Tech reviews

Novostella 20W Smart RGBCW LED Flood Lights (Review)


Pretty much every light in your home or office can be automated now and integrated into a smart home setup. From your basic everyday lighting to your decor lighting around the building/home, to even some of the unique commercial or industry solutions. With that, affordability has also been becoming more reasonable, allowing just about anyone to go crazy with their setup. So why not tap into your creative side by laying out and automating some decor lighting to light the outside of your home with? And with that, we introduce Novostella and its 20W Smart RGBCW LED Flood Lights that can accomplish just that.

These smart lights are designed to knock out a number of functions, but the most common is the lighting of the exterior of your home. Acting as an up-light solution for walls, landscape, driveways, and more. To get some ideas, you can drive around to some of the new developments in your area to see what the builders have done with the “model” homes that are available for potential home-buyers to walk through. They will almost always light up the exterior of the homes so they “pop” out at night and look far better than they normally will once you buy into one (usually because the average person doesn’t actually go through the trouble of l fighting the outside of their home).

It is easier than ever to one-up your neighbors by actually taking the time to apply this kind of lighting. Especially, now that you can do it without driving yourself broke (you should see what malibu/landscape lighting solutions used to run people 20-30 years ago–both to buy the lights and to power them every evening). While also making sure that it is all connected, allowing you to control everything remotely (even when you are away).

Novostella 20W Smart RGBCW LED Flood Lights

These Novostella lights allow you to do this at around $69 per pair. They also have 60W and 100W options (for a little more in price) available as well for areas where stronger lighting is needed (ie, a larger/taller wall of your home). For the most part, this is relatively affordable. Especially, when you compare them to options like Philips Hue, which are far too expensive. Then, of course, they are LED as well. This helps to bring operating costs way down compared to the lights of old.

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So far around $500-$1000, you could one-up even some of these model homes with an impressive display of light and color that will send your neighbor to your door wondering how much it cost and how hard it was to throw everything together.

Which leads us to the user-friendliness of it all. These are your basic Edison cables (typical three-prong outlets). So all you need to do is run power to them all using outdoor weather-friendly cables or outlets. Bonus points if you find a way to bury all of your runs. Given, building and electrical codes within your city/state may differ from others. So you may find a proper cable is enough, wherein other areas you may have to bury runs of properly rated pipe, installing weather-proof outlets near each light location. However, when it comes to the light itself, it’s a simple three-prong plug you can plug in somewhere and you are done (so the lights themselves are quite user-friendly).

No buttons or remotes needed as they pair to your WiFi network where they can be fully controlled using the Smart Life app. An app we have been quite fans of for a while now due to the number of companies and models it supports (hundreds of options to choose from). So you can mix/match all sorts of brands and products into one smart home setup, allowing each of those products to interact with each other or using scenes customized within the app. No hub needed as it all happens in the cloud.

 

We find that normally, the app can be quite user-friendly and successful at joining everything together. In the case of these flood lights, there is some troubleshooting you might run into, but eventually, they will pair in with everything else you might have in the app.

The only trouble we ran into was that the instructions don’t exactly cover everything about the pairing process. They mention that you must power on the light with a switch and that they support both Easy and AP modes. However, the instructions do not say anything about how to initiate one or the other. Thankfully, the Smart Life app guides you through by telling you that you must switch the light on/off three times to normally trigger a device’s pairing mode. This is indeed the case with these lights as well. This triggers Easy mode for pairing it to the app. If for some reason the app doesn’t see the lights, then you must power them on/off four times quickly to trigger AP mode for a manual addition to the app (neither the app nor the instructions mention this). Eventually, though, you will pair them. 

If you run into any trouble trying to get them to pair with the app, do take the time to reach out to the company for help as they might have a few tricks up their sleeve (that aren’t fully mentioned in the instructions).

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As you can see from the (app) images above, you have the option of sliding between warm or cool lighting or switching over to RGB and setting them to whatever color your mind can imagine. There are scenes as well, but you won’t be using those since they are typically meant for indoor light bulbs.

So you can have a lot of fun playing with color around the outside of your home if you want. Give, you probably won’t be going with a color theme as you see in the main header image above. Most will likely find themselves within the warm/cool range. However, for the holidays, those colors can be quite useful.

You can also use them inside your home as well, or for commercial settings like weddings and ballrooms to light the walls with (or stage, ceilings, floors, etc).

You can then build out scenes and timers within the app so they all come on or off at a specific time. Or, you can power them on in sections/groups throughout the day. You can automatically change colors on certain dates, or interact with motion sensors and other devices throughout your smart home setup.

They are small and feature a thin profile to them. So they should be easy to hide around the yard without anything sticking out visually. They are incredibly bright for their size, so you may find yourself not really needing the higher-powered models unless you have an incredibly large home. In most cases, you likely wouldn’t even need that level of brightness outside of holidays and even then that could be overpowering to the eyes.

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They come in a compact box with some instructions and a short antenna to screw onto each unit. You should make sure you get it nice and snug for the purposes of weather and signal strength. The cables offer a thick jacket, so they should be able to endure many weather situations.

Our Conclusion

The overall design of these lights is nice. They are compact, yet quite bright. You do have to be creative about getting power to them all (to make sure you abide by your local codes/laws), but when you do, it’s pretty easy to set up from there. They interact quite nicely with the Smart Life app (once you get them to pair).

You have plenty of color options using the app that will allow you to adjust the lights to any given scenario. They are quick to respond and integrate nicely. The quality of their build feels/looks tough, so they should be able to last you a long time.


Our Rating

8 / 10 stars           


Average Price*

$69.99

*Average price is based on the time this article was published

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