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Google - Smart Light Starter Kit with Google Assistant-Front_Standard

Customer rating

Rating 4.7 out of 5 stars with 488 reviews

97%
would recommend to a friend

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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    4.5-star Google Home mini w/about 4-star LED bulbs

    Posted
    WyldeBlue
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 500 ContributorTop 500 Contributor

    PROs: - If you are having trouble setting up the Google Home Mini, the bulbs thankfully still function as regular LED bulbs upon initial power-up--no flashing, blinking, blanking or waiting for an app or voice assistant to pair - Though the Mini is the draw here, there is a 'C by GE' app that still allows Bluetooth-distance remote control for power, brightness, schedule/timer setting, and one-touch "scene" settings (Good morning, I'm home, Party, etc.) - The color temperature is not tunable (for that, you would need the C-Sleep bulbs), but the 2700K preset has a pretty comfortable incandescent bulb-like hue that is reasonably conservative and therefore versatile for typical duty - With the Google Home Mini, setup and integration into a fledgling (or even more extensive) home network is pretty much instantaneous and you get all the hands-free voice activation you could want for power, scheduling, brightness levels, and out-of-the-home control - Take the bulbs out of the equation, and you have a smart speaker which handles natural language pretty well providing all the personal voice assistance and trappings of a Google-enabled device you could possibly want (okay, except for maybe a screen) - Once you have the Google Home app on the go, you can control all the lights via the Home app and the Mini from anywhere you have a network connection--nice for adjustments while on the road - Voice Match was actually an intriguing feature; you can set up the Mini to recognize different voices in your household and then Google will respond accordingly--for example, not including your 9 year-old's music requests in your music search/playback history CONs: - This is truly a "mini" smart-home starter kit--with no smart outlets or other sensors, what you get are the bulbs for about a $5 premium over the full-priced Google Home Mini...that's a decent value if you were paying full price for the Mini to begin with, but a harder sell with the Mini at a discount because the lights are just decent smart bulbs in and of themselves (there are certainly better and more capable bulbs out there) - The smart speaker and streaming media playback on the Mini tends to work best with a Youtube and/or Google Play subscription--I have neither, and would often ask Google to play me some "X" only be to be told I'd need a subscription for THAT particular band, song, album, etc...but here was a streaming radio station that probably offered something similar. I get it, you don't get something for nothing, and if you're fine with commercials in your Spotify or just whatever Pandora serves up free you'll likely be fine, just be aware that maximum responsiveness to your musical whims is probably going to come with an extra price tag! - Though the bulbs are set at a pretty comfortable color temperature, you cannot change the "color" of white for this set--if you are looking for daylight or more blueish hues (or even colors), you need to look elsewhere, or just get the Mini by its lonesome and grab a different set of smart bulbs - The bulbs are not WIFI enabled--they are Bluetooth, which means at least one needs to be within 40-50 unobstructed feet of the Mini, and the other bulb at least the same to its mate (if they are not in the same general area). This somewhat limits how deeply you can dip your toe in the smart-home waters--if you want to put a bulb out in the entryway and the other on the back porch, the Mini needs to placed such that it can reach both bulbs (or at least one which then daisy-chains to the other) - If you mess up during the bulbs setup, or just need to start over, there is an 11-step factory reset procedure that alternates between on/off cycles that vary from 2 seconds to 5-10 seconds each. I was able to get the bulbs reset multiple times while switching between the 'C by GE' app control, and using the Google Home Mini, I sometimes needed 3-5 extra on/off cycles to finally get the reset confirmation blinks in the bulbs Summary review: I can see why these are sold together as a starter kit...but the truth is, you don't NEED the Mini to use/configure the LED bulbs...any Bluetooth-enabled device and the C by GE app can provide the same sort of control; at least within Bluetooth connectivity distances. So I approached this set from the perspective that it's an easy way to see what sorts of things are POSSIBLE if I had a smart home centered around something like the Mini. In that sense, this starter kit definitely gets things going, especially if you use the bulbs in a pronounced location like a dark basement or entryway where you'd love to be able to control the lights with your voice. But otherwise, the draw here is really the Mini itself. It does so much more than just control THESE particular bulbs, or even control smart appliances/objects in general. With constant voice assistant capabilities, you'll be surprised how often you end up saying "Okay Google"...and then querying the "verbal Internet" for answers to all things serious (how can I tell if I'm having a heart attack) and mundane (what's the weather going to be like tomorrow?). As a smart speaker...well, it's a smart object that has a speaker built in, and you'd be surprised how loud it can get, but the fidelity is only okay. With a number of these dotted around the house, I think they would make great "ambience" speakers all streaming the same soundtrack to your life (or maybe even something different from speaker to speaker), but I wouldn't want to do any critical or even loud party listening as the "oomph" just isn't there...and I did notice just a hint of distortion start to creep in at higher playback volumes. So is this set for you...honestly, I would think the answer comes down to the value proposition. If you were prepared to pay nearly full price for a Google Home Mini anyway (or if you can snag this starter set on a sale), I think it's a no-brainer. You get everything you were going to get from the Mini anyway, and you can set some home lighting automation or program some cool effects like "Okay Google, get ready for the movies" and your voice will magically activate a scene (that you've pre-programmed of course) that lowers the bulb's brightness to a home theater-friendly level. The bulbs themselves will work without the Mini so if you had other designs on where the Mini was going to go or how it was going to be used, it's almost like you can get two unrelated products nearly for the price of one. But if you're budget conscious and can snag the Mini on a deal in and of itself, there are much more flexible and capable smart bulbs out there to play with...cautiously recommended.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

