Home Review Most affordable smart lightbulbs: Sonoff B02 & B05

Most affordable smart lightbulbs: Sonoff B02 & B05

Smart lights on a budget

ITEAD is hot this month, listing one new device after another. First, there was a Sonoff ZB Mini (review) – a ZigBee enabled twin of Sonoff Mini (review). Now, probably the most affordable smart lightbulbs. I hot my hands-on Sonoff B02 & B05 models, two WiFi-connected smart lightbulbs out of the 4 models released.

Cheap as chips?

The prices start from $9.90 for the (plastic, White + colour temperature) B02 B A60 and $12.90 for the fancy, pear-shaped B02-F-ST64 (glass, retro look, White + colour temperature). As far as connected lights go, the prices are very attractive and Sonoff lightbulbs indeed are as inexpensive as you can get.

The extra dollars you might say may not seem much at first, but if you consider a bill for 10 devices, $99.00 bill looks much friendlier than $170-200 that you’d pay for Yeelight bulbs (review).

Sonoff lightbulbs in detail

Both lights use eWeLink to connect. It means that the app has a lightbulb interface added to it. The pairing is simple, flick the switch 3 times at 1-sec frequency and the bulb will breathe indicating the pairing mode is on.

B02

These retro-looking bulbs come in 2 variants A60 and ST67. The A60, shaped like a traditional incandescent bulb has barely visible electronics and features two pairs of LED filament (warm and cold) to create the temperature range 2700-6500K. It’s 800 lumens bright which is corresponding with 60W traditional lightbulb.

The pear-shaped ST67 is warmer in colour thanks to the stained yellow glass, boasts 1800K-5000K temperature at lower 700-lumen rating.

Both are made of glass and don’t get hot even when set to max brightness for a prolonged time. A60 looks particularly nice when set to low warm light levels, showing off the Edison style filament. The light reproduction is very similar to a ZigBee variant bulb I talked about before from OEEONE.

B05

It looks like any other smart lights with all the tech hidden behind a plastic shroud and diffusing dome. This RGB Sonoff lightbulb is brighter than IKEA RGB bulb I have – with 800 lumens, and CRI set at 80. It’s enough to lit up a small room, but you may need more than one if you require more light.

RGB colours are nice. It’s not the stronger light colour wise, but changing the colours on the bulb results in a nice transition from colour to colour taking about a second. The colour change feels smoot. The jump between RBP wheel and white colour is instant, without any transitions.

Sonoff lightbulbs in eWeLink

There are no surprises here. Brightness and temperature panels are available for each bulb, while RGB comes with a separate panel for RGB colour wheel. In addition to these, timers and schedules are available as well. Just like for the rest of Sonoff devices. Latency is pretty good despite the cloud only interface. Sonoff lightbulbs triggered via app response time is less than half a second. I would call it quite responsive.

There are 4 scenes for B02 (Bright, Reading, Work and Night) and 8 scenes for the RGB version featuring 4 more editable scenes. Unfortunately, the control over editable scenes has pulse/strobe options and frequency settings but no colour transition modes.

Sonoff lightbulbs can be grouped and shared at the app level. It’s a shame that widget in the main menu of the app doesn’t have quick brightness changes. Only toggle control is available without opening the bulb menu. Sonoff smart lights can be triggered by other devices linked through eWeLink. If you have the latest Sonoff ZB Sensors, you’ll be able to use these to control the lights etc.

Thanks to eWeLink skills, these lights can be used with smart speakers from Alexa and Google. Simply link your account in the relevant menu, and the Sonoff lightbulbs will be part of your smart home design.

Save the cost, shave the features

At this price point, something had to go. A deal-breaker for many will be the lack of Sonoff DIY 2.0 or viable ways of accessing IC inside (I’m guessing ESP) as neither of the bulbs can be opened without breaking it. If you dreamt of Tasmota enabled bulbs under $10, I have to disappoint you. Sonoff lightbulbs are stuck with eWeLink for control. You can fix that with eWeLink API, and control the lights from NodeRED.

To make things worse, LAN mode isn’t present either for these bulbs. Other Sonoff devices come with LAN support so the connected gadget doesn’t become dumb when the router lights go out!

Another omission is at the app level. eWeLink has scenes (presets) for lights, but 2 most obvious ones are missing: sunrise & sunset. I’m honestly surprised how rarely I see this available. Perhaps I should make a script for this myself!

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Final thoughts

It would be nice to see ZigBee series from ITEAD as well. It would fix the problem of being eWeLink locked and prone to the Internet cut off. I can’t deny the fact that Sonoff lightbulbs are very affordable and provide you with basic functionality that smart home needs. If the budget is tight and you don’t need all bells and whistles of the more expensive lights, Sonoff lightbulbs will do the job just fine. What do you think? Let me know in this Reddit thread.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Price
Colour
App
Brightness
Hackability

Disclaimer

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

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