Smartphone-controlled LED lights with integrated speakers are nothing new, but they've always had some shortcomings. For one thing, there was always the speakers, which seemed to be an added afterthought and never provided decent stereo sound. Sengled's new Pulse Dimmable LED lights with wireless speakers (US$179 for a pair) are the first to provide a master/satellite setup that ensures true stereo sound in a bright and energy-efficient light fixture.
- US Version: works in any standard E26 socket
- Power Consumption: 15W typical, 30W peak
- Dimensions: 5.46" height x 3.86" diameter
- Weight: 14.82 ounces
- Audio System Power: 13 watts, with 1.75" full-range high-fidelity speaker, 100 Hz - 20 kHz frequency response
- Bluetooth Standard: v2.1 + EDR, with A2DP, AVRCP, SPP profiles
Where some of the early LED light/speaker combos had laughably bad designs, Sengled obviously put some thought into the design of the Pulse. The lights have a tympani-like shape, with a gentle flare and scalloping that's reminiscent of a tulip. There are two exterior finishes, pewter and candy apple red.
Being almost 4 inches in diameter, you'll need to put some thought into what fixtures you put the lights into. Sengled's website shows the lights going into a recessed ceiling fixture, which would be perfect for this design.
The lights are set up as a master device and a satellite device that can placed up to 100 feet apart (line of sight). Your iPhone or iPad, running the Pulse by Sengled app (free), can stream just about any music source directly to the master device. It then beams the stereo channel to the satellites (you will eventually be able to have up to eight speaker bulbs) over a 5 GHz wireless network.
Installation of the Pulse lights is as simple as screwing a light bulb into a socket. Once the light is installed and power turned on, you fire up the app, which displays a welcome page while searching for the master light. Once connected, the app displays a control screen with two tabs -- "Lights" and "Sound".
Each tab has a "dial" that you can swipe in a circle to control the intensity of the light or the volume of sound. It's a very intuitive UI, much easier to understand than some of the bizarre apps I've seen with other light/speaker combos.
The app also includes an "equalizer", which is actually just 7 sound effect settings: normal, pop, jazz, classical, rock, vocal and movie. The sound from the speakers, as you'd expect, is quite a bit better than what I've heard from other light/speaker combos on the market. While it can't compete with dedicated wireless speaker systems, the sound from the JBL speakers is fairly impressive.
Pulse by Sengled is a well-designed light/speaker combo that addresses the poor audio quality associated with many similar products. The price is reasonable compared to other less-capable speaker lights, and the design is attractive and functional. Coupled with an easy-to-use iOS app, Pulse is definitely worth considering if you're in the market for this type of combination Bluetooth accessory.
Rating: 3-1/2 stars out of 4 stars possible