meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb Review: Affordable ambiance

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Affordable ambiancemeross brings the color and the smarts at an affordable price.Christopher Close

Source: Christopher Close / iMore

With its torrid pace of product releases in 2020, meross became the go-to for unique and affordable HomeKit accessories over the past year. Whether it was lamps, garage door openers, light strips, smart plugs, or light switches, meross delivered excellent alternatives to the entrenched brands on what seemed like a monthly basis.

However, unlike last year, 2021 has been a little slower for meross, with only one HomeKit accessory hitting the market so far. The lull in accessory releases is a bummer as it is always exciting to see what is new. Still, it has given me a chance to finally catch up on reviews for some of the company's products, like the meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb that I have had in my home for a few months now. Does the meross light bulb meet the expectations set by previous product releases? Let's find out.

meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb review:

meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb

Bottom line: The meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb provides all the smart essentials at a wallet-friendly price. Convenient voice and app controls, dimming, and millions of colors make it a solid alternative to the major players if you don't mind some of its limitations.

The Good

The Bad

meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb: Price and availability

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The meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb is one of the cheapest color HomeKit-enabled bulbs around, starting at just $18.99 each. If you need more than one bulb for your home, meross offers a two-pack at a discounted price as it retails for $28.99.

The LED bulb is available through Amazon in various countries, and with a Prime subscription, it can be at your door in as little as two days. Thanks to promotions run throughout the year, you can typically save a few more dollars off the retail price by clipping coupons available on Amazon. Currently, meross is offering a $3 discount on a single bulb and $5 off the two-pack.

meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb: Hub and frustration-free

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Although it packs in the color capabilities and smart connectivity, the meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb looks like your average run-of-the-mill A19/E26 light bulb with a HomeKit pairing code slapped on. The bulb sports an all-white base with a frosted diffuser and comes in a standard size frame — no extra bulk here, and no crazy designs for the sake of making it look smart, which I quite like.

Like other meross accessories, I love how quick and easy the Smart WiFI LED Bulb is to setup. For those in the world of HomeKit, the light bulb can pair directly to the iOS Home app without registering for an account or having to download the meross app. Pairing through HomeKit also allows you to bypass entering in your Wi-Fi password, and since it doesn't require a hub, you can be on your way to smart home bliss in a matter of seconds.

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The meross smart bulb can display up to 16 million colors and white color temperature adjustments ranging from 2,700K to 6,500K. Cycling through colors on the bulb is fun, with the bulb producing respectable versions of most colors, and I was impressed by how it handles subtle shifts in color temperature. While I will touch on color reproduction more a little bit later, the meross Smart WiFI LED Bulb is good enough for most accent lighting needs for the price.

Toggling on and off the bulb, switching colors, and adjusting brightness all take effect within a second thanks to its Wi-Fi connection.

meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb Review: Affordable ambiance

I also really like how the meross light bulb is quick to respond to app and voice commands. Toggling the bulb on and off, switching colors, and adjusting brightness all take effect within a second thanks to its Wi-Fi connection. I also haven't seen any issues with the bulb becoming unresponsive or suffering from long delays through both the meross app and HomeKit, which is nice.

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The meross app, available on iOS and Android, provides all of the controls you would expect with a smart light bulb. I like how you can toggle the bulb on and off directly from the first screen you see upon launching the app and how simple it is to adjust colors and brightness levels with a swipe of a color wheel.

Creating schedules, referred to as routines and scenes, is also easy with clearly labeled settings and navigation tabs positioned at the bottom of the app. Scenes can set the light bulb to specific colors and brightness, and they can include meross smart accessories, even those that don't support HomeKit.

meross app

The meross app provides convenient controls, scenes, scheduling, and more for the Smart WiFi LED Bulb.

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Speaking of HomeKit, the meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb supports the same suite of controls as other HomeKit lighting accessories over in the Home app. Through Apple's app, you can adjust colors and brightness with taps or swipes and use it in groups, automation, and scenes with other HomeKit accessories.

