Yeelight offers a more affordable and feature-packed alternative to competitors. Gamers will love the Razer Chroma sync, too.
Smart lights are a fun way to spruce up your home office or entertainment rooms. With so many options on the market, it's hard to find the best choice that lies both within your budget range and desired results. Yeelight, who has been known for its impressive and affordable smart bulbs and strips, has recently released the Smart Light LED Panels.
While Yeelight’s Smart LED panels present a more affordable Nanoleaf alternative for those who want to venture into the world of smart light fixtures, do they offer the same level of performance? Spoiler: they're both cheaper, and better.
Read on to the end of this review to find out how you can win your own set of Yeelight Smart Light Panels!
What's in the Box?
- 6 triangular panels
- 6 connection tabs
- A power cord
- 3 international adapters
- Y audio adapter
- Controller (with 4 buttons)
- Adhesive tape
- Paper templates of panels
A Standard Design for a Creative Mind
The panels are made of sturdy plastic and are sealed effectively, making it quite unlikely for them to break or tear open with regular care. Everything in the box is decent quality; the cords are standard and have a good length, while the connector tabs are thin and easily insertable.
The controller that comes with the lights is made of a slightly less sturdy plastic, and while the buttons feel a little cheap, they work fine when plugged into the side of the fixture.
One of the most attractive parts of the Yeelight panels is the flexibility in the initial design. While the website advertises really ornate assemblies of the panels, it is important to note that the box only includes six panels, so any larger designs will require the purchase of additional expansion sets, which come in packs of three. However, six panels is still enough to be able to create a wide range of designs that can fit in almost any space.
An Easy Assembly with an Inflexible Future
The assembly is straightforward. The box provides you with 6 identically shaped paper templates of the panels so that you can plan out your design before you connect the panels. The design you choose can be as creative as you want within the constraints of six triangularly shaped panels. When inserting the connector tabs, it is important to pay close attention to the instructions, which suggest you place the tabs in the proper order to ensure a sufficient connection. All in all, this was considerably easy to do, and aside from placing extra care when lifting and turning over your design to apply the adhesive tape and mount, it is difficult to mess this part up.
Mounting the panels is simple and can be done by anyone. It's as easy as peel, place, and stick. Take care though, as the adhesive tape is really strong: once it's on, it won't easily come off again.
A common problem that we find with almost all smart lights that use adhesive tape for application is that if you do want to move your panels, you will have to completely remove the adhesive tape provided and start fresh. While adhesive tape generally has little residue, depending on how long you've had your panels up, it may be slightly more challenging to make sure the panels are clean for the next application.
Since you aren't supposed to use water, this can make this process a little tricky. Additionally, the box does not come with enough adhesive tape for more than one application, so you will have to purchase some separately. However, it is doable and if you do have to move the panels, it's entirely possible as long as you’re careful and up until that point have treated the smart lights properly.
Two Apps Enter, One App Leaves
In the instruction booklet, Yeelight provides two app options; the Mijia app and the Yeelight app. Both are capable of syncing with your lights, however, the Mijia app provides users with more flexibility for controlling the lights. Not only is this app the place you go to enter both the music and gaming modes, but you also have the ability to manipulate the direction that the lights move. In contrast, we found that the Yeelight app was limited and somewhat inaccurate in color matching, unlike Mijia which does a good job in reproducing the color you select onto the panels.
Setting up the panels with the Mijia app is easy, but one thing to note is that you must make sure the panels can access a 2.4ghz Wi-Fi network. This may mean logging on to your router settings to ensure that both a 5G and 2.4G network is visible, rather than a combined dual-band one. Once that is done, all you have to do is reset the panels as per the instructions and enter the Wi-Fi password.
The presets provided give more than enough flexibility for users to rely on if they are not interested in making their own. Selecting from a wide range of colors, each of the presets offers a unique light show that varies in color combination and movement. There is also a Living option which turns the panels to a static icy white, meant for simply lighting up the room, as well as a Cinema option which is intended to set the mood for a movie night and allows you to change the colors manually.
Music Mode: A Unique Feature with Some Drawbacks
On the app, you can also select different options for the music mode which will make the light of the panels move to the rhythm of the music you are playing. While the preset Cosplay will mimic the most dominant sound in the room, options like Music Rhythm will bounce along to the beat of any song you are playing. The microphone on the smart panels does a great job at picking up sound waves and the light show that it puts on is definitely an enhancer to any music session.
One thing we found was that the instruction could provide more details about the controller. While Yeelight provides titles to each mode on the controller, they give very little detail on what each button actually does. Additionally, it appears that anything you select on the app overrides anything you select on the controller.
Another interesting part of the lights is the attached "Y" audio adapter. This is for private music listening and allows the user to plug in a music device and headphones. With this, you can listen to music and independently enjoy the light show without disturbing others. While this did technically work, it feels like a curious bit of hardware to include. Having to plug your own set of headphones into the Y adapter and sit next to the panels is not the most enjoyable way to experience the lights. Not only are there rarely any headphones that have a wire long enough for someone to sit at a reasonable distance and angle from the lights, but it simply grounds the user in one spot.
Atmospheric Color Display
Colorful smart lights are always a fun way to give any room some cosmic character and Yeelight’s LED panels are no different. The colors are bright and saturated with a wide range of rainbow potential. Whether you want to stick with one color while you are working, or you are ready for a light show while listening to music, playing a video game, or watching a movie, these lights have the ability to meet almost any mood. There was never a flicker and the panels always remained bright and strong.
Oh No! It’s Not Working!
Despite Yeelight creating a relatively solid product, stuff happens. Their warranty is considered standard. If the smart lights do not turn on when you first plug them in after you have thoroughly ensured that the connector tabs are in the right directions and that your outlet has the proper voltage, you do have the opportunity to send the product back without charge. However, considering the instruction booklet implores the user to not put the lights near water at least seven different times, if there is water damage or any other damage done by the user themselves, it will not be Yeelight’s responsibility to fix or replace it. Their customer service is lifetime guaranteed and very friendly, so whatever the problem, Yeelight can at minimum provide the user with advice on how to move forward.
Is It Worth the Discount?
Smart lights are becoming a new standard for every home. With there being so many different options, it's hard to know what to choose. Yeelight offers a solid, budget-friendly option for panel lights. The app is easy to use, and you can even sync the output up with your gaming gear thanks to the Razer Chroma Connector and Overwolf features. In short, there is nothing wrong with these lights, and there is no big reason why anyone would need to spend more money on a mainstream brand. Yeelight provides a solid smart light set-up that will no doubt make any room feel more alive and any wallet a little less empty.