GE promises smart light bulbs without the usual steep prices

GE Link smart light bulb

Many smartphone-controlled light bulbs cost a pretty penny, even if you're not interested in mood-setting colors or other elaborate tricks. How are you supposed to afford enough bulbs to illuminate your entire abode? That's where GE's new Link bulbs could save the day. While you'll need a hub ($30 by itself) to get everything connected, the LED-based white lights cost just $15 to $25 each -- in contrast, Philips' upcoming Lux models are $40 a pop. There's also a kit that includes two 60W-equivalent bulbs and a hub for $50, or half as much as you'd pay for an equivalent Lux bundle.

Before you start planning your home's new ambiance, understand that you're paying less because you get a bit less... so long as you're only concerned with lighting, anyway. While the necessary Wink mobile app gives you full control over brightness and scheduling, you don't get luxuries like Philips' electricity-free control switch or LG's light-based phone alerts. Link might be a better deal if you don't want those extras, though, and the Wink support could save you from buying additional hubs (or using additional apps) to steer other household gadgets. No matter what, you'll have to be patient if you want to try GE's approach for yourself. Although Home Depot is taking pre-orders today, the Link bulbs don't ship until the fall -- that's a long time to wait just to save some money.