2023 Review of the Roku Smart Bulb SE Color

Cupertino, August 11, 2023

Smart bulbs used to be expensive and almost all of them relied on a hub to connect to your home network. But newer options, including the Roku Smart Bulb SE Color ($9.88 for one, $17.99 for a pack of two) have neither downside. This multicolored LED bulb supports voice and app control and can be easily combined with other Roku products. That said, it doesn't work with nearly as many third-party smart home devices as the similarly priced Wyze Bulb Color ($22.99 for a pack of two), which remains our Editors' Choice winner.

Bright Colors, Limited Interactions

Roku's A19 shaped LED bulb has a standard E26 screw base. It measures 5.0 inches long by 2.5 inches wide and can display 16 million colors. The dimmable light has a brightness range between 30 and 1,100 lumens and the white light temperature range goes from 1,800K (warm) to 6,500K (cool). The bulb should last over 22 years (25,000 hours) depending on usage, which is about average for an LED. The Wyze Bulb Color has identical specs for comparison.

The Bulb SE Color uses a built-in 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radio to connect to your home network and a Bluetooth radio to pair with Roku's mobile app. It works with Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls, as well as Roku's voice service if you connect it to a compatible media streaming device like the Roku Ultra. You can also configure it to communicate with Roku's other smart home devices. However, it doesn't support HomeKit, IFTTT (unlike the Wyze Bulb Color), or Matter. This light doesn't offer any transition or special mood lighting effects, but it does have a handful of useful features, such as sleep routines (which simulate sunrise lighting to help you wake up in the morning and sunset lighting to help you fall asleep at night) and Sun Match (which automatically adjusts the color temperature to mimic natural sunlight). The app also includes a handful of preset color and white temperature scenes. Unfortunately, you can't sync it with your TV for supplemental lighting like you can with a Philips Hue smart light.

Roku Smart Bulb SE Color App Experience

The bulb uses the same Roku Smart Home app (available for Android and iOS) as other Roku devices such as the Indoor Smart Plug SE and the Indoor Camera 360 SE. It appears in a panel with a power button on the main app screen. Tap that section to access a large color wheel that lets you choose a custom color for the bulb. There's also a brightness slider and a choice of four white color temperature and full-color scenes (or presets). Select the Temperature tab to access a white temperature wheel that lets you choose a custom hue. A gear icon in the top right corner takes you to the Settings screen. Here you can configure sleep routines, create scenes, set an on/off timer, enable Sun Match mode, and enable vacation mode (the lamp turns on and off at random times to make it look like someone's home when you're not are at home).). Tap the Rules option to create shortcuts for controlling multiple Roku devices with one tap, create on/off schedules, configure location-based triggers, and create rules for Roku devices to activate the bulb and vice versa.

Roku Smart Bulb Setup and Performance

You'll need to install the Roku mobile app and create an account to use this bulb, but the entire setup process shouldn't take more than a few minutes. To get started, simply tap the plus icon in the top left corner of the main screen, select Add Device and choose the Smart Bulb color from the Lights & Power menu. Follow the instructions to screw in the lamp; when it starts to pulse, tap Next to pair the bulb with the app. Next, enter your Wi-Fi credentials, name the bulb, and install any available firmware updates to complete the setup. The Roku lamp worked well during testing. It delivers warm, yellowish whites at low temperatures and cool, bluish whites at high temperatures, while colors across the spectrum appear bright and saturated. The lamp has no trouble following schedules and responds immediately to app commands. Alexa voice commands to change colors, adjust brightness, and turn the bulb on and off work flawlessly. The Sun Match setting works as intended, with the bulb automatically adjusting to provide warm white light in the morning and cooler white light in the evening. Sleep mode works well; the lamp shines in a warm, dim white hue in the morning, gradually getting cooler and brighter throughout the day, then slowly dimming until it gets dark at night. A rule I created to turn on the bulb and display a red color scene at 50% brightness when a Roku Indoor Camera 360 SE detects motion worked flawlessly, as did an Alexa routine to turn on the bulb when an Arlo Pro 5S camera captures motion.

An Affordable, Colorful Smart Bulb

At just under $10 per bulb, the Roku Smart Bulb SE Color is an inexpensive smart lighting solution that works especially well in homes with other Roku devices. It offers adjustable whites, a palette of 16 million colors and brightness dimming, while support for app and voice commands makes customization easy. That said, if your smart home contains devices from many different brands, the Wyze Bulb Color remains a better choice as it works with IFTTT. That advantage is ultimately why it retains our Editors' Choice award for smart bulbs despite its slightly higher cost.

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