Have you always wanted to provide your Christmas tree with smart lighting? The supermarket chain Lidl has launched a smart LED lighting chain. In this review, we will work on that, together with the starter set.
We cannot escape it. Smarthome is currently being embraced by many retail chains. In addition to Action , HEMA and Kruidvat , Lidl has put its own collection of smart home products in the shops during Black Friday . In this review we will get started with the Starter set with a normal price of 63.99 euros (49 euros during Black Friday) and the 200 RGB LED lighting chain for the Christmas tree with a price of 49 euros. After Black Friday you can purchase the smarthome products on the Lidl website .
What is Lidl Smart Home?
Lidl immediately turns out well with a large collection of smart home products. There is the Starterset with the Lidl Gateway (hub), three RGB LED lamps and a remote control, smart Christmas lighting for the Christmas tree, motion sensors, a smart plug and socket, an LED strip, various types of smart lamps, but also complete ceiling lamps including fixture. In contrast to the products of the other retail chains, Lidl Smart Home does not work on the WiFi protocol, but via the Zigbee protocol . And that provides various advantages. For example, Lidl’s products are compatible with other Zigbee products such as Philips Hue and IKEA Tradfri. On paper, then, because in practice it turns out that it doesn’t work quite well. More on that later, however.
Lidl Smart Home Starterset
Use the Lidl Home app to install and use the smart products. You download this from the App Store (iOS) or Play Store (Android) and you can get started. Lidl deserves a great compliment for the paper manuals accompanying these products. Here you will find, step-by-step, exactly what you need to do to connect the whole. This guide is so clear that even the biggest smarthome stranger can get started with it. Many other companies can learn something from that.
By following the steps you will have the gateway ready in no time and you can add the smart lamps and remote control. This all works very smoothly. Place a lamp and turn the switch on. The lamp will pulse, so you know it can be connected. Press the plus sign in the app, choose the right lamp and you’re done. Within a few seconds you have added a lamp. Do you want to reset a lamp to be able to add it again? Then it is three times to turn the switch on and off and the lamp will pulse again to be connected.
The ease of use of the Lidl Smart Home Starterset is very great. The build quality of the lamps is decent, but not great. The lamps are quite lightweight and compared to the heavy lamps of the Action’s LSC Smart Connect they really have to lose. On the other hand, the Philips Hue lamps are certainly no wonder in terms of construction. After all, it’s about the light.
And that light gives me mixed feelings. The three color lamps can be set in different shades of white and in 16 million colors. First of all, the shades of white. The lamps are very bright, with the cool white tones predominating. You can easily adjust the brightness and choose in several steps between warm white (yellowish), all the way to cool white (almost blue). The lamp excels in the cooler shades, but cannot be as warm as, for example, the lamps from Action. The lamps are therefore particularly good at illuminating the environment, but are not as atmospheric as other smart lamps.
Below you can see the smart lamp from Lidl, AduroSmart and LSC Smart Connect (Action) from left to right. It is striking that the lamp from Lidl displays colder shades, while they are all set to the same position (as cold as possible).
Then the colors. You can choose from 16 million colors through the app and what is striking is that the brightness immediately drops considerably compared to the white tones. In fact, when you choose color, Lidl lamps hardly emit any light anymore. The color lamps can therefore mainly be used to increase the atmosphere, because in terms of light output you will get little benefit from this. The colors themselves are not as bright as the competitors, but are quite on the dull side, even if you turn the saturation all the way up to one hundred percent. The color lamps enhance the atmosphere, but cannot be used for sufficient light output. And that is a missed opportunity.
The photo below shows Lidl’s smart bulb on the far left. The colors are dull and there is little or no light output. A big difference with the bright color and good light output compared to the lamp of AduroSmart in the middle. On the far right the lamp of LSC Smart Connect (Action). This lamp is in between the two models in terms of color and light output.
The remote control works fine. You can turn the light on and off and dim the light or increase the brightness. Pressing the buttons causes a good click, but it works fine. However, the build quality is less compared to the remote controls from Philips or IKEA. The remote control is made of cheap plastic. You can, however, easily attach the back plate to the wall. It is also annoying that you can only buy the remote control in this starter set. Separate sales are not yet possible at the time of writing. Hopefully that will soon change, because you will soon want to have several remote controls in the house if you want to provide the entire house with Lidl smart lamps.
200 RGB Led Lighting Chain – Christmas Lights
A product that we are very enthusiastic about is the 200 RGB LED lighting chain. However, let’s quickly forget this difficult name, because it’s just smart Christmas lights for the Christmas tree. We know smart Christmas lighting from the manufacturer Twinkly , but you quickly pay double for that. How do you like Lidl’s Christmas lights?
Just like the smart lights from the starter set, you can easily add the Christmas lighting consisting of 200 LED lights. Here, too, you immediately notice the excellent manual, so that everyone can quickly install and add the Christmas lights in the Lidl Home app. The total length is no less than 30 meters, of which 10 meters is a power cord with control box. You can therefore also operate the Christmas lights via this control box. The control box has two buttons where you can switch between scenes and light. It works fine, but if you are at scene 1 and you want to go to scene 10, you have to press ten times. The app is many times faster this way.
