The maker of our favourite budget-priced shade A19 good bulb is again with a slew of latest good lights, together with this Edison-style ST19 filament bulb. Priced at an affordable $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 powerful arsenal of automation instruments. However the quirky Cree app could be complicated to make use of (why should you group lights which can be already in a room?), and the ST19’s lowest brightness setting continues to be a bit vibrant for our style.
Cree Lighting presents a variety of bulbs in its Linked Max line, together with a shade A19 bulb that’s our present Editors’ Selection for budget-priced good 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 price $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 good lighting, the place you’ll discover critiques of the competitors’s choices, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you must think about when purchasing for any such 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 6,500K (equal to sunlight on a hazy day). Outfitted with an E26 base, the Cree ST19 bulb will screw into a typical mild socket.
Rated to shine at as much as a typical 800 lumens, the Cree ST19 bulb had no bother illuminating my workplace, however I’ve an uncommon criticism about its brightness: specifically, that it by no means will get all that dim. Even after I dialed the bulb’s brightness to absolutely the minimal, the ST19 remained a tad too vibrant, which suggests 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 an expensive hub or wi-fi bridge.
Earlier than you begin including bulbs to the Cree Lighting app, you’ll first have to register an account. Refreshingly, you may check in utilizing both your Fb or Apple account (not Google, sadly), which saves you the trouble of making a password. That stated, 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 by way of an “auto scan” mode, which lets you add a number of bulbs on the similar time, or manually, which includes 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—almost definitely miss—however in Cree’s case, the app managed to seek out the ST19 bulb (together with one other Cree bulb I’m testing) inside a couple of seconds, aided by the bulb’s Bluetooth radio. As soon as the app discovered the bulb, it went by the method of including it to my Wi-Fi community; in fact, you’ll want to select your SSID and enter your community password.
Like most Wi-Fi-enabled good 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 have to disable the 5GHz community earlier than pairing the bulb, though you may 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 may then add it to a room in my residence; a dozen rooms are already configured (yard, toilet, bed room, eating room, and so on.) or you may create your individual. Confusingly, nonetheless, you received’t be capable to management all of the bulbs in a room concurrently with out making a separate group for them first. Meaning you could 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 light-weight group, you’ll arrive at a pretty 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: Loosen up, Focus, Energize, Evening Gentle (which, as I famous earlier, isn’t very dim), Studying, and TV Time. You may regulate the settings for every scene, however oddly, you may’t create new ones. A Schedule tab helps you to create a one-time, every day, or weekly schedule, and you’ll 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 routinely on subsequent days.
Moreover normal schedules, you may set get up/fall asleep instances that regularly brighten or dim the sunshine within the mornings and evenings (you may set the ramp up/down time wherever from 5 minutes all the way in which as much as two hours), in addition to set off a countdown timer. There’s additionally a “dusk-to-dawn” characteristic that regularly modifications the brightness and shade temperature of the bulb in keeping with the time of day. In contrast to a real circadian rhythm mode, nonetheless, Cree’s dusk-to-dawn characteristic adjusts your lights on a hard and fast schedule relatively than basing it on the seasonal daylight in your specific area.
The Cree app boasts some highly effective—if bewildering—automation instruments (related variations of which I’ve seen on apps from different good residence producers). Automations could be triggered by an nearly absurdly extensive number of situations, starting from air temperature and wind velocity to humidity to dawn or sundown—so sure, in case you ever needed your lights to activate when it begins raining outdoors, now’s your likelihood. Automations can be triggered on a schedule, or when the standing of a tool modifications (for instance, if considered 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 residence integrations
The Cree ST19 bulb helps each Alexa and Google Assistant, which suggests you may management the bulb utilizing voice management or by way of 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.
Moreover Alexa and Google Assistant, Cree lately 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 supply true HomeKit assist, which suggests you received’t be capable to 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 stated, I used to be disillusioned that this 800-lumen bulb can’t get dimmer than it does, and HomeKit customers must look elsewhere.