If you think using your smartphone to turn on your lights is cool, you'll flip when you can do that (and more) with just your voice. In fact, when I reviewed the Amazon Echo last year, I predicted a lot of people would buy more than one Echo so they could put them in multiple rooms. Amazon was smarter than that. As soon as the company realized it had a hit product, it came up with less-expensive versions: the Tap, the Echo Dot, and most recently, a revamped Echo Dot. The Tap has a less-expensive speaker, and the Dot isn't designed to play music at all, but both can summon Alexa, Amazon's cloud-based virtual assistant.
Wi-Fi-enabled smart lights are rapidly becoming commodities, and it's exciting to see prices plummeting to the point where they make sense for just about everyone. The latest: Eufy, a sub-brand of everything-goes electronics manufacturer Anker, just hit the market with two new affordable Edison-style smart bulbs: a $30 tunable-white bulb and a $20 fixed-white bulb. Eufy ticks off nearly all the specs one could ask for in a smart lighting system. Both the tunable and white-only bulbs operate at a solid 800 lumens while drawing 11 watts of power, work without a hub, and can be controlled with voice commands via Amazon's Alexa digital assistant. The bulbs even support external dimmers (though you may encounter trouble with the wireless radio working while they're dimmed).
At some point, LIFX surely heard the complaints one too many times: Your bulbs are great, but they're too big, too heavy, and--well--they just look weird. Clearly bowing to consumer sentiment, LIFX has introduced a second series: LIFX Mini. As the name implies, these three bulbs are indeed a bit smaller and easier to fit into most fixtures. One of them takes home TechHive's Editors' Choice award. Ejecting the cylindrical design of its earlier smart bulbs, which remain on the market, the bulbs in the Mini line look a bit more traditional.
Note:This review supercedes our first look at the C by GE white LED smart bulbs. You'll find our original opinion here. With its new C by GE hardware, GE takes a different approach to the smart bulb, offering two different models that are designed for different types of rooms. Both are Bluetooth bulbs, so no hub is required to get up and running, and you can control both through a single app. C-Life is a dimmable "living room" bulb, but it's not color tunable.