As more and more people buy into the idea of ‘smart homes’, it was simply a matter of time until the elements of the smart home became more affordable and easier to use. The TP-Link Kasa Filament KL50 Smart Bulb we were sent to review is a great example of this.
No need for a separate hub or heavy investment into a complicated home setup. No need to spend £100+ on fitting out one room with a smart bulb. Instead, just install it and control it from your phone… let’s see how that goes.
TP-Link Kasa Filament KL50 Smart Bulb Specifications
|Light Beam Angle||290 degrees|
|Rated Input Voltage||220~240V, 50/60Hz|
|Dimmable||Yes (via app and cloud only)|
|Warm-up Time up to 95%||< 1s|
|Colour Rendering Index||80|
|Weighted Energy Consumption||7kWh/1000h|
|Security||Secured home Wi-Fi connection required|
|Wi-Fi Protocol||IEEE 802.11b/g/n|
|System Requirements||Android 5.0 or higher, iOS 10 or higher|
|Wi-Fi Frequency||2.4 GHz|
|Package Contents||Filament Smart Bulb
Quick Start Guide
|Operating Temperature||-15 ºC~ 40 ºC (5°F ~ 104°F )|
|Operating Humidity||10%~90%RH, Non-condensing|
|Lamp Base||A60 bulb, E27 fitting|
|Product Dimensions||4.72*2.36 inch (120 mm*60 mm)|
- Cost at Time of Review: RRP £14.99 (£10.99 with Amazon Prime)
- Tested using a Google Pixel 2 XL Smart Phone (Android) in conjunction with Google Home Devices
What’s In The Box?
For less than £15, you get a single screw fix (E27) bulb that once screwed in, you simply download the app for free on either an Apple or Android device, create an account and detect the bulb, adding it to your control panel.
From there, you can turn the light on and off, set a brightness level for it, and implement a schedule for your bulb. This might include turning on at 7 o’clock on a Monday morning, initially at 25% before turning up to 50% at 7:30. And then switching off automatically at 8 o’clock when you head to work.
I was really intrigued by what the filament would look like out of the box. It actually looks really quite cool and would really add to the look with some stylish wall lamps or an antique style desk lamp or even light shade fixing.
As smartphone applications go, the Kasa app is about as straightforward as you can get, especially if you are only using one bulb.
The main screen for the app is the on/off button, and the brightness dial. The dial can be a bit jumpy when responding, although that might just be my phone. I also noted the first couple of times it took a few seconds for the bulb to react to being switched off and on, but this improved with a couple of uses.
The schedule screens and energy usage screens do what they say on the tin. You can set times for the bulb to do things, be this switch on at a certain brightness, switch off, and increase or decrease in brightness. And here is the biggest missed opportunity for me; I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and the best gadget I have for the winter months is my sunrise lamp. Over the course of 45 minutes, it starts off dim and gradually gets brighter. Although I can schedule the brightness increase at specific times, say 20% at 7am, 50% at 7.15 and so on, there’s no option for the app or the bulb to automatically build from that 20% over time. I suspect this is something that could be implemented by a software update in this case, but it really would be a very welcome addition.
As you might expect though, one smart bulb does not make a smart home. By itself, you simply have an LED bulb that has an inbuilt alarm clock for turning on and off with additional remote control. The brilliance of these devices comes when you kit the house out with them, and maybe link them up with different devices via a Google home setup which would add voice control.
Scenario one, bedtime. Announcing to your Google Home device (or alternative device) “Hey Google, goodnight” and having the downstairs lights, and other smart devices, turn off and the bedroom light turns on. Or scenario two, a child or partner who doesn’t like to get up in the morning. Being able to remotely control a bedroom light to help prompt that waking up cycle.
Smart Home setups and gadgets remain just that at this time, gadgets. Cool, but ultimately unnecessary things that make our lives a little bit easier or, if we’re honest, feel a little bit cooler. But we used to say the same about smartphones.
One day, all new build homes will come with some level of smart home technology. And it will bleed into the workplace. No more running around making sure you have turned off or on all the right lights for an office space, or a storefront. Just control them from an app or, better yet, set up a schedule for them.
- The price point
- So easy to use
- Plays well with voice control devices
- Missed opportunity on sunrise and sunset mode
- Limited to soft white light
As for the TP-Link Kasa Filament bulb. It’s a great bulb, at a great price. It might not have the fancy RGB lighting some of the bulbs from higher price brackets do, but those can be more complex to set up and with a more niche appeal. TP-Link is a brand that gets the job done well and at a good price point, great for those looking for a way into the smart home way of life.
Thank you to TP-Link for sending in a sample of the Kasa Filament KL50 Smart Bulb for us to review.