Siri voice controls are also available for the bulb so that you can say phrases like "Hey Siri, turn on the lights" or "Hey Siri, set the light bulb to blue." If Siri isn't your thing, the meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb also supports similar voice controls through Alexa and the Google Assistant. As a HomeKit-only household, though, I cannot vouch for how it performs through alternative assistants.

meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb: Not the brightest

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As I previously mentioned, the meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb's color reproduction is good enough for most accent lighting needs. Both light and dark shades of reds, pinks, and blues are all fine, but the bulb falls utterly flat when producing respectable greens, purples, oranges, and yellows. For these colors, the bulb is only capable of extremely faint, pastel-like tones, with no dark variants to be found, which is disappointing.

Other downsides include the bulb's lack of weather-resistance and that its maximum brightness is limited to just 810 lumens. While the 800-lumen mark is suitable for task lighting and smaller spaces, it isn't bright enough to light up a standard size bedroom on its own, so you will need more than one if you plan to use it as your sole source of lighting. The absence of weather-resistance in the bulb also limits placement potential as it obviously cannot be used safely outdoors — a popular location for colorful smart lighting.

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My last gripe with the bulb is that it doesn't support Apple's HomeKit Adaptive Lighting feature. The feature, which debuted with iOS 14, automatically shifts color temperature throughout the day to promote focus and rest. Since the meross bulb has adjustable color temperature capabilities, it seems like it would be the perfect fit. Unfortunately, it is missing in action currently, and I haven't heard of any plans to support the feature.

meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb: The competition

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The meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb certainly has its fair share of competitors, with the best HomeKit light bulbs providing dimming and color capabilities in a variety of shapes and sizes. Of course, you can't mention smart lighting without thinking of the Philips Hue line, as its White and Color Ambiance bulbs are pretty much the gold standard for color reproduction, ease of use, and reliability. The latest Hue bulbs are brighter than ever, and they support other ecosystems without a hub via Bluetooth. Plus, Hue bulbs see frequent updates that add features like HomeKit Adaptive Lighting, which the meross bulb lacks.

As great as the Philips Hue line is, the closest competitor in my eyes is the Nanoleaf Essentials A19 Light Bulb, which impressed me in my recent review. Like the meross offering, Nanoleaf's bulb is incredibly affordable with a starting price at just under $20, and it doesn't require a hub. However, the Nanoleaf Essentials bulb can reach up to 1,100 lumens of brightness — 290 more than the meross bulb, supports HomeKit Adaptive Lighting, and connects to a HomePod mini via Thread networking.

meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb: Should you buy it?

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You should buy this if ...

You shouldn't buy this if...

If you want a basic color HomeKit smart light bulb that is affordable and doesn't require a full-blown commitment, then the meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb is worth considering. The meross bulb works with all of the voice assistants, and it doesn't need a hub, so you always have a way to control it even if you switch to Android or Alexa. However, if you are looking for a bulb with the absolute best color reproduction, highest brightness output, or weather-resistance, then you will need to look elsewhere.

3.5out of 5

The meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb offers a solid, smart lighting experience, but limitations and lack of a standout feature keep it from standing out in a crowded market. In the world of HomeKit, the meross bulb pales compared to the brightness and advanced features of offerings from companies like Nanoleaf. Of course, you can also get similar specs and functionality in the Alexa and Google Assistant realm at a lower price.

All things said, though, you can undoubtedly get a lot of enjoyment from the meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb. With its easy setup, dimming, millions of colors, quick response times, and excellent reliability, there's a lot to like. Just don't expect it to blow you away.

meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb

Bottom line: While it isn't the best smart light bulb on the market, the meross Smart WiFi LED Bulb offers fun, colorful lighting, HomeKit, and easy setup, at an affordable price.

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Christopher Close

Christopher spends most of his time writing and dreaming about all things HomeKit. If you wish to join him on his quest to automate everything, you can follow him on Twitter at @itschrisclose.