From the app you have three different options. You can select shades of white, choose from 16 million colors or choose scenes. The first two options are self-explanatory. You can set any color you want or just opt for white lighting in various shades. The light is quite bright and the light from the color lamps is just fine with a nice saturation. A big difference with the normal Lidl color lamps. In terms of scenes you can choose from 15 different effects. The lighting chain changes in terms of light waves and colors. Choose the scene ‘Carnival’ and the light changes color rapidly. Choose ‘Glowing’ and the whole is a bit more soothing to the eyes. Here too, the lights change color individually. The scene ‘Snake’ allows the light to flow from bottom to top.
Many scenes are fun to try, but the vast majority are unfortunately not really useful, unless you want to induce an epileptic seizure. The light changes much too quickly in these scenes. It is therefore unfortunate that there is no option to adjust the speed. That would have made many scenes much more useful. We also miss the option to make scenes yourself. You can, however, adjust the scenes somewhat by first choosing a color and then for scene. The scene is then displayed with the chosen color tone. The Christmas lighting from Twinkly is more extensive, but also much more expensive.
However, the price makes up for a lot for Lidl’s 200 RGB LED lighting chain. Even though many scenes are way too busy, the ability to set all the colors of the rainbow including adjusting the brightness makes up for it. This way you can give your Christmas tree exactly the colors you want this year. Lidl’s Christmas lights are simply a good product.
Compatibility with other systems
Since Lidl Smart Home uses the Zigbee protocol, you should also be able to easily use this on paper in combination with other products that work with Zigbee. Lidl also advertises this compatibility, so you could also use Lidl bulbs to further expand your Philips Hue collection. This also works fine for the lamps in the starter set. You open the Philips Hue app, add a new lamp and the Lidl lamp is found in no time. You can then use the Hue app to further adjust color and white tones. That all works fine.
The LED lighting chain is a different story. This one is also easy to add, but since Philips does not have any Christmas lights in its collection, you miss a lot of options here. You can change the colors, but choosing scenes is impossible. Actually, the LED lighting chain functions like a regular LED strip in the Philips Hue app and that’s not what you want. You are therefore dependent on the Lidl Home app for full functionality.
It is a pity that we do not have access to the other Lidl Smart Home products. In responses to the Lidl news item , it became clear that there are many problems with the motion sensors and door and window sensors that cannot be added to the apps from Philips or IKEA. The smart plug seems to work well. Lidl covers itself in the fine print with the following text: ‘Possible limitations in functionalities with systems and devices from other Zigbee 3.0 system providers’. This also appears to be correct. You cannot add all products or you are limited in functionalities such as with the Christmas lights.
Incidentally, there is also support for Google Assistant. This way you can easily switch on the Christmas lights with your voice or have them change color, but you can also control the lights from the starter set with your voice. Support for Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri and HomeKit is missing.
To Tuya or not to Tuya?
Although the word ‘Tuya‘ does not appear anywhere on the packaging or Lidl’s website, the similarities are great. We know Tuya as a platform from Action, HEMA or Kruidvat, with the WiFi protocol as the basis. However, Tuya also supports Zigbee and it turns out that the Lidl gateway has Tuya’s Zigbee module. And let’s be honest, the whole thing also exudes Tuya. Although Lidl claims in the interview that it built the app itself, the similarities with a Tuya app are obvious. Admittedly, some minor adjustments have been made and some texts and buttons have a different name, but otherwise the Lidl Home app is largely a copy of a Tuya app. It’s not a 100 percent copy of a White Label app, but the similarities are obvious. That doesn’t matter, of course, because the Tuya app is a great app. But claiming that the app was developed itself is incorrect. At most, some minor adjustments have been made. So you also have the same options for automation as in the Tuya apps, where this works much the same as IFTTT (If This Then That).
The big advantage is also that you can add the Lidl gateway to the Tuya Smart Life app. In this way, Lidl’s products are also compatible with the smart products of Action, HEMA and Kruidvat. The Lidl products use the gateway and communicate with each other via Zigbee and the other products via the WiFi protocol, but you can control the whole from the Tuya Smart Life app.
It is good to see that Lidl actually approaches it differently from all other retail chains. Not a wifi protocol, but Zigbee. And that opens the doors to compatibility with Philips and IKEA, but thanks to the Zigbee module from Tuya also with LSC Smart Connect, Hema Smart Home and Kruidvat Smart Home. However, be aware that you will run into limitations in terms of functionalities and not all products can be connected to other hubs.
Lidl Smart Home – Conclusion
Lidl Smart Home is a great option to expand your current Zigbee collection from other manufacturers in an affordable way, but know that (at least for the moment) you will still run into limitations. Due to the compatibility, we expected Lidl to be possibly the best option among the retail chains’ smarthome collections. It is therefore a pity that the color lamps are so disappointing, where the white tones are nice and bright. That drains the appeal of this collection considerably.
The Christmas lights are fantastic for the price, albeit more limited than Twinkly’s Christmas lights. However, Lidl shows that it will continue to work on the collection, because the Lidl Home app was already provided with an update during the test period. Let’s hope Lidl continues to improve the app, so that we can also adjust the speed of the scenes or create scenes ourselves. The point of compatibility also leaves much to be desired, but Lidl is also dependent on the other manufacturers. In general, the Lidl Smart Home leaves a good impression, but know that the color lamps will disappoint you.
- Excellent manuals
- Inexpensive way to expand your Zigbee collection
- Christmas lighting is great
- Compatibility Limitations
- Color lamps below standard