    Good idea, poor execution

    Posted
    BillFromKC
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 250 ContributorTop 250 Contributor

    Disclaimer - I was given this product in return for my fair and honest review. TL;DR version - this would be okay for apartment dwellers, but the Google Smart Light Starter Kit featuring the C-Life by GE bulb is otherwise a 4-star smart speaker with tons of features and smarts paired with a "smart" lightbulb that isn't exactly smart. Also, a bad value for its regular price, but the "smart bulbs" themselves are also a bad value compared to other superior options for around their same price point. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Google Smart Light Starter Kit will always look enticing to the unknowing consumer, because who doesn't like the idea of including a smart lightbulb (in this case, C-Life by GE) with a Google Home Mini smart speaker for a decent overall price compared to buying the speaker and a smart bulb by themselves? Looks can be deceiving. I'm not going to talk much about the Google Home Mini (referred to as a GHM from here on out), because if you're reading this, chances are that you know it's a small smart speaker device that you can get answers to your questions from and control most home automation devices from nearly every manufacturer with. Unlike non-Google brand Google Assistant speakers, you can also use it with the FREE Google Voice VoIP phone service - just like with its big brothers, the Google Home and the Google Home Max - to make outgoing phone calls with terrific audio quality (but not to receive incoming calls or contact emergency services). With more and more abilities being added to Google Assistant, you can use it to order food, electronics, clothing, and more though various retailers that have embraced the service. It also functions as a Chromecast Audio receiver and can control your Chromecast-equipped TV, speakers, or your Android TV-based smart TV. If the next version of the GHM were to add an audio output, the GHM is the perfect small smart speaker in my book. But enough about that, because there are tons of reviews and articles about the GHM and how awesome it is. What I am going to talk about is the the other part of the package package. A decent enough smart speaker that I would give 4 stars to in its current iteration is brought down by what GE passes off as a "smart" bulb. For me, there's not enough of a feature set here to justify calling it smart. While you can turn the bulb on and off and set its brightness via the Google Home app or through Google Assistant, that's about it for the bulb's "smarts". It also uses a Bluetooth connection that requires the GHM that comes in the package; powering down the GHM it's paired to effectively makes the smart bulb the equivalent of a cheap LED bulb you'd pick up in your local hardware store, and Bluetooth's limited range compared to WiFi means the GHM and the bulb need to be placed in close proximity with each other. Metallic light fixtures, water pipes, HVAC ducting, and electrical wiring affect the usable range distance between the GHM and the bulb. A setup note for the C-Life bulb states that if you use multiple bulbs, they can create a mesh network, but all bulbs need to be placed within 40 feet of each other. The good about this kit is it's at least extremely easy to set up. You set up the GHM inside the Google Home app on your Android device (Kit Kat or later with a Bluetooth 4.0LE capability) or iOS (iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5, iPad 4rd Gen, or iPad Mini 2 or later device running iOS 10 or later), and then you're prompted by the Google Home app to pair the C by GE bulb to the GHM. Sorry PC and Mac users, you need a portable device to get this going. I did try to pair the bulb with other Google Assistant smart speakers I have that aren't the GHM in the package via the Google Home app (I have 3 different brands, all with Bluetooth 4 connectivity). None of the other speakers were able to discover up the C-Life lightbulb, which means to use C-Life lightbulbs with Google Assistant, you pretty much need a GHM or other Google-branded smart speaker. If you're looking at the "Made for Google" C-Life or C-Sleep bulbs and you have a non-Google brand Google Assistant speaker, it's just not going to work. The good news here, at least, is that you can control the bulb away from home as long as it maintains a connection with the GHM. My GHM and C-Life are located about 15 feet apart and the two devices have lost connection with each other a few times, but nothing a quick power cycle can't fix (in each case, it was always resetting the bulb). While the lightbulb can pair with the C by GE app for iPhone and Android, this also gives you a basic Bluetooth-connected remote controlled lightbulb and the inability to control it away from home. Because of this, I highly recommend that you stay completely away from GE's app when it comes to this bulb, because you will have issues getting it to work with the GHM if you have previously paired it with the C by GE app. (I did try this by the way; it's a major pain to unpair a C-Life bulb from any device because of the strangest on-off cycling pattern you need to follow to factory reset it.) Also, the bulbs can only pair with ONE device, be it a GHM or a phone. Once paired with a GHM, however, you can use multiple devices with the Google Home app installed to control the bulb; you'll just need to do the "Invite" thing inside of the Google Home app so people on other Google accounts can use the C-Life bulb and all of the other smart devices you have under Google Home's control. The C by GE app also warns you that you should really pair the C-Life bulb with the GHM and not the app. (I ignored this warning in the name of science.) Like I said, a decent 4-star speaker is brought down by a lightbulb pretending that it's smart. While I might recommend this for apartment dwellers, I highly recommend that you look into other ways of doing smart lighting in your home or apartment. WiFi-connected smart bulbs from other manufacturers are inexpensive and far more flexible. Lighting systems based on Z-Wave, ZigBee, Wink, and other protocols have greater range than the Bluetooth-connected C by GE lightbulbs. Finally, the GHM and other Google Assistant smart speakers can be had on the cheap. Now if you can find the Smart Light Starter Kit for the same price as a GHM by itself, then go for it since you'd get a free remote-controlled lightbulb.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    I Love BOTH of These Devices!

