Whenever I’m confronted by an electronic device that claims it will enhance any social gatherings I may have in the future, I’m immediately skeptical. There’s a ton of gadgets on the market that seek to provide a new, gimmicky audio experience that fail to match the simplicity of a high-quality iPod dock or Bluetooth stereo system, but the AwoX StriimLIGHT series achieves just that.
AwoX’s StriimLIGHT series features a variety of models that feature both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatibility. Essentially providing synced audio for a relatively low-budget home audio experience, the energy-saving LED bulbs have built-in speakers that connect to your smartphone or tablet, allowing you to play music from your device as it sits inside a light fitting in your home.
The StriimLIGHT range begins at the Mini Color, the smallest model that boasts a 3W speaker and label B energy efficiency level, ensuring that your electricity bill won’t go through the roof when you’re using it. Despite its small stature it packs quite the punch in the audio department, with its volume level controllable with either your smartphone/tablet or the included remote control. Like all of the StriimLIGHT models it also has a number of selectable colors, and a “Disco” mode that essentially makes the bulb flash through its color options.
Seeing as how the bulb was (and still is) sitting in my living room light fitting, I kept it at its standard white mode. The brightness levels can also be adjusted, so if you want to dim the lights then that’s an option. This model, along with the StriimLIGHT Mini White, White and Color, can only connect to your device via Bluetooth, and cannot sync with other devices in the StriimLIGHT range.
While the Mini Color is marginally bigger than a standard lightbulb, the rest of the models in the range are far bulkier. The White, Color, Wi-Fi White and Wi-Fi Color models all require an E27 socket as opposed to the Mini’s E14, and they’re also a great deal wider than their miniature counterparts. As such, I had difficulty finding a light fitting that would house these devices, with their substantial frames struggling to screw into a fitting with a lampshade attached. If you’re going to want to plump for one of these models, you best make sure that the fitting you’re looking to attach it to is up to the task.
Despite them being more cumbersome than the Mini devices, they’re a lot more powerful in the audio department. With the White and Wi-Fi White models boasting 10W speakers and the Color and Wi-Fi Color models coming equipped with 13W speakers, these are the devices in the range to splash the cash on if you’re looking to equip your home with the tech. The Wi-Fi models also offer synchronized sound zones with other StriimLIGHT devices, meaning you can have the same track playing in your living room, kitchen, bedroom, conservatory and dining area, making them ideal for when you’re hosting friends and family.
The synchronization works proficiently, as does the devices’ Bluetooth 3.0 (4.0 when using iOS on some devices) connectivity. When using the Mini Color I was able to venture upstairs in my relatively sizable home with my phone in my pocket, with no blips in audio quality whatsoever. I even walked to the bottom of my garden and the device still managed to continue playing my music.
Aside from the credit card-sized remote control bundled in with each StriimLIGHT model, you can also control each device using the free apps provided by AwoX. AwoZ Cabasse Stream CONTROL and AwoX SmartCONTROL are apps for the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth models respectively, and can both be downloaded from the App and Google Play Store. These offer a great deal of control over the colors the bulbs emit, along with controlling more facets of their lighting including brightness and modes. Aside from the aforementioned headache-inducing Disco mode, you can also opt for a far easier on the eye ‘Smooth’ mode, which gently changes the colors of the bulbs whilst your music is playing.
Upon first impressions I was prepared for AwoX’s StriimLIGHT series to be yet another tacky addition to the supposed “future” of home audio, but I was left suitably impressed. As smart home technology continues to creep up on us, these will make excellent, reasonably affordable additions to any household that is looking for more connectivity between their electronics.
You can purchase AwoX StriimLIGHT devices from B&H. Prices start at around $40.