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TP-LINK LB130

WI-Fi LED Bulb with color Changing Hue
At a glance
ProductTP-LINK WI-Fi LED Bulb with color Changing Hue (LB130)   [Website]
Summary11 W 800 lumens color Wi-Fi Smart Bulb
Pros• Works with Amazon Alexa
• Supports sunrise/sunset scheduling
• Works from anywhere
• Measures energy usage for the day, week and 30 days along with a yearly estimate
Cons• Requires internet connection to work
• No RGB values or color temperature (white) numerical values appear on control panel
• No support for IFTTT
• Can't control colors or color temperature via Alexa (yet)

Typical Price: $35  Buy From Amazon

Several months ago, I reviewed the TP-LINK LB120 Smart Wi-Fi LED bulb. It was a tunable white light bulb. In this portion of our color Wi-Fi Smart Bulb roundup, I'll be looking at the LB120's color sibling, the LB130. The LB130 is very similar to the LB120. It uses an updated version of the KASA app which also works with the other versions of TP-LINK bulbs. Many of the screens are identical to what was in the previous review, so I urge you take a quick look at it.

Setup

Since I've previously reviewed TP-LINK smart bulbs, I already had an account and the KASA application was installed on both my iPad and my Samsung S7. To add the LB130, I simply opened the KASA app, tapped the "+" icon in the upper right corner of the screen and selected Smart Bulb as the device to add. All you have to do manually is connect to the unconfigured TP-LINK Smart Bulb's Wi-Fi network and return to the KASA app. When prompted, I named the LB130 "Color 1", and setup was complete.

For the LB120, the application presented a choice of either White or Circadian. Circadian is a mode that adjusts the color temperature and brightness throughout the day. As I'm writing this review near the end of the day, I've had the LB130 in Circadian mode. I've noticed that the color has gotten to be a warmer white and that the brightness has been decreasing as it gets later in the afternoon. For the LB130, the KASA app adds color to your choices of White and Circadian modes.

Here's an updated look at the home screen of the KASA app that shows the addition of the LB130 (Color One). Here you can see that the LB130 is set to blue at 20% brightness. The other two bulbs, both LB120s, are set to a warm white at 20%. For the two LB120 bulbs, you can see that the next scheduled event is to turn off at 11:00 PM today.

TP-LINK KASA home page showing three TP-LINK Bulbs
TP-LINK KASA home page showing three TP-LINK Bulbs

If you tap on the Color One bulb, you'll see the control panel for that bulb. You have a choice of White (l) Circadian (c) and Color. To adjust the color, merely drag the cursor to the desired color. Across the bottom of the screen, there's a slider to control brightness. Unlike either of the other two products in this roundup, there's no numerical value associated with the associated color or color temperature. This makes it more difficult to configure two bulbs exactly for the exact same color.

TP-LINK color control for the LB130 Smart Bulb
TP-LINK color control for the LB130 Smart Bulb

Since all of the TP-LINK Smart Home products use the same KASA app, I updated my scenes to include the LB130. I also created the same sunset on schedule for the LB130. I noted in my previous review that scheduling options and Scenes didn't appear in the iOS version of the software. I'm happy to report that the latest version of KASA addressed that shortcoming, and you can create/edit scenes and schedules on either iOS or Android.

As you would expect, the LB130, like the LB120 bulbs, monitors energy usage. Though I've only been using the LB130 for a brief period of time, I have had the pair of LB120s in my dining room lamps for several months. Both lamps are scheduled to turn on at sunset and turn off at 11:00 PM. With more than 30 days of usage, the screenshot below shows the 30-day average usage and the estimated annual savings. Over time, this will be updated as the days start getting longer, and the lights are on for a shorter period of time each day.

TP-LINK LB120 30-day usage
TP-LINK LB120 30-day usage

Alexa Support

As with the LB120 bulbs, the LB130 Color bulb also works with Alexa. Since I already had the KASA skill enabled on my Amazon Echo, very little was required to get the LB130 enabled for Alexa. Just click on Discover devices in the Smart Home menu in your Alexa app. Unfortunately, you can't control either the color or the color temperature (for white) via Alexa - yet. TP-LINK says that additional control for TP-LINK bulbs is in the works.

One final note. Like its LB120 sibling, the LB130 requires an internet connection to function, even for local control.

Closing Thoughts

There are no real losers in this roundup. All products performed their advertised functions, i.e. connecting via Wi-Fi and producing a wide range of colored light. But each product had one or more features that the others lacked. So if you're looking for one product that does everything, the solution depends on what "everything" is.

At $28, the LOFTEK-SANSI bulb was the cheapest, had the fewest features and was the most difficult to set up. It also had what some might consider deal breakers: lack of Alexa support; and no scheduling. Still, for a party room or to add some mood lighting to a room, the LOFTEK-SANSI is an inexpensive way to go. But without Alexa integration, which LOFTEK said is coming in 2017 products, you'll be stuck using the Stellar application.

The TP-LINK LB130, at $50, is a mid-range product with mid-range features. It's easy to set up, provides good scheduling capabilities, has the unique feature of monitoring energy usage and a good set of Alexa skills. Its main negative is that it requires an internet connection to function at all. Having used Alexa to control TP-LINK bulbs for three months, I can attest its Alexa skills work quite well. The upgraded TP-LINK KASA app addressed a problem identified in my earlier review, and both the iOS and Android software seems solid. Having seen the other two products, I wish the KASA software provided the ability to see colors/hues and color temperatures numerically. And upgraded Alexa support for colors and colors as well as IFTTT support would be welcome upgrades.

At $60, the LIFX Gen 3 is the most expensive bulb in the roundup and the most fully-featured. I especially like that in addition to color and brightness, you can also control color saturation. I also like that you can control the colors (somewhat) with a second Alexa skill, but I have to remember to tell Alexa to "Ask LIFX to change office to xxx". The skill to control the color lacks the ability to address the device name (desk lamp). However, it's currently the only Alexa-enabled Smart Home product that I've tested that does provide any control of color using your voice.

I'm also a big fan of IFTTT. So LIFX as a supported service made me happy and I'll be creating some new applets to make use of the LIFX bulb. The Windows 10 application was a bit disappointing. I didn't expect it would have a subset of features found in both mobile apps. Still, for someone who is frequently bound to a desktop computer, the ability to pin control panel menus to the Windows 10 Start menu will be useful. I'm confident that the Windows 10 app will be brought up at least par with the mobile apps. For the extra $10 compared to the TP-LINK, the LIFX bulb adds features and functions I'd be willing to pay for.

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