Colorful remote-control lighting isn’t the preserve of the multi-million dollar mansion any more, and Tabu wants to democratize smart home bulbs even further with the Lumen TL800. It’s not the first smartphone-controlled LED bulb, but unlike Philips’ Hue, however, Tabu has turned to something far more prevalent in today’s phones and tablets to make the connection: Bluetooth 4.0. Does that make Lumen the remote bulb for the mass market or is it just a novelty item?
The Lumen Bluetooth Light Bulb
Tabu’s first bulb is a hefty little thing, weightier than either a traditional incandescent, a newer LED bulb, or a Philips Hue Bluetooth light bulb courtesy of a sturdy aluminum heatsink. It’s not unpleasant to look at, though once it’s screwed into lamp that’s probably not something you’ll be concerned with. It’s about the same size as a chunky regular bulb so it should work in most any lamp or light fixture.
The Lumen TL800 is rated as a 40W equivalent, with 400 lumens maximum output. In contrast, Hue bulbs are brighter, at around 600 lumens, and that’s noticeable when it comes to lighting up a room with a single fixture, particularly when both are set to regular white. The TL800 got noticeably hotter to the touch when left on for the same amount of time as a Philip’s Hue bulb, we discovered; not finger-burningly so, but uncomfortable. Tabu’s bulb should last for 30,000 hours on average, the company says, and the white/blue/red/green LEDs inside can be mixed up to offer you 16 million different colors from this single Bluetooth light bulb.
It’s doubtful that you’ll ever use or see all 16 million colors that the Lumen Bluetooth light bulb offers, but you’ll at least have fun playing with all the various shades and stuff trying to accomplish that. It’s also worth mentioning that due to the design of the bulb that the light it gives off is aimed more upwards than it is spread across the entire room. This of course will also depend on the lamp or light fixture you have the Lumen Bluetooth light bulb placed in.
The Lumen App
Tabu offers both iOS and Android versions of its remote app and I used it on Android via a Motorola Moto X device. I was quite surprised at how easy this was to setup and pair with the Bluetooth light bulb. For some reason I expected it to be a bit more difficult than pairing a Bluetooth speaker or something similar. I installed the app, screwed in the bulb, turned Bluetooth on via my device and then waited for the searching for devices feature to find the bulb. Once I did that, the Bluetooth light bulb was paired to my device and I was ready to go.
From there it was a matter of tapping the bulb icon and then choosing which color I wanted. I could chose between things such as the tone and brightness of the white light or I could go right into the RGB menu, a preferred color of my choice or I could play around with the saturation, and brightness. Lumen does all that with a simple color chart around which you can drag your fingertip, the bulb reacting almost instantaneously.
You have four hexagonal icons which allow you to control the Bluetooth light bulb in various ways. These controls range from the basic turning the lights on and off, making them flash them with various patterns when a call comes in, and then party mode, where the bulbs flicker with different colors and patterns to mimic a glitter-ball. You can also select the warmth of the colors via the icons as well if you want softer colors or colors that are more vivid.
There are four other modes worth mentioning as well which you can see below. A couple of them are really nice features to have for anyone who might have issues sleeping or for someone who is wanting to wake up with a dim light on.
- Party mode can transforms your living room into a dance floor with flashing lights that change color to suit the music playing.
- Sleep mode simulates calming moonlight to improve sleep and enhance rest.
- Wake up mode starts the Lumen bulb at a very dim light and gradually getting brighter till it reaches maximum intensity at the stipulated wake up time.
- Ambient mode creates the perfect conditions for a romantic date or a quiet evening at home.
If you have more than one Lumen Tabu TL800 Bluetooth light bulb, you can group them together and control them in unison. I only had the one Lumen Tabu Bluetooth light bulb, so I wasn’t able to test this feature to see how well it works, thought it would be nice to have several throughout the house. Each bulb can only be controlled by one device at a time. And of course, when the bulb is linked to an iPhone, you won’t be able to control it from an Android device and vice versa.
Product Pricing And Final Thoughts
The Lumen Tabu Bluetooth light bulb will cost you $69.99, which seems a bit expensive for a light bulb, but remember it is a Bluetooth light bulb and this is still relatively new technology. When you compare it to the Philip’s Hue system, it’s about the same price over all. Philip’s Hue costs $199.95, but that comes with 3 bulbs and a special hub that Philip’s requires. If you take just 3 Lumen Tabu’s, your cost would be $209.97, which is about $10 more. All in all, about the same pricing for what you get.
So the question is, is this something you’d want in your entire home? It’s very possible but the price is something that as of right now might make you think twice. This isn’t necessarily something you would blame Lumen for, it’s just the fact that this technology is still coming along. In a couple of years you can bet the pricing will be relatively cheaper.
With that being said, if you’re looking for just one, two or maybe 3 bulbs to have in certain rooms in the house, or maybe at your office or something, then certainly Lumen Tabu Bluetooth light bulbs could be for you. It’s a fun thing to play around with and if you have friends or family over and just want to sit back, relax and catch up on old times or whatever, you can have the room lit up with just about any color you’d prefer.
You can pick yours up from the links below and if you have one already or plan on getting one soon, let us know in the comments below as to what you think or what you’re expecting or even planning on using your Lumen Tabu Bluetooth light bulb for specifically.