WiZ LED Strip Review: The More Affordable Smart Home Lighting Option for Everyone!
I love my Philips Hue light strips. They're my primary light source in my room, with one right above my desk and another taped around the back of my bedframe, and the two strips are both bright enough for daily work and when I want to wind down. The one problem? A complete set-up can get really expensive if you're factoring in accessories like the Hue Bridge for the full set of features like automation, out-of-home control, switches and more.
Well, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) clearly sees a market in the more affordable smart lighting category, and that's where the company's sub-brand WiZ comes in. The first major difference would be in the price: the 2-metre WiZ LED Strip starts at S$104.90 while the RRP for the 2-metre Philips Hue v4 Lightstrip Plus base kit is S$149. A 1-metre extension for WiZ sells at S$27.90 while the Philips Hue 1-metre extension has an RRP of S$49. Assuming you want, perhaps, nine metres all around your house split evenly into three different areas, that's a total cost of S$398.40 for the WiZ lights versus S$594 for the Philips Hue lights.
A S$200 difference is pretty big, and that's not even factoring in the cost of the Philips Hue Bridge yet, which is another S$89 at RRP.
With the difference in price though, you should expect to see fewer features offered in the WiZ app. For example, the biggest omission would be Apple HomeKit support, although Siri shortcuts on iPhone is supported. There is, however, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support. There is also no sunrise and sunset option when you're scheduling the lights to automatically turn on or off.
That being said, there are features that are present such as dynamic light scenes where the lights can change colours automatically, and the biggest selling point for me is that the WiZ lights connect via Wi-Fi directly so you can control them even when you're out and about without the need for something like the Hue Bridge. Unfortunately, some of the most convenient features, which are geofencing and location-based features, aren't available on the WiZ lights. It's something that I've gotten used to, having my lights automatically turn on when I come home and turn off when I leave, and it's a bit of a bummer that WiZ doesn't offer this. There is, however, a vacation mode, which turns the lights on and off to mimic having someone at home in an attempt to deter thieves.
Both lights also offer a circadian rhythm feature, which is nice. That being said, while you can choose custom colours in the app, there isn't a very wide variety of dynamic or static presets available. That's one aspect where the Philips Hue app wins out by far.
But let's get into what you actually get in the box. It's pretty simplistic. You get a power adapter, a controller and the 2-metre strip which comes with pre-installed adhesive for easy installation. There are also two paper pamphlets in the box, one is a quick setup guide that tells you to install the WiZ Connected app for pairing, while the other one is a more detailed setup guide that shows you exactly how to connect the controller to the light strip. I highly recommend reading this first, just in case. Another point to note here, I absolutely love that the light strip, controller and power adapter are all separate. Meaning if you ever need to change out the controller or power adapter, you can, provided that you can find a spare one.
Set up is a breeze, all I had to do is connect all the parts together, plug it into a power socket and we're good to go. Of course, you'll want to get the app for the best experience.
The WiZ light strip can get up to 1,600 lumens of brightness, which is the exact same as the Philips Hue light strips, which is a big plus. Colours are nice and vibrant as well, supporting 16 million colours just like the Philips lights, although I do have to point out that I really like the fact that the WiZ app will actually tell you the shade of the colour you're currently selecting, as opposed to Philips. Something I noticed is that while there's pretty much no difference when it comes to cool and warm light, the difference between the reds on both lights is noticeable.
The red on the WiZ light is a bit less vibrant compared to the Philips Hue light. The yellow also feels a bit dim with a hint of orange, but aside from those, the blues and greens are very pleasant.
I did check in with the brand and each starter kit can be extended up to 10 metres, which is the same as the Philips Hue light strips, so they will be able to cover pretty much any space you desire. There's also the ability to trim the strips down, although the guide does depict trimming at the connector pins which are 12.5cm apart, so that's the one (small) limitation here.
All in all, if I was new to the smart lighting scene, I would probably opt to go for WiZ instead of Philips Hue, mostly in part due to the price difference. The WiZ LED Strip might lack some of the features available with the Philips Hue light strip but they're an excellent and affordable option for people looking to get into smart lighting.