El­gato Avea

Con­trol lamps’ colour and bright­ness with just a twitch of your thumb!

Mac Format - - RATED - £40 Man­u­fac­turer El­gato, el­gato.com Bright­ness 7W/430 lu­mens Re­quires iPhone 4s or later, fifth-gen­er­a­tion iPod touch, iPad mini or iPad 3 or later, with iOS 7.1 or later Cheaper and sim­pler than Hue Good colours Well-de­signed app Cur­rently a lit­tle

El­gato isn’t the first company to make a smart lightbulb – Philips be­ing the most ob­vi­ous big com­peti­tor with its Hue sys­tem – but since we usu­ally like El­gato’s stuff, we’re still in­ter­ested.

As with sim­i­lar prod­ucts, you con­trol its colour and bright­ness from your iPhone or iPad; just screw it into a light fit­ting (only E26/27 fit­tings are sup­ported for now), get the app, and you’re good to go. It con­nects over Blue­tooth 4.0, which lim­its com­pat­i­bil­ity but means you don’t have to go through the rig­ma­role of pair­ing.

This doesn’t mean you’re limited to a sin­gle bulb, though; you can con­trol up to ten Aveas from your iPhone, as long as they’re all within Blue­tooth range. This sys­tem is less com­plex to set up than Hue’s, but less flex­i­ble too, in part be­cause there’s no di­rect in­ter­net con­nec­tion. With Hue, for ex­am­ple, you can con­trol the lights over the in­ter­net and hook them into ex­tend­ing ser­vices such as IFTTT. You might as­sume Hue would work out cheaper as you add more bulbs, but no; it’s al­ways more ex­pen­sive than the Avea.

And be­sides: Avea does some­thing we haven’t seen be­fore. Sure, you can choose solid colours (and very pretty they are, too; the green is strong, es­pe­cially next to the Hue bulbs) and tweak bright­ness and colour bal­ance, but you can also pick from a se­ries of dy­namic scenes where the bulb cy­cles slowly through some sim­i­lar hues. It sounds like it might be a bit ‘disco’, but it’s slow and sub­tle – and quite ef­fec­tive. Once you’ve set one, your iPhone dis­con­nects un­til you change it; the ‘recipes’ are stored on the bulb, though this means you can’t cre­ate your own. It can act as a wake-up light, too – although it needs to be able to con­nect to your phone for this – play­ing bird­song or a track from your iPhone’s li­brary.

Hue may have more op­tions, but this is sim­pler, cheaper (both to get into and to ex­pand) and very well ex­e­cuted. Christo­pher Phin

Cheaper and sim­pler than Philips Hue (though at a small cost in flex­i­bil­ity); fun and well-de­signed.

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