-so-slightly larger than the actual bulb itself. The box is made of a thick cardboard, with a thin liner and the bulb is held in place by a small cardboard insert and the user guide/warranty info.

Summary

There’s a lot of back and forth as to whether the Gen 3 bulbs are worth the extra investment over the Gen 2 bulbs. My position is this:

  1. If you’ve kitted out your entire house with Gen 2 bulbs and are trying to work out whether it’s worth replacing your existing units…. don’t bother unless you absolutely must have HomeKit integration. Chances are though, you don’t need it!
  2. If you’re looking at getting some new LIFX bulbs, don’t bother trawling the depths of the internet looking for the Gen 2 bulbs. The price difference is negligible (around £10 when looking at eBay) and you may as well make use of all of the new functionality and upcoming new features.

LIFX now only sell the Gen 3 bulbs as a minimum, via their website (https://lifx.com), so you can no longer officially buy the older model bulbs. That being said, the Gen 3. bulbs perform perfectly for me – I’ve never had a bulb drop connectivity or not respond to a request and I’ve setup the integration with my Google Home devices to control them via voice, on top of controlling them via Siri on my iPhone.

All of that being said, the Gen 3 bulbs are undoubtedly expensive. RRP is £59.99 per bulb, which is definitely noticeable in the wallet no matter what your budget – especially when you’re likely looking at more than a single bulb at a time! If you’re looking at multiple bulbs, I’d personally suggest you buy directly from LIFX rather than a third party seller, as they typically offer a decent discount (around 18%) on “bulk” purchases of 4 or 6 bulbs.

Useful links

LIFX: https://lifx.com

Product page: https://lifx.com/collections/featured-products/products/lifx

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adjustable-Multicolour-Dimmable-Required-Assistant/dp/B01M66RQXV/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/LIFX-Adjustable-Multicolor-Dimmable-Assistant/dp/B01KY02MS8/

Will Stocks

As a career "IT person" and technology enthusiast, I've been around technology for over 8 years now. From enterprise-grade hardware to consumer equipment, IT Support to Systems Administrator - I'm passionate about all forms of tech, learning how it works, integrates and the scenarios in which different people would use them. I started willstocks.co.uk in 2017 and have also contributed to other websites around the Internet.

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