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Better than Hue? Novostella smart bulb review

Bright as day

The title of the review might be slightly clickbaity for 2 reasons. Number one: This was the title of the email Novostella sent me. Number Two: I actually never used Hue smart lights. Novostella smart bulb (Amazon, UStellar Store) is here and I’m not afraid to use it. Is it better than Hue? I can’t answer that, but I can tell you if it’s worth your money. It may not be a Hue killer but it’s definitely a saturation master!

Novostella smart bulb

Every time I see a light bulb that isn’t round something breaks inside me. I’m promptly reminded why round bulbs are annoying, put one on the desk and see it roll into oblivion. Novostella smart bulb gets 2 points, one for not rolling into self-destruction and one for coming in E27 and B22 mounts! Yes, I live in a house of double standards!

Novostella smart bulb is an RGB LED light source capable of converting 13W of power into 1300 Lumens. There is a temperature range listed 2700-6500k but it’s an RGB bulb so you can play with all the colours in the world. The bulb is very bright and the colour reproduction is actually impressive. The colours are saturated even at the low brightness levels and the diffusing plastic makes it all look almost uniform.

I tried to take a peek inside since this is a WiFi bulb, but Novostella smart bulb is sealed well, therefore I cannot confirm which ESP is being used inside. My bet would be on ESP8266. Something perhaps I will explore in a follow-up article. I can’t help myself but to take things apart.

The smart part

No bulb is truly smart without a good app. To use Novostella smart bulb, you are asked to download the Smart Life app. It would be another app to my collection if not for the fact that this bulb works with the Tuya app as well. Since I have some devices already linked to Tuya, I will proceed with that app instead. Don’t worry both apps are almost clones of each other. You are not missing out.

If you used Tuya (or Smart Life) before, the app comes with all basic settings like colour customizations, timers and scenes. There is a basic automation panel, where custom rules and behaviours can be set. It also enables connectivity with assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant.

Where the Novostella smart bulb comes short is the lack of LAN support. You will be dependent on 3rd party cloud to operate it. It can be offputting to some of you guys or motivating to try Tuya convert. One of the reasons I adore my Yeelight smart bulbs (review) is the choice. They come with LAN control and fully developed REST API as well as cloud support.

I should also mention that scene controls are weak. I can set presets, but there are no pre-baked smooth transitions to emulate sunrise and sunset patterns. Probably the only scenes I would care for.

Buy Novostella RGB LED bulb

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Final thoughts

Novostella smart bulb is decent. It may seem a little pricy at £26 (Amazon, UStellar Store) with change, but it’s also stronger than the 8W bulbs I have. You will probably need just one to light up the room which could be a cost-saving thing in the long run. If you want something brighter and capable of being mounted outdoors, consider Novostella Floodlights instead. If you see an active link in this review at the later date, it means I made it “mine” with tuya convert! I will be linking to that for sure. Let me know what do you think in this Reddit thread.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Brightness
Colour
App
Hackability

Disclaimer

This product has been sponsored by Novostella.uk, but I reserve the rights to a honest and unbiased opinion about the product.

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The title of the review might be slightly clickbaity for 2 reasons. Number one: This was the title of the email Novostella sent me. Number Two: I actually never used Hue smart lights. Novostella smart bulb (Amazon, UStellar Store) is here and I'm not...Better than Hue? Novostella smart bulb review