These days, it seems like just about every company is selling a smart light bulb. WiZ is the of the newer smart lights on the block, likely one that you haven't heard of before. But they have a slew of smart lights they are just introducing to the North American market. So now do these light bulbs stack up to a large number of competitors out there? We were able to get our hands on the WiZ Color A.E26 bulb and put it to the test. The pack that we are reviewing today is the two-pack of the A.E26 color bulbs and WiZmote, which retails for $69.95. From our viewpoint, it stands up quite well against other bulbs, but how well? Let's find out.
Unboxing and Setup
Opening the box, you'll find the two light bulbs and remote front-and-center right inside. WiZ has done something interesting with the paperwork, and many of you probably don't care that much as let's face it, many people don’t read the manual anyway. But with WiZ, it's in a clean and well designed ‘envelope’ that is attached to the top of the box. It keeps it out of the way, and makes the unboxing experience a bit nicer and cleaner.
Now to get started, you'll need to put the bulb into a lamp and download the WiZ app from Google Play. Once you've done that, open the app and begin the setup process, which starts by choosing which room you are putting the light in from a pretty extensive list of options. After that, the app instructs you to put in your WiFi credentials, and this is so that it can be transferred to the light bulb. It'll then attempt to find and pair with the bulb, which happens when you flip the light on and off about 3 or 5 times (it usually worked after 3 times for myself, but it may take up to 5 times) and the light will start to pulse blue. That basically puts it into pairing mode for the app to work with the bulb and get everything set up from there. That short process is really it, for setting it up.
It was fairly simple, however if you do have a 2.4GHz and a 5GHz network in your home, you will need to go ahead and switch your phone to the 2.4GHz network as these bulbs will not work on the 5GHz network. It's something I had to do and made the setup process just a tiny bit longer. But it was still pretty fast. Now, if after it is all set up and you notice that you aren't able to change the color or even turn it off from the app, don't worry, just manually turn it off then back on and you should be good to go. I did have that issue after initially setting it up, but that's an easy fix.
The WiZ App
WiZ has an app on the Google Play Store which you'll use to setup these two bulbs and control them within your house. The app is actually designed pretty well. It's easy to use, and provides a slew of options when it comes to colors, whites, brightness, scheduling and more. You're able to rename these bulbs, which is a great feature to have, especially if you have a ton of bulbs in the same room in your home. This way you will know which is which, of course that is vitally important.
At the top of the app, you'll see different rooms for the different lights that you have. For instance, I only have the living room set up right now, so that's the only room you see in the screenshots below, along with a plus sign. In that room, you'll see the different lights available, and can control them from there. Towards the bottom, you can select different colors, or ‘Dynamic’ modes (also known as ‘themes’ with other smart bulbs). There are a few other ‘Progressive’ options like ‘Bedtime’ and ‘Wakeup’,, that last 30 minutes and either brighten or dim depending on which you choose to start or end your day. Also, there are options for celebrations, like Christmas and Halloween, and finally, ‘functional’ options like ‘Plant growth’ and ‘Night light’. Out of the 16 million colors that are available, you have the option to choose a custom color if you'd like too. What I particularly like about that, is that instead of giving you a 6-digit HEX code for that color, it tells you the actual name for that color, like ‘Electric Purple’, ‘Deep Sky’, ‘Blue’ or ‘Lawn Green.’ Which I find much nicer than a random 6-digit alphanumerical code.
As with most smart lights, you are able to create a schedule for these bulbs. So, you can choose to have them turn on or off at a certain time, and also choose what mode they turn on in. For instance, you could set them up to turn on when the sun starts to go down, and there's no more sunlight coming into your living room or another section of the home. There's also a vacation option, which allows the WiZ bulbs to automatically turn on and off to simulate someone being home when you aren't home, this is to deter would-be robbers.
Instead of just using the app to control these lights, WiZ has also included a remote, which it calls the WiZmote. It's a very simple remote with only 9 buttons. It basically has an on and off button at the top, and the "on" button is in blue so that it stands out a bit more. Under these is a nightlight button and four buttons (numbered from 1 to 4). These are presets that you can create from within the app. If you want to use a specific dynamic mode often, then you can map it to one of these buttons. And below that is your brightness toggle. The WiZmote is powered by two AAA batteries, which are not included so you'll want to keep that in mind when purchasing. However, the remote is not needed to use these bulbs, it's just an added feature to make things easier.
Using the Bulbs
These bulbs from WiZ do offer up over 16 million different colors, and there are over 64,000 different whites available, allowing you to really get any color you want. Whether you are looking for just some simple white lights for your home that can be controlled from your phone or voice, or add some color to the room, WiZ does a good job here. In fact, if having full color isn’t your thing, they also have a “white” version of these bulbs that give you access to 64,000 different option of white light. WiZ also makes it easy to use these light bulbs. You to simply tell the Google Assistant to turn on the bulbs, or open the app and tap them on. It really can't get any easier than that.
WiZ has made sure that these bulbs get nice and bright, with more lumens than Philips Hue, which is also good to see. There have been some other light bulbs we've reviewed in the past that haven't really gotten that bright, and that is not the case here with the WiZ bulbs. And because these are E26 style bulbs, they can be put into virtually any lamp or light fixture in your home.
Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant Integration
WiZ has hit both nails here and support both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, which means whether you have an Echo Dot or a Google Home, you can control these lights with your voice. Getting it set up with these assistants is actually very easy, almost easier than its competitors like Nanoleaf and LIFX.
With Alexa, you'll need to find the WiZ skill, which there are two, I enabled the Smart Home skill instead of the advanced one. From there, you'll enable it and Alexa will take you to WiZ's website to get things paired up. You'll need to us a code that is automatically generated in the WiZ app. To do this, you'll need to go through to the settings and find the Alexa section at the bottom. Flip the switch for the Smart Home Skill and the code will be made available. From there, you'll just add that to the Alexa app, and you are good to go. Google Assistant is basically the same, setup-wise. But there's just one option. Google Assistant does force you to add that light to a room, and this is so that if you have multiple bulbs in the same room, you can tell Google to just turn off the lights in one room, instead of individually.
Using WiZ lights with Google Home or Amazon Alexa is about what you would expect, it works with your voice just fine. It is a bit slower on Google Home than it is on Alexa, and that is also the case with some other bulbs - but if you have just one of these assistants, you likely won't even notice the difference, to be honest.
While the smart light industry is really competitive right now, and WiZ is just getting its footing in the smart lighting market, it has created a great product here that works well and offers a great user experience. Having integration with both the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa is a pretty big deal, and that might be the feature that really makes the WiZ A.E26 bulbs worth picking up, especially if you are building your smart home around one of those personal assistants.
The full range of WiZ connected lights will soon be available online at Home Depot and Amazon starting at $24.90 for a single adjustable white bulb and $34.90 for a single full color/white combination bulb.