The maker of our favourite budget-priced shade A19 sensible bulb is again with a slew of latest sensible lights, together with this Edison-style ST19 filament bulb. Priced at an inexpensive $13 (or $75 for a six-pack), the tunable white Cree Lighting Linked Max ST19 boasts straightforward setup; connects on to Wi-Fi networks; helps Alexa, Google Assistant, and SmartThings; and packs a formidable arsenal of automation instruments. However the quirky Cree app may be complicated to make use of (why should you group lights which are already in a room?), and the ST19’s lowest brightness setting continues to be a bit brilliant for our style.
Cree Lighting provides a variety of bulbs in its Linked Max line, together with a shade A19 bulb that’s our present Editors’ Alternative for budget-priced sensible bulbs. Again in Might, Cree unveiled a collection of latest Linked Max merchandise, together with this ST19 filament bulb. Among the many different bulbs in Cree’s newest batch are tunable white A19, B11 candelabra, and globe-shaped G25 filament bulbs, which all value $12.99 every. The corporate additionally unleashed a six-inch shade downlight for $19.99. We’ll have a assessment of that product shortly.
This assessment is a part of TechHive’s protection of one of the best sensible lighting, the place you’ll discover critiques of the competitors’s choices, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you must contemplate when purchasing for such a product.
The Cree Lighting Linked Max ST19 bulb is a tunable mannequin with a “straight tubular,” Edison-style classic form. Seen inside the clear bulb are two pairs of straight filaments, one hotter and one cooler; by glowing at totally different intensities, these filaments mix to ship white shade temperatures starting from a heat 2,200 Kelvin to a a lot cooler 6,500Okay (equal to sunlight on a hazy day). Geared up with an E26 base, the Cree ST19 bulb will screw into a normal mild socket.
Rated to shine at as much as a typical 800 lumens, the Cree ST19 bulb had no hassle illuminating my workplace, however I’ve an uncommon criticism about its brightness: particularly, that it by no means will get all that dim. Even once I dialed the bulb’s brightness to absolutely the minimal, the ST19 remained a tad too brilliant, which implies you must assume twice earlier than utilizing it in a bed room as an evening mild.
The Cree ST19 bulb arrives with each Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios, however its Bluetooth performance is just for pairing the bulb with the Cree app. To manage the ST19 bulb, you’ll want to attach it to your Wi-Fi community. As a result of it connects on to Wi-Fi, there’s no want for a dear hub or wi-fi bridge.
Earlier than you begin including bulbs to the Cree Lighting app, you’ll first must register an account. Refreshingly, you possibly can register utilizing both your Fb or Apple account (not Google, sadly), which saves you the effort of making a password. That mentioned, you can create an account utilizing your electronic mail deal with, if you want.
There are two strategies of pairing a bulb to the Cree app: both through an “auto scan” mode, which lets you add a number of bulbs on the similar time, or manually, which entails connecting your telephone to a brief native Wi-Fi community created by the bulb.
Usually talking, I discover such “auto scan” modes to be hit and miss—most definitely miss—however in Cree’s case, the app managed to search out the ST19 bulb (together with one other Cree bulb I’m testing) inside a number of seconds, aided by the bulb’s Bluetooth radio. As soon as the app discovered the bulb, it went by means of the method of including it to my Wi-Fi community; after all, you’ll want to select your SSID and enter your community password.
Like most Wi-Fi-enabled sensible bulbs, the Cree ST19 solely helps the two.4GHz Wi-Fi band, however not 5GHz networks. In case you’re utilizing a dual-band Wi-Fi router that makes use of the identical SSID for each networks, you’ll must disable the 5GHz community earlier than pairing the bulb, though you possibly can at all times flip it again on as soon as the pairing course of is accomplished.
Options and performance
With the ST19 added to the Cree Lighting app, I might then add it to a room in my dwelling; a dozen rooms are already configured (yard, rest room, bed room, eating room, and so on.) or you possibly can create your individual. Confusingly, nonetheless, you received’t be capable of management all of the bulbs in a room concurrently with out making a separate group for them first. Which means it’s possible you’ll end up creating (say) a “Kitchen” group within the “Kitchen” room, which appears a tad redundant. Nonetheless, Cree’s grouping performance does mean you can management teams of lights throughout totally different rooms.
In case you faucet on a bulb or a lightweight group, you’ll arrive at a sexy interface with a brightness slider, together with a shade temperature palate and 7 one-touch shade temp buttons. You may as well faucet the “Scene” tab to select from six totally different lighting scenes: Chill out, Focus, Energize, Evening Mild (which, as I famous earlier, isn’t very dim), Studying, and TV Time. You may modify the settings for every scene, however oddly, you possibly can’t create new ones. A Schedule tab permits you to create a one-time, each day, or weekly schedule, and you may set a schedule to start or finish at dawn or sundown. After you create a dawn or sundown schedule, nonetheless, the dawn and sundown instances received’t change mechanically on subsequent days.
Apart from customary schedules, you possibly can set get up/fall asleep instances that progressively brighten or dim the sunshine within the mornings and evenings (you possibly can set the ramp up/down time anyplace from 5 minutes all the best way as much as two hours), in addition to set off a countdown timer. There’s additionally a “dusk-to-dawn” function that progressively modifications the brightness and shade temperature of the bulb based on the time of day. In contrast to a real circadian rhythm mode, nonetheless, Cree’s dusk-to-dawn function adjusts your lights on a set schedule somewhat than basing it on the seasonal daylight in your explicit area.
The Cree app boasts some highly effective—if bewildering—automation instruments (related variations of which I’ve seen on apps from different sensible dwelling producers). Automations may be triggered by an virtually absurdly extensive number of circumstances, starting from air temperature and wind pace to humidity to dawn or sundown—so sure, for those who ever needed your lights to activate when it begins raining exterior, now’s your likelihood. Automations may also be triggered on a schedule, or when the standing of a tool modifications (for instance, if certainly one of your lights activates or off). You may as well create “tap-to-run” automations that present up as scenes within the Alexa app, or as Siri shortcuts.
Sensible dwelling integrations
The Cree ST19 bulb helps each Alexa and Google Assistant, which implies you possibly can management the bulb utilizing voice management or through the Alexa or Google Dwelling apps. You may as well add the Cree bulb to Alexa and Google Assistant routines, together with dawn/sundown schedules (which are tied to the precise dawn or sundown on any given day, not simply the day once you initially set the schedule). Certainly, if the Cree app is simply too complicated or intimidating, you might merely management the ST19 utilizing both the Alexa or Google Dwelling apps following the preliminary pairing course of.
Apart from Alexa and Google Assistant, Cree not too long ago added SmartThings assist for its Linked Max bulbs, together with the ST19. You may as well flip “tap-to-run” automations into Siri shortcuts, however the bulb doesn’t provide true HomeKit assist, which implies you received’t be capable of management it utilizing Siri voice instructions.
The Cree Lighting Linked Max ST19 is enticingly cheap for a tunable filament bulb, and whereas the Cree app is considerably quirky, there’s nothing stopping you from controlling it solely with both Alexa or Google Assistant voice instructions (or their respective apps). That mentioned, I used to be disenchanted that this 800-lumen bulb can’t get dimmer than it does, and HomeKit customers must look elsewhere.