Today we are unboxing and testing several products from Govee. They seem to have a large selection of smart home lighting devices and what's even more interesting - when compared to the likes of NanoLeaf or Philips Hue, the lights Govee sell are considerably cheaper. With this in mind, we are going to be testing four different light sources to see if they are any good and would they work well in making our home smart. Stick around while we light up our place.
First off, we would like to say special thanks to Govee for sending out these lights to us. However, having said that, they did not get any input on the content provided, and all the opinions and conclusions are ours alone.
All of these lights can be controlled via physical controllers, these have colour and effect selectors, or you can control them via Govee app which is supported on both IOS and Android.
The app itself has a lot more functionality, starting with basics, such as changing brightness and colour, to going more in-depth and selecting special effects as well as creating your own animations in DIY modes. For example, you can set these lights to change colours in specific order or even change which type of colour shift it uses.
Another cool function is music mode, where the light will use the built-in microphone and change colours based on audio level changes.
The Flow lights have a reasonably small footprint when placed on the table, they can also be mounted at the back of the monitor or smaller TV. The kit comes with a camera accessory that scans the screen and mimics the colour spill at the back to add an extra bit of immersion. Camera can be mounted at the top or the bottom of the screen, and to be honest it sticks out enough to notice. If you already have something like a light bar on your monitor, then it blends in a bit better. For best results make sure there are no other light sources interfering with the camera. The speed at which it changes colours is very responsive, but in some situations it is a bit too abrupt.
Overall the lights do mostly match the content on the screen. We did not notice it go completely wrong, but don’t always expect it to be 100% exact. Where it struggles the most is in the super bright and super dark scenes. On average the effect is very appealing.
The thing that gives me a little bit of anxiety is the always-on camera on the WiFi capable device scanning the whole of your computer screen. While it is a pretty low quality camera and Govee probably doesn't want to spy on you - that does not mean that others can’t try. I would probably recommend this to be used on the TV instead, where you are less likely to enter any passwords or have anything sensitive on display.
This leads me well to the next item, the Immersion LED strip.
It essentially works the same way and comes with the same camera as Flow lights. The LED strip is 3.8 metres long but it is split into four sections with cable connectors for the corners. It is designed to fit a 55 to 65 inch TV, however if you really feel like it, you could easily mount it on the bottom of a table or anywhere else your heart desires.
In the box Govee includes additional reinforcement clips for corners as this is where the most pressure is created, and over time makes most LED strips simply fall off. We will need to test it longterm to see how well these strips stick to the surface.
While this light isn't exactly cheap for what it is, when comparing it to the likes of Philips Hue, Immersion does seem much better value. With Philips Hue you would also need to buy an additional sync box for the same colour spill functionality. Govee light reads it all through a camera, which is already included in the set.
The light itself is bright and vivid, and when used in video mode can be immersive. However.. when there is a fast paced scene and camera jumps from one location to another - normally there are completely different colours on screen which in turn make the light change abruptly. It can become very distracting, and eventually we tweaked the settings to reduce the saturation.
That helped, mostly because lights became more dull. Another way to smooth it out is to use the Lyra floor lamps to provide some ambience and that smoothes out the effect but now we are talking 350 dollar set-up. I would probably recommend using the video mode while watching something slow paced like documentaries and when there is a lot of action - simply set to a static colour for ambience.
The larger Lyra Corner floor lamp is probably our favourite.
The setup itself was pretty painless: you first have to assemble the aluminium frame which holds the LED light, for this you screw together the metal sections and then attach it to the base. Following this you connect the LED strip to the connector on the base and slide the strip into the groove. Once done, simply plug in the power supply, then add it to the app and you are done.
It works great just on its own as an ambient light in the corner. If you get two of them, then they can be put on opposite sides of a desk to light it and create a very nice atmosphere. Another option is to place them on each side of a large TV. I previously mentioned the light strip, which is only big enough to cover TV up to 65 inches, the Lyra floor lamp is perfect for 75 inches plus, and it would not have any mounting issues nor will it ever fall off.
Another cool accessory is the Glide Wall Light.
It is best suited as an accent to something on the wall such as paintings or pictures. Unfortunately it is limited to making only a straight line or you can add a single corner from the individual kit. On Govee website there are some pictures with multiple lights to make W and M shapes, but you would need to buy different kits so bear that in mind.
The light freshens up any location you can think of putting it in. While we were moving the light around we found an even better use case - lighting up our mini bar. Now when we host a party, there is no way anybody can miss it, the light instantly creates such a party vibe while turned on.
On a flip side, while it is turned off, it kind of looks like a lump of plastic stuck on the wall. I wish there was a bit more design to it.
As far as mounting them, it is pretty simple - you can mount them one at the time and connect additional modules. At the back of the module there is a command strip with velcro, so you have some flexibility. The modules themselves do have a bit of resistance when connecting, so connecting them at an angle and then pressing down is probably the best way. If you want to split the sections, do the same thing - apply a small twisting motion. I would recommend using an extra pair of hands and setting them up without mounting first so you can decide where it will be mounted, then stick it to the wall.
Some of the Govee lights like the floor lamp as well as light strip support segment lighting, this way you can have single light output multiple colours at the same time. This is really nice when doing gradual light transitions or you can simply set it to multiple colours shining at the same time. It can actually be really useful in some home automation scenarios.
Talking about automation, Govee app supports integration with smart assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa. You can set them up as part of larger integration to, for example, speak to your assistant to trigger a routine to set lights to a specific colour in the living room and turn on the TV.
If you are like me - you can go a step further. Govee supports API integration which can be used with Home assistant.
Here I’ve configured it to track when I turn on the TV and as long as the brightness in my room is below 25 LUX, it will turn on the lights. When I enable Emby and press play, it will dim the lights, when I pause whatever I am watching to go to the bathroom or pick up some snacks - the lights get brighter. This makes it easier to navigate the room and see things in the dark without ever needing to say or press anything.
Other things you could set-up are notifications when someone rings the doorbell, your light could flash a specific colour, or one that is most useful right now - set light to red colour while you are in a Zoom meeting, this way your family members know not to disturb you. The possibilities here are endless, you just have to have some creativity and also be willing to tinker with it.
In Govee lineup there is a whole selection of different options to suit most price points and needs, we only covered a few possibilities, I am sure there are many more unique ways of using their lights. If you want to check them out, there are links in the description below.
To sum it all up: I was honestly surprised how well these lights are made, especially if we consider the price point, which in some cases are miles cheaper than a direct competition. And the fact that it has basic Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa integration with no need for additional hubs makes it even more appealing. Yes, there are some things that need some work on improving, but overall I can certainly say that these lights can be a fun way of spicing up your place.
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