One of the things that no one told us when Lidl arrived long ago in 1994, years later, it would be possible to dominate our home using their own products. Last November Lidl brought to our country Lidl Smart Home, its home automation system consisting of light bulbs, switches, proximity sensors, etc., with the aim of offering a cheap alternative to, among other brands, Philips Hue.
In Technoeager we have had the opportunity to test the Lidl starter kit, which includes a control hub, three smart bulbs and a switch . It is basically Lidl’s gateway to its connected ecosystem, priced at just €47.99 (which is roughly more than €10 more than a single Philips E27 connected bulb is worth. Hue). How is the experience with this system? Let’s see it.
Installation: simple, as expected
The first thing we have to do is install the control center, so first of all, a little explanation: why a control center? Because Lidl Smart Home uses the Zigbee 3.0 protocol to connect the devices. Each and every one of the ecosystems connected through Zigbee requires a hub, bridge, bridge or switchboard (the name varies depending on the manufacturer) that is connected to the router using an Ethernet key (included in the box).
That way, the bulbs, switches and sensors are not connected to the router, but rather they are connected to the bridge and create a kind of mesh network between them. That allows communication to be done at a very high speed and that we do not saturate our network in the case of connecting many (but many) devices.
Zigbee is an open standard. In fact, it is the same that Philips Hue and IKEA use for their ecosystem. What does that mean? That we can connect the Lidl bulbs to the Philips Hue or IKEA bridge and control them from it. The problem is that there may be performance issues or unavailable features. For this reason, for this analysis we have stuck to the Lidl ecosystem and connected the bulbs to the brand’s switchboard.
To install the system we have to connect the bridge to the router and to the power. For this we will use an Ethernet cable and a microUSB port whose cable included in the box is quite short, keep that in mind. When it is plugged in and the two LEDs on the bridge are on, we will download the Lidl Home app from Google Play (on Android) or the App Store (on iOS) and create an account. The rest is sewing and singing.
- Click on “Add device”.
- We select “Central home automation”.
- We confirm that the LEDs turn green.
- We wait for “Zigbee Gateway” to appear on the screen.
- We press it and wait for it to connect.
When you are done your Lidl smart home control center is connected and ready to go. Now it’s time to link the bulbs, which is just as easy:
- We screw on the bulb and make sure it starts to blink. That means it is in pairing mode.
- Click on “ZigBee Gateway”> “Add subdevice”.
- We click on “LED is already flashing”.
- We wait for it to detect the bulb.
- We repeat with the rest of the bulb
And finally we link the command. It is not strictly necessary, but the truth is that it is quite useful in the long run:
- We remove the back cover to remove the plastic that is under the battery. Otherwise it will not make contact.
- We press and hold the upper buttons (on and off).
- Click on “ZigBee Gateway”> “Add subdevice”.
- We link the command.
- The controller will appear in the app. We entered it.
- Click on the blue icon in the upper right corner.
- We press and hold the lower buttons (more intensity and less intensity) for five seconds.
- We link the remote with the bulbs that we want to control with it.
This process will have to be repeated as many times as devices we want to connect. The good news is that done once, done forever. With this ready we have everything to start. The installation, as is obvious, is quite simple and only takes a few minutes, so in that sense there are no problems.
Light bulbs, remote and app: a good combo
Let’s start by reviewing what Lidl bulbs offer us. Each bulb (E27 screw) costs 12.99 euros and supports different shades of white, brightness intensity modification and 16 million colors. It has a usable luminous flux of 806 lumens, which is not bad at all, it consumes 10W of energy and has 25,000 hours of useful life, which is the same as saying 8.56 years if we have it on for eight hours a day.
This may be obvious to users who already have their home connected, but it may not be so to newcomers: the bulbs cannot be turned off in the traditional way. If we cut the current of the luminaire in which we install them, the bulbs will be disconnected from the network and will not work remotely. The switch must always be left on and control the bulbs from the app, with your voice or with the remote.
The performance of the bulbs seems really good to us. They are capable of delivering a good level of brightness, we can change their color temperature to make them colder or warmer and we can modify the colors. We can choose from a huge range of colors and the representation of them seems correct to us. The audio mode is also interesting, which synchronizes the music that is playing with the bulb to change its colors. Ideal for (when possible) giving a party.
Speaking of the remote, it has four buttons: off, on (and scene change), increase intensity and decrease intensity. Apart from the fact that the buttons click a lot and it doesn’t feel particularly robust, one thing can be highlighted about the remote: it can be glued and / or screwed to a wall or surface to completely replace the light switch. It is a hoot that comes in the box and, although its construction can be improved, it works really well.
And so we come to the app. The truth is that it has surprised us and for the better. It is a very, very complete application and has infinite options. Not only can we control the bulbs and modify the remote control scenes, but we can create automations and routines of all kinds (that the bulbs are turned on at that time or that they are set in such a way according to the time of day, for example). It is one of those apps that you do not expect to offer so many options and it is worth spending a while to become familiar with it.
Connectivity: Google Assistant takes command
In any case, the most normal thing is that the app ends up passing a secondary plane if we have a smart speaker at home. And here we have good news and bad news. The good news is that Lidl’s connected ecosystem is compatible with Google Assistant. The bad news is that it is only compatible with Google Assistant, so if we have Alexa or Siri we will not be able to control them with our voice.
This should not worry us excessively if we have an Android mobile, since we can link the bulb with Google Assistant and control it with the mobile, but if we have smart speakers that are not from Google or do not have Google Assistant. For example, if you have a Homepod mini at home, you won’t be able to control the Lidl smart home bulbs with the “Hey Siri” command.
The connection with Google Assistant is done in the same way as with other services: we open Google Home, link a new device, select Lidl Home, link the accounts and select the bulbs. He has no more. When we have finished the process, which does not take more than fifteen seconds, we can control the lighting with our voice and access all the Google Assistant options, such as routines, which can also be used with the rest of the connected devices at home, if is that we have more.
Lidl Smart Home, our opinion
At this point, the truth is that we can only have good words for Lidl Smart Home. For 47.99 euros, which is what the basic starter kit with three bulbs, the control unit and the bulbs is worth, it is a safe bet. The bulbs work well, the remote works perfectly and the control unit allows us to increase the number of bulbs and connected devices ad infinitum. For those looking to get started in the world of connected lighting, Lidl’s proposal is simply ideal.
In addition, the supermarket chain sells other products with which to expand the ecosystem to adults, such as an LED strip, a smart plug and a connected power strip, so it could be said that it has everything, and the best thing is that at prices low.
And if we already have other home automation systems at home, such as Philips Hue, Lidl bulbs can help us to expand it. Thanks to the fact that both systems use Zigbee, we can connect the Lidl bulbs to the Philips bridge and control them from it (turn on and off, change intensity, put colors…). In short, Lidl Smart Home is a safe bet and, without a doubt, it is worth it both per set and to expand the lighting of our home with its products.
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The devices have been released for testing by Lidl. You can consult our policy of relations with companies.