Our daughter’s freshman year of college was suddenly derailed — just days before she was leaving for her dorm. No in-person classes nor on-campus living. Instead, it was remote learning — from her home bedroom. She was devastated, after looking forward to her first year away from home. My wife and I quickly decided to make her room as dorm-like as possible, adding posters, snacks and school-spirit items all over. It all helped her acclimate — up to a point. And then I got hold of two items that I wish I’d had back in the day: General Electric’s C by GE Full Color Smart Bulb ($29) and GE Lighting LED+ Bluetooth Speaker Bulb ($31).
After screwing the Full Color Smart Bulb into her bedroom light socket and downloading the smartphone app, she paired the two within a couple of seconds and immediately changed the light to a deep green — her school color. A huge smile came over her face. “This is awesome,” she said — maybe the happiest I’d seen her in a week. It’s amazing how setting mood colors can transform a situation. Passing her door several times that night, I noticed blue, pink and purple shining through from under her door.
The product is truly impressive — capable of being tuned to millions of different colors. Oh sure, you can quickly tune it to simple bright white, for working hours. You can program the app to set schedules based on routines, from turning the lights different colors to signal math homework, to setting reminders for kids to get up to stretch and take a break. And it’s easy to do, within the app. Or set it to wake you up to a specific hue. Through the app, you can also turn lights on when you’re not home — from thousands of miles away, if you want. You can also connect it to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa and control it with your voice.
She also installed the GE Lighting LED+ Speaker bulb into a lamp. It comes with a remote. You don’t even need to connect this to a smartphone app — only to a smartphone or tablet (or other bluetooth device), if you want to play sound through it. The remote works independently, and can dim/brighten the light, turn it on or off, and control the sound. It even has fast forward and rewind buttons. We turned on YouTube Music on a phone and let it do its thing. Sound quality is more than decent — don’t expect expensive speaker sound but also don’t fear bad smartphone quality, either. I installed it for fun in our garage ceiling socket, where we started working out during the pandemic. It must be the perfect acoustical space, as the sound we get in there is nice and rich. I can also see using this for relaxing to a podcast during the day, or using it to play a sleep hypnosis program at bedtime. I think it’s cool that you can easily put this into any ceiling socket and keep it discreet. You can even install more than one in a room and create louder sound, without the need for any wiring or hubs. It’s super simple to set up and operate. We already plan on placing one in our porch socket during the holidays to pipe music through. And in the backyard for dinner parties.
I’ve been a fan of GE’s smart bulbs for four years now. Trust me, I’ve used like products from several brands. These are far and away the most reliable and easiest to use. Plus they’re extremely economical and environment friendly. Both LED models can put out to 760 lumens, the color bulbs operate at an estimated energy cost of $1.14/year, the speaker bulb at $1.08. And they’re designed to last for years.