If you’re interested in building a smart home, app-enabled lighting is a perfect place to start. There are a wide variety of options to select from in a number of budget ranges, and they are all usually easy to install and setup.
Elgato is probably most well-known for its products that can capture video from console gaming sessions. But the company also offers a number of other smart home accessories, including the HomeKit-enabled Eve Weather Sensor I reviewed last year.
The Avea Bulb was introduced back in 2014, and the line continues to grow with the new Avea Flare. Instead of a standard lightbulb that can be plugged into a lamp or other light socket, the Flare is a portable mood lamp that can be placed anywhere in your home to offer a splash of light.
Shaped like an egg, the Flare is compact – measuring a little more than 8.5 inches tall and weighing just 1.2 pounds. Getting everything set up takes just a few minutes. There are two different parts included – the Avea Flare and the wireless charging pad. Just plug the charging pad in, set the lamp on it, and you’re ready to go download the companion Elgato Avea app on the App Store. It’s designed for the both the iPhone/iPod touch and all iPad models and is free.
My favorite feature of the lamp is its portability. The built-in battery can provide up to eight hours of light away from the charging base. Along with its compact footprint, that means the Flare can go pretty much anywhere you’d like – even the great outdoors.
The lamp offers IP65 water resistance, which means it should be able to handle a downpour of rain and other light contact with water. I enjoy camping in the summer, and am definitely excited about being able to take the Flare to use as a lantern after dark. It should also be perfect for entertaining outside on a patio.
When you’re ready to turn on the lamp, just open up the companion app. You can select from 10 different dynamic lighting scenes that will slightly change as time goes on. I enjoyed the wide variety of scenes – everything from the calming Caribbean Sea to the wild Candy Land that switches between bright colors.
If you’re looking for something a little more ordinary, there are a number of primary colors to select from. As a nice touch, you can adjust the brightness and saturation of each scene or color.
I most enjoyed the wake-up light scene. You can set an alarm time using the app. The lamp will then turn on 15 minutes before the selected time and gradually brighten with a natural light hue while also playing a wake-up sound or song from your library. While it’s never fun to roll out of bed, the wake-up light has made the morning a little more bearable for me and is definitely less jarring than a true alarm.
Apple Watch users can also control the Flare and make changes to the light color, brightness, and saturation. Here’s an interactive preview of the app from our sister site WatchAware.
And just to note, the Flare is definitely a mood lamp with a maximum brightness of 60 lumens. So while it provides a bit of ambiance, definitely don’t expect it to light an entire room.
- Doesn’t require a consistent connection to your iOS device to run the nice number of dynamic scenes – including a unique wake-up scene that can be scheduled with an alarm.
- Can also be used outdoors thanks to IP-65 water resistance.
- Two Flares can work in concert to provide a dynamic scene.
- The built-in battery can last for up to eight hours and the lamp can easily be returned to the wireless charging plate.
- Would greatly benefit from Apple HomeKit support.
- Definitely a mood lamp and isn’t bright enough to light an entire room.
Aesthetic Appeal: ★★★★☆
Wow Factor: ★★★☆☆
Build Quality: ★★★★☆
Buy Now: $99.95, Amazon.com