    Posted
    BBuchanan
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    TECH EXPERIENCE= Advanced Computer Knowledge, Smart Tech Knowledge of connecting 2 Devices prior to this experience = ZERO!! COST = I decided to buy this combination Google Mini and Smartlight Combination, because individually, the Google Mini Cost + a Smart Light Bulb Cost = Was MORE than the combination price cost, and I figured that if I ended up not wanting or not needing the Google Mini, I could just give it away to a family member. Plus, really, you can’t be the combo price. It’s like buying one or the other of them, and then get the other half free. I mean they are both completely stand alone products, that are worth it on their own. === THE SMART LIGHT === Another Great thing about this Smart light, You can immediately use Your Google Device with it, and You don’t have to download any special software App like many of the other Smart Devices. This Smart Light is so easy to install, really, just screw that puppy into your light source and you’re pretty much done. It’s dimmable (or maybe it’s dimmable, because the lamp was dimmable? I don’t know, all I know is that it works! & it Thankfully was a Breeze to install and get coordinated and running with my Google Home. === THE GOOGLE MINI === Here’s a bit of Honest, I elected to use my Smart Light from my Combo Kit with my Google Home that I had recently finally installed after it sat around my home for a good 6mths, almost a year! So, I had finally installed it and fell completely in Love with it. I’m saving my Google Mini to install it in my bedroom after I’ve completed some decorating renovations. I’m going to stop here and point out to those that may not be familiar with Google’s range of devices that a Google Home, is in essence the Same thing a Google Mini is..it’s a little mind boggling when you eventually figure out that be it a Google Home, Google Mini, Google Home Hub, Google Home Max, the software that runs it! Meaning, that everything EXCEPT the visual “Look” of it, are all the SAME!! Ok, one more caveate the Google Hub, unlike the other devices has a the added bonus of having a tablet like screen so it also has the additional functions One would expect of a tablet. Such as, Playing Videos like YouTube, or Slideshows of Family Photos, Watching your Favorite Streaming Service NetFlix, Hulu, Crackle, Crunchyroll, Tubi.TV whatever! THE BAD NEWS= The one thing the Google Hub can’t do (& this makes ZERO Logical sense), is that You can NOT hold video calls! (I mean it’s basically a big phone that you can’t use as a video phone, Seriously?!) So, Basically, all the Google Devices can do the same thing, and use the same software and Apps, Google Home and Google Assistant. And what CAN Your Google Device “DO?” The number of things is simply Amazing! You can: • Play Trivia Games • Check the Weather outside any where in the World! • Track Your Grocery Shopping list without ever having to write anything down! • Listen to Podcasts • Turn On/Off various Smart Applicances and/or Appliaces thanks to Smart Plugs • Turn Up/Down Your Smart Thermostat • Make Phone Calls without Dialing Your Phone • Listen to Audio Books • Listen to Your Spotify, YouTube Music • Make Reservations without lifting a Finger • Hear the Traffic Report for Your regular route to Work & Alternate routes • Listen to White Noise, Falling Rain, Thunderstorms, sounds of the Forest, or Sounds of the Ocean, Etc., all to help You fall softly asleep. • Talk to Symptomate and try to diagnos whatever may be medically wrong with you • Keep Track of Your recent purchases, and their expected delivery dates • Check Your stocks • Control Your Home Security • and so many other both Useful and Useless other activities and actions! SETUP = Took under no time at all! Something like 5 minutes, and that had more to do with my never having used a smart light or another BLE smart device with my google previously. Having now connected multiple devices to my Google, I could install this light in less time it took me to screw the actual light bulb into the lamp. OVERALL REVIEW= I genuinely Love my Google Mini and Smart Light Combo! First, the lamp in which I placed the bulb, is not very easy to reach on a regular basis, so this is a great convenience item for me. I simply say, “Hey Google...” and Ta-Da!, my light is the perfect brightness or a proper darkness, I wish. Also, I can either come in or out of the house completely buried in groceries, packages, or whatever, and all I need do is call out, “Hey Google..” and Wha-La, I can see perfectly in this cave we call a home. To tell you just how much I’m Love both my Google and my Smart Light, I now have Google either installed or waiting to be installed in each room, and I’m currently working on switching out every lightbulb in the house with either smart light bulbs, or smart camera enabled light bulbs! So, Yes! I absolutely RECOMMEND this Fabulous Smart Light and Google’s Devices to Anyone!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Good Value for Smart Home Beginners

