The task of being a smart light is an odd one.
Flicking a switch will, oftentimes, be easier than opening an app and toggling options. However, smart light manufacturers need to introduce features that will make users want to move beyond just the physical buttons and switches on the device.
The Xiaomi Yeelight Bedside Lamp manages to straddle the line between fun and functional. It’s not a perfect light, but it offers an attractive aesthetic and a short list of options that I rather enjoyed over the course of a month of use.
I’ve had the Yeelight Bedside Lamp in two places: on my night stand by my bed and on my desk. I liked it in both locales, though for different reasons. As a light, it’s okay. As a piece to set mood and color, I actually really like it.
We’ll start with the latter.
The Yeelight Bedside Lamp is great at serving as a decoration.
The marketing materials indicate that it can cycle through 16 million colors. While I certainly can’t test the precise validity of that claim, I will say that I was able to hit every color I wanted to in the spectrum.
I actually liked opening up the app and setting the light to slowly cycle through a few specific colors, something you can do quite easily from your phone that you can’t from the physical lamp. Like I said, this thing manages to straddle the line between being functional as a physical object while offering “smart” features. The transition between the colors, too, is super smooth, something that really played to how genuinely calming I found this light.
What else can you do from your phone that makes this thing a great piece of small lighting?
You can set a sleep and wake timer, something I actually liked early in the morning while my phone alarm was going off. Syncing the two was a feature I hadn’t counted on using when this thing first showed up, but that might be my favorite idea here. I let the light turn on five minutes before my phone, and the result is actually rather pleasant.
You can also set the colors, the speed of their flow in that cycle mode and the brightness of the lamp. You can even choose your color based on a picture on your phone, a nifty feature that let me use the Pittsburgh Penguins’ shade of yellow from the early 90s.
As for the physical lamp? There’s an on/off button in the center of the top of the light. The button below that can cycle between a standard lamp mode, the color cycle or a single color. The top rim of the lamp is actually a touch sensor, and you can use it to either control brightness or, while holding the mode toggle button, adjust the color.
The Yeelight Bedside Lamp will night lot a whole room.
Let me be clear here: this light will not illuminate an entire room like a standard lamp. Here it is at 11pm in a dark room at full brightness.
With the ISO turned way up, I was able to capture most of the room, but you’ll see that this thing looks more like a camping lantern than a proper light at full blast. This will not replace your desk light. From a purely utility standpoint, in fact, I’d argue that one Yeelight is not enough to light a room.
Accept that, though, and you’ll be happy with this. Don’t pick up the Yeelight Bedside Lamp as a replacement for the standard lights in your room. Pick it up as a complement to what you have, or as an addition to your morning alarm clock. This is a great lamp for dark rooms that you don’t want completely lit. In the bedroom in the morning or late at night, it’s perfect. As a light meant to raise the brightness in a room significantly? Not so much.
If you’re looking to dabble into the smart light market without breaking the bank, this is a great way to start. I will say that the Yeelight is more feature rich than I expected it to be. If it was a whole heck of a lot brighter, I’d love it even more.