The $ 40 color light bulb is over. For me, anyway. And I’m not willing to calculate how much I’ve invested in Hue over the years, as it would definitely make me shudder.
For a long time, Hue was the only game in town. But in recent years there have been solid options, with falling prices. Wyze started making a positive noise a few weeks ago, announcing cheap color bulbs, possibly with white label, and only comes in sets of four ($ 10.75 / bulb) when available in April. However, last fall, pioneering Cree LED launched a new line of connected bulbs … including an A19 color that truly achieves the magic price of $ 10. And you can even walk into Lowes to get one today.
While the original Cree Connected was an application-free Zigbee app, the new Cree Connected Max line incorporates a Bluetooth + WiFi module for seamless interaction. And the new Cree Lighting smartphone app, with Tuya support, incorporates many of the features you’d expect, including groups, scenes, and programs … along with the necessary Alexa and Google Home integrations. In addition, Cree offers some advanced features right in front of you, such as audio lighting synchronization and adaptive “follow the sun” lighting, without the need for third-party applications or having to delve into Hue Labs.
Testing a Cree in the last few days, all I have to say is: Color bulb; for 10 USD! From an established company. It does exactly what you’d expect, pretty good and at a compelling price. And, as my family plans for a future move, I’m planning the connected Cree color in all sorts of places I wouldn’t have considered before. Cheaper than a Hue White bulb and only $ 2 more than a pure adjustable Cree white, why not go wild? Look, here’s a 6-color pack worth $ 57 – less than $ 10 a light bulb. The only caveats we need to be aware of are that Cree doesn’t yet natively support HomeKit, which could be a compromise for some and they haven’t implemented local Bluetooth control beyond setup yet. But Cree seems pretty dedicated to this space, so beyond the current Connected Max line, I imagine we’ll see additional bulb styles, switch / dimmer accessories, and extended functionality along the way. Here’s hoping!