    Posted
    callmeageeth
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 100 ContributorTop 100 Contributor

    Unless you're living under a rock, you've heard of Google Home and its capabilities. Whether or not you are a Google Home or Alexa user will inevitably depend on which ecosystem your invested in. If you're reading this, I'm assuming you're invested in the Google ecosystem or at least not so much invested into Amazon's Alexa. Either way, both of their "mini" devices (the Google Home mini and Alexa Echo Dot) are similar in their size and capabilities. They offer the voice link you need to your smart assistant without the advanced sound offerings. Yes, the mini will play music, etc. but it will never sound as good as any other Google Home speaker, including the Google Home. So assuming you're looking into investing in the Google Home ecosystem (I have, and I utilize it every single day) the Google Home mini PLUS GE smart bulb is a great way to start. It's also useful for anyone looking to add a Google Home mini to their house and adding smart bulbs (side note on smart bulbs, once you start buying them, you'll continue to do so, and you'll know they get expensive). In terms of setup of the mini, all you need is to download the Google Home app and plug in the mini. The home app will autmoatically detect it and set it up. Usually the first time set up requires an update that takes about 5 minutes. From there, the app does a good job of walking you through Google Home's capabilities and adjusting settings (such as what news will play when you say "Hey Google, good morning"). I've been very impressed with the app in terms of teaching you what the home could do. When it first came out, it was a complicated un-user friendly mess to navigate. I think for first time smart home users, you'll appreciate the east to set it up and learn its capabilities. In terms of the GE bulb, it too is straight forward. You screw it into a light socket. From there you can set it up through the GE app or Google Home. I prefer the Google Home app because I want to be able to control my home from one app without having to link services. For example, if you set up Phillips Hue bulbs, or GE lights through GE's app, you then have to link the services within the Home app. Not a big deal, but it's an unnecessary step for a "dumb" smart light bulb. I say this bulb is "dumb" because your options are to turn it on and off and adjust the brightness. Phillips light bulbs are a little more complex in how they're controlled which necessitates (in my opinion) utilization of the Phillips Hue app at times (like changing colors). Much like the mini, the Google Home app will find the bulb and set it up. The app walks you through assigning it to a room and from there, you just say "Hey Google" (near your Google home mini of course) and "turn off light [so and so]:" And voila. Turning lights on and off via voice is absolutely not necessary but its addicting and oftentimes, convenient. Plus, you can always turn it off from your phone from bed if say, you forgot to turn off the lamp before heading to bed. As I said from the beginning, this is a good value for those just getting to dabble in the smart home convenience. Maybe you only need/want a couple lights that you can control remotely and via voice, and if so, this is a perfect solution. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because even though this package is a good value, it could be better given the deep discounts of the standalone Google Home mini around the holidays.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Cheap Entry to Smart Home Setup

