Once an expensive idea of science fiction, the smart home is now here, with millions of us using smart speakers and other connected devices every day. The Amazon Echo (with Alexa) and Google Home (with Google Assistant) have become wildly popular over the last couple of years, and slowly but surely people have been adding other smart devices into the mix alongside them from smart cameras, doorbells, plugs, and lights.
One of the major things holding people back from making a smarter home has been the difficulty in setting up some of the smart devices and the need for a central Internet of Things (IoT) home hub that controls them all, with each manufacturer using different technologies and not all designed to play well together.
In an effort to simplify matters, networking firm TP-Link launched its own Kasa Smart line of products, which work effortlessly with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as IFTTT (If This Then That). And most importantly do not need a home hub and instead connect directly to your WiFi network and can be controlled via an app.
The KL50 smart light bulb looks just like any other standard LED filament light bulb, with its E27 screw fitting and regular A60 shape – these are the standard bulbs many of us have everywhere from ceiling lights to lamps.
- 60W equivalent LED light bulb (7W actual power draw)
- E27 screw fitting
- Standard A60 bulb size/shape
- Max brightness: 800 lumens
- 15,000 hours life
- 2700K soft white light
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- Android or iOS apps required
- Energy class: A++
- Download the Kasa Home app – Android / iOS – and sign up for a free account
- Open the app and click on Add Device >> Smart Bulbs >> Filament LED Bulb
- Following the instructions in the app, install the lightbulb into your light fitting
- Switch on the light and wait five seconds to see the light start to flash
- Click “Next” in the app and wait while Kasa sets up the smart light – this took 2-3 minutes
- Choose a name for the light/room and you are all set
The KL50 is controlled via the Kasa app, which gives you the option to dim the light (from 0-100% brightness) as well as switch it on and off. It also lets you schedule when the light will go on or when it should switch itself off, and set presets for quick access to any function.
With just one lightbulb, everything is pretty straightforward, but where the Kasa system comes into its own is when you can setup multiple lights or other connected devices to act in groups – so for example a single click could dim all the lights in the sitting room for a film night, or switch off every light except the desk in a bedroom for bed-time reading.
The app will also track electricity usage of each smart device, and once you have one or more Kasa devices setup, it is pretty straightforward to control them via Google Assistant (guide), Amazon Alexa (guide) for voice control, or IFTTT (guide) for automating the lights with a variety of other triggers.
The KL50 is one of the new breed of smart lights that “just work” – there’s very little setup and you don’t need to first buy a hub to get started. In our tests, the setup went smoothly, and the light behaves just as you would hope – being able to switch it on/off, choose its brightness, and scheduling timings is a breeze with the Kasa app.
Price at time of review: £14.99 at Amazon.co.uk