Lighting is not just about improving visibility in the darkness but it defines ambience and even has the power to lift your mood. Xiaomi's Mi LED WiFi Smart bulb with 16 million colours, 800 lumens brightness, close to 11 years of run time (claimed by Xiaomi) does all this and is a step ahead. Just plug it in, and it seamlessly fits into your smart home setup.
Design: Rarely do I come across smart bulbs that have an outstanding design as most of them have the same run-of-the mill-design and build quality. However, the Mi LED bulb is rather impressive. Unlike many smart bulbs in the market, this one doesn't have a cheap plastic base. Instead, it has a premium look and feel, and is on the heavier side. You can simply mount it in the socket and it won't spoil your interiors. The only challenge you might face with Mi LED bulb is its E27 (screw base) as this is not a regular in Indian homes. As I had some E27 sockets in my house, it was easy for me to test this. A simple solution to this is - plugging the bulb into a B22 (2-pin) converter that is easily available in the market (costs Rs 100 onwards). I am also using some E27 base bulbs with B22 sockets and have never faced any issue. The Mi LED WiFi Smart Bulb is avaliable for purchase at Rs 1,299.
Setup: This is a hassle-free setup - all it needs is the smart bulb, wireless connection and the Mi Home app. Just plug the bulb in the socket, switch it on and follow the instructions on the Mi Home app (select India region for setup). The app was quick to identify the bulb for pairing. All I had to do was connect it to my WiFi network and rename the bulb as per my liking and assign it to a room. Once paired, I was able to control the bulb, change colour and do more from the app. All of this hardly took less than a minute. The best thing is - the FAQ option within settings helps with almost the questions a first-time smart bulb user might have.
While you have the luxury of controlling Mi LED bulb using the Mi Home app from the comfort of your bed, what's even better is the bulb responding to voice commands. Compatible with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa, I tested the Mi LED bulb with the latter. To enable pairing, I had to use the Alexa app. 'Mi Home' skill was already activated on my Alexa account, but a new user will have to do so by looking for the skill, hitting the 'activate' button and logging in using the same account used for the 'Mi Home' app. Tapping on the '+' initiates Alexa to search for compatible devices available and the LED bulb will be added to the list.
Controls, modes and more: I could turn on/off the bulbs right from the switchboard but then what's the point of these smart features? Instead, I preferred using it with the Mi Home app and voice commands.
The app is intuitive to use. There are five different icons at the bottom, offering a world of controls. First is the power icon, using which I was able to turn it on and off with a touch. The rest four - 'white', 'color', 'flow' and 'favourites' - can be used for changing colours, control brightness and more. Using the 'white' mode, I was able to choose between the white and yellow colour palette. I used the 'color' icon to switch between blue, yellow, green, pink, red and so many more shades. In 'flow' mode, the colour of LED would change automatically after every few seconds. Just like many other smart bulb apps, even this has some predefined modes under 'favorites' - candle, romantic, movie, sunset and more. I was able to add my personal favourites too and even schedule the timings when the bulb will turn on and switch off. All these features are available on the Mi Home app available for iOS and Android both. But Android users also get to choose the colour from an image and the bulb replicates the same.
What's even more convenient is to command Alexa to control the bulb. I don't have an Echo smart speaker in my bedroom but a command to Alexa over the Fire TV Stick or even the Alexa app worked. Pairing multiple smart Mi LED bulbs in a room to control them with a single voice command is also possible through voice assistant app. Even this works for changing colours, controlling brightness and more. Most importantly, even if you don't have a smart speaker (Amazon Echo home family) you will be still able to give voice commands through the Alexa app.
Verdict: I have reviewed many smart LED bulbs in the past but none came close to the Mi LED. While many of them were from start-ups (which no longer exist and therefore no customer support), I experienced pairing issues with the ones even from established brands. This Mi LED WiFi smart bulb, on the other hand, works smoothly, responds to voice command and also comes with an assurance of being a Xiaomi product.