    Posted
    Trobadour
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 250 ContributorTop 250 Contributor

    ---SETUP--- This device requires two items to set up, the included Google Assistant (a Wifi speaker) and the included WiFi light bulb. The lightbulb is installed like any regular light bulb and works with or without WiFi. The Google Assistant needs to be plugged into the wall with the included adapter and requires the download of the Google Home app to complete set up. ---FEATURES--- The key feature of this starter kit is that it turns individual, compatible WiFi light bulbs into smart lights that can be controlled with your voice. Included are one Google Assistant speaker and a regular sized light bulb. ---PERFORMANCE--- The performance of both the speaker and the light bulbs were very responsive. After I learned the specific commands that Google recognizes for the lights, I was able to get them to do what I wanted. ---EXPECTATIONS--- The product meets my expectations. I was able to dim the lights from 1% to a full bright of 100%. The particular light bulb included (760 lumens) only goes to a very bright yellow. I own two other WiFi light bulbs (800 lumens) that are also a bright yellow but all together installed on the same ceiling fan, they didn’t look any different in terms of brightness. The previously installed light bulbs were all white lights, but since these are going in a theatre room, the yellow with dimmable option works better for me. ---VALUE--- The price for the starter kit in terms of value is very good. Even if you don’t end up liking the way the WiFi lights work, which I didn’t think I would but now I can’t stop dimming them constantly because I can, you still get a Google Assistant speaker, which on its own can tell you the weather, the time, be an alarm clock, and do all sorts of other things you ask it to, like search up definitions of words while you’re reading a book. ---APPROVAL--- I highly recommend this product for people who are trying to dip their toes into what a smart home could be for them. It’s an easy and cheap way to see what smart homes are all about and you can start growing your setup over time.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Practical Smart Home Starter Pack

    Posted
    cjviscito
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 500 ContributorTop 500 Contributor

    For the purposes of this review, I'm sticking solely to the lighting kit - I've previously reviewed the C-Life bulbs and quite frankly, I find their strategy of limiting controlling the lights to either a Google Home or App premise severely limiting. So this review will be written from the stance of what I believe this kit to be - a practical gateway into building a smart home. The kit comes with a chalk white Google Home mini and a single light bulb. Google's Home mini is their smallest device that also boasts the full power of Google Assistant and home automation. Depending on where you are in your smart home journey, you might find that some smart home devices work better with Google Home than others do. An important item of note is - just because something works with Google Assistant does not mean it'll work seamlessly with Google Home. For example, my GE C-Life, Wemo, Hue, Sengled lights all work with the Google Home. So too, does my Simplisafe alarm system and Logitech Harmony setup. However, the one that doesn't play nice out of the box is my Ring video doorbell. Not really surprising since Amazon bought Ring. I also have a Chamberlin garage door opener, but they want me to pay to link my accounts... no thank you. I added the smart light to my existing setup in my home office as well as the Google Home mini. I honestly have nothing but good things to say about Google's platform. The AI is intelligent and always learning, and you can also mute the microphones when company comes over. If you're feeling paranoid, you can also log into your Google account and verify nothing's been recorded when the mic is off and you can also delete your request history. I set up the bulb that came in the kit to be controlled by my Google Home mini in my office - so now, when I walk into my office, I can simply tell Google Home mini to turn on the light and it works! A key difference from Google and Amazon's management system is that Google Home currently does not support creating custom groups - but, it's totally easy to work around. For example, if I'm speaking to the Google Home we have in the family room and I tell Google to "Turn off the lights", it'll only turn off the lights in the family room. If you're on the fence about getting into home automation, then this is a painless way to get started. As always, if you're adding this to an existing setup, you need to do the research and see if it'll work with what you have or if you'll have to make some compromises.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great Smart Home Tech for Less

    Posted
    ACN44313
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

    I purchased this Smart Home Starter Kit on a promotion. The promotion was to purchase this kit (1 google mini & 1 smart bulb) for $35 (regularly $55), and you would receive a 2pk of smart bulbs (value $25) for free. So a savings of $45 - and you ended up with 3 smart bulbs and a google mini. I already had a google mini at home to add this to; and purchased an additional 2 pk of lights to meet my needs to "start" my smart home upgrade. I did extended research on smart lighting options available before selecting this one. I appreciated that it did not require a bridge/hub or extra equipment. You can plug in the GoogleHome and screw in the light bulb - they work over wifi and bluetooth (with the corresponding app). Set-up was a breeze, as the app walks you through all the steps. The only "downside" to the lower cost / no extra equipment needed option is that these lights do not come in any color other than "standard". I will say that initially I felt these lights were much more yellow / less bright than the HE lights I had been using prior. And while, I still think this is true to some degree - it is not dark by any means, and I have become acclimated to the new hue. I also was concerned as I was planning to replace 2 3-way bulbs in 2 separate fixtures; however being able to set the lighting at 5%, 50%, 99%, etc (anywhere in between) actually has given me better control of the lighting at any given time. I.e. I tend to lower my light to 30-40% while doing late night tv watching; or leave a light at 25% for my return if it's late at night. (I'm very pleased that I can turn the lighting on from outside my home, in case I forgot to leave a light on / or return later than intended. I don't have to walk in to a dark home - and thats is a wonderful perk). You do not "need" a Google Mini in each room - you can run lighting from different rooms on one mini, but the rooms can't be extraordinarily far from one another. ( I personally live in an apartment - and was using my living room Mini for my living room, dining area and bedroom until my second mini came in (it was on back order). I personally I like having a Mini in each room , as I have set up a "speaker group". I have it set so that my morning routine will be read throughout the apartment. (Have it set to give me temp/weather for the day, my calendar updates, and read through 4 different news options.) -- This way when I start the routine in bed, I can go about starting the coffee pot, brushing my teeth, etc - basically anything I need to do and hear the news (music, etc) throughout my home. I will say that you can NOT use the CE lighting app for lighting schedules; IF you use the Google app for the Mini's.One or the other. -- I prefer the google app because of how it integrates lighting to the daily routines (Good Morning, turns on all the connected lights in my home ; where as "Bedtime" turns of all the lights except for the one on my nightstand, etc). You can set limitless options for routines; and they are the greatest perk for me of the "smart home system". I would highly recommend this product - especially if you are need of a Google Mini. Even at the retail of $55, it is a good deal for the Mini & one bulb. I would suggest getting additional bulbs, and spending the time to learn how to best use the Mini and it's available routines when purchasing. The more I was aware of the functions/options, the more I use device&lights, and the more value I see in the overall system.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Basic but simple home automation and lighting

    Posted
    dorkhead2
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    Together, the Google Home Mini speaker and smart GE C-Life bulb is essentially a starter kit for someone who is looking to introduce basic smart lighting into their home. By themselves, the Google Home Mini speaker is a wonderful personal assistant, whereas the GE C-Life bulb is a very limited smart bulb. With that being said, if you’re not wanting to spend an exorbitant amount of money on high-end smart bulbs but do want to have a good LED lightbulb with basic smart lighting capabilities, than this kit is a great start. What makes this kit great is the included personal assistant speaker. After connecting it to the internet, you can make simple commands or ask any question and the speaker uses Google to answer your question or execute your command. If you haven’t adventured into the world of using a personal assistant, even on your phone, having a stand along speaker and connected light bulb is a good way to become familiar with this technology. This best part about using Google instead of the other available smart assistants (Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Samsung’s Bixby, and Microsoft’s Cortana) is its ability to understand “naturally” spoken sentences. This means you don’t have to memorize any specific commands; you can simply say, “Hey Google, can you turn on the dining room light?” Also, the Google Home app is widely compatible with many brands on the market. So, if you’re thinking of getting one of those automated robot vacuums, you’ll easily be able to pair them and use your voice to start vacuuming. Overall, the Google personal assistant speaker is a very useful device. The included LED bulb is a basic smart bulb with dimming capabilities. There are other GE C-Life bulbs that also offer white color temperature variations, such as bright white, cool white, and warm light, but this kit includes the standard warm color bulb. In comparison to other warm lightbulbs, this GE bulb does emit a good bright warm color. Regarding its “smart” capabilities, it’s definitely meant to work mainly with the included Google Home Mini speaker. Unlike other smart bulbs, which are connected directly to the internet using Wi-Fi, this bulb needs the speaker to stay connected. The bulb and speaker communicate using Bluetooth. So, if the speaker is too far away (beyond 40 feet) or powered off, than the bulb can’t be controlled over the internet. Meaning, you can’t switch the bulb on or off either through the Google Home app or by giving a command to the speaker. These limitations may be a hinderance to someone looking to setup a complex smart home lighting system, but to someone looking for basic automation, these bulbs accomplish the task. Overall, the kit was very easy to setup and use. The included hardware (speaker and bulb) is made well is good quality.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    A Great Way to Get Started on Your Smart Home

    Posted
    TechnicallyWell
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 1000 ContributorTop 1000 Contributor

    [[ Setup ]] The setup process was very easy. Install the smart bulb and plug in the Google Home Mini in the same room. Since the bulb is Bluetooth-based, it will only work a short distance from the Google Home Mini. 1. Download the Google Home app to your iPhone, iPad  or Android device. Upon opening the app, I saw a banner asking me to "Setup 1 Device". 2. The app walked me through setting up the Google Home Mini first. 3. The app then automatically asked me if I wanted to setup the bulb.  It quickly found the bulb and added it to my Google Home profile. [[ Performance ]] I have a mix of both Amazon's Alexa and Google Home at my house and I find that the Google Home is a little better at understanding my voice commands and a little quicker at responding. I was pleasantly surprised at the sound performance of the Home Mini's speaker.  It's definitely better than the Amazon Echo (2nd generation) with decent minds and highs and a tiny bit of bass.  Listening to Pandora was definitely doable and sounded a lot better than my iPhone's built-in speakers. The Google Home Mini also is fast to control the included GE smart bulb, responding almost instantly to commands to turn the bulb on and off and also to adjust the brightness.  However, the bulb connects via Bluetooth, which limits its range compared to other wireless connections such as WiFi, Zwave and Zigbee.  Therefore, the Google Home Mini and the GE smart bulb should be located in the same room (or the next room over) to avoid communications issues. [[ Features ]] The GE smart bulb does what most smart bulbs do: turns on and off and dims from 0% to 100%.  Unfortunately, the bulb only outputs a "daylight" color temperature only and cannot change to a warmer (or colder) white color.  It is also not a multi-color bulb, so you can't change it to "red," for example. The Google Home Mini can do a lot more than control this one bulb.  It can give you the weather, check your calendar, control other smart home products (like Philips Hue and Samsung SmartThings), play Pandora and much more. Unfortunately, the bulb included with this kit will not work with an Amazon Echo and it requires a separate hub to work with Alexa. [[ Value ]] Whether you're just getting started with a smart home or you're converting from Alexa to Google Home (or maybe maintaining both?), this starter pack is a quick and easy way to jump into home automation.  The setup process is very easy thanks to the Google Home app's awareness of the Google Home Mini and smart bulb combo and the app easily walks you through the process of getting both up and running.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    A great starter kit that's easy to implement

    Posted
    Zunderwood
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    The Google Smart Light Starter kit consists of a Google Home Mini and a C-Life A19 Smart Bulb. The Google Home Mini is a pancake-shaped speaker that communicates using Google Assistant. Setting the Mini up on our network was incredibly easy largely because we are already set up with other Google Home products. By that I mean that we already have the Google Home App installed on our phones, and already have a Google Home speaker installed elsewhere in our house. Part of the setup process is to choose a room where you will install the Mini. I chose a room down the hall from where we already have a Google Speaker installed. The installation process took about 6-7 minutes to complete because it also downloaded a software update. At the end of the installation process, I was asked to identify the room where the Mini was located so as to easily identify it in the Home App when needed. Once the Mini was installed, I took the C-Life Smart Bulb and screwed it into a light fixture in a room adjacent to where the Mini was sitting. Keep in mind that the installation guide very specifically states to use a light fixture in the ‘same’ room as the Mini. The Google Home App had some difficulty completing the Smart Bulb installation because it wasn’t in the same room, so I moved the bulb back to a light fixture where the Mini was located. In but a few moments, the Google Home App located the bulb. I then named the bulb so the App could distinguish it from other smart bulbs in our house, and the setup process ended. Once everything was communicating properly, I removed the bulb and screwed it back into a light fixture in the next room. And yes, it works perfectly even though the Mini and the bulb are in adjacent rooms. (Keep in mind that the C-Life Smart Bulb uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with the Mini, and Bluetooth has distance limitations). Between the installation of the Mini and setting up the C-Life bulb, I doubt it took longer than 15 minutes to get everything working properly. I can now control the new smart bulb using the Google Home App, or by using the Google Assistant command “Okay Google”. Plus, I can turn this bulb and others on or off, plus dim or brighten them, even if I’m away from the house.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Google Home Mini is great. Bulb is basic.

    Posted
    BeingHonest
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    Pro Easy setup Faster response Con Short range Not that bright and yellow Must be paired to either Google Home or GE’s app Limited integration This is mostly a review on the C-Life and its functionality so I won’t go to much into the Google Home Mini. I’ll just say that the Mini is a great device, with a good speaker and can be linked to various smart devices. I'm only recommending this because you’re getting a great device with the Mini and get a bonus bulb to try out. The C-Life bulbs are basic and are better suited to smaller homes or those who are not smart home enthusiasts. They’re dimmable but the light gives off a warm yellow tint, and isn’t very bright. They are only a little cheaper than the better C-Sleep bulbs. They also do not integrate with any other smart home systems like SmartThings, Wink, Apple HomeKit, or IFTTT. And even though it’s bluetooth, you can only pair with the Google Home or your phone (not both). There are some advantages of choosing the bluetooth C-Life bulbs over the standard smart bulbs (WiFi, ZigBee, or Z-Wave). It’s easier to set up, has a faster response time, and the bulbs are a bit cheaper. However they have a much shorter range and requires the controlling device (either the phone or Google Home) to be close by. According to their FAQ, multiple bulbs form a mesh that help relay the commands to each other and having multiple Google Home devices is more efficient. The setup with Google Home was very simple. You don’t need the GE app since everything can be done through the Google Home App, without needing their C-Reach Hub. Once connected, you can control it with Google Home and any device compatible with Google Assistant (phones, android TV, speakers, etc.). Through the Google Home App, you can turn on/off, dim, and setup routines and schedules. The routines settings are a little buried within the menus but you shouldn’t have to access these very often. Really it’s the Google Home App that gives these bulbs better functionality. While I recommend the Google Home Mini, I can’t say the same for the C-Life. It’s just not good enough on its own. It may get better if they come out with more products that work with other systems.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    You Light Up My Life

    Posted
    LindaCT
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    Description Google Mini: The Google Home Mini is a voice-controlled speaker that can be used for controlling smart devices like the enclosed light bulb alone or other brand bulbs with a hub, asking questions of Google, set up an alarm to wake up, ask for the time or weather, listening to music or even listening to the radio, which is definitely cheaper than buying a radio. Set Up for Google Mini and Bulb: Set up is very simple. Download the Google Assist app onto your phone and let it find the Google Mini with Bluetooth on. Once it is found, you can control the bulb through the Google Home Mini with voice or use the Google app on your phone if you are away from home turning it off or on both verbal and via the app. No hub is required like other bulbs. You can also dim the bulb by telling Google Mini to do it by the percentage you would like it at from 1% (use as a nightlight) and up to 100% if you want it back to normal 60W. Light Bulb: The GE C-Life bulb is an inexpensive bulb and with this you can see if you like having smart bulbs in your home. It replaces a standard 60-watt bulb. I am amazed at how much electricity I have saved by having these type bulbs throughout my home and they are VERY long-lasting compared to regular bulbs. The bulb is rated to last up to 20 years, so you don’t have to worry about changing the bulbs. C by GE app: If you want to set up the light automatically to turn on/off at a certain time of day or night time this app will let you do it. This way you can have the lights on when you come home from work before you walk in the door or are away on vacation, so it looks like someone is home. Other than that I see no need for downloading this app, but it is a really nice feature. Recommendation: I think this is a great inexpensive way to start a Smart Home. This is the way I started my Smart Home but with a MUCH more expensive starter system that had to include a hub to make it work.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    A Better Ecosystem than Alexa

    Posted
    CMCMom29
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    When the home AI units came out, I had to decide whether to set our home up with Amazon Alexa or Google Home. At the time, Alexa seemed to be the more robust choice. I was already a Prime member, I owned Kindles, so the choice seemed obvious. I set my home up with the Alexa ecosystem. I think I may have made the wrong choice. As you would expect, set up of the Google Home device was easy. The user interface is visually pleasing and fairly intuitive. You can program it for multiple users that have different voices, so that each person can have their own setups individual to them. One of the frustrations I have with Alexa is that if you don’t phrase something EXACTLY, it doesn’t understand. For example, if I said “Alexa, turn off living room lampS,” it wouldn’t understand which light I meant. I set up the item as singular “lamp” so that’s the only way it understands the command. This Google Home unit came with a Smart Light Bulb. When I was testing the Home unit, I asked it to turn on the light as I titled it, just like I would have Alexa. Then I asked it to dim the light, without actually specifying the lamp. With Alexa, I would have had to say the commend in full (“Alexa, dim bedroom lamp.”). With Google, it seemed to understand what I wanted without specifying, AND it understood what I was saying as if I was having a conversation with it. Other than the clunky, “Hey Google,” to get its attention, it seemed to understand me. Alexa is very set in her ways, which can be annoying. Our phones are Androids, and I have an Android-based smart watch, which all have Google Assistant. It may be advantageous for me to switch from Alexa to Home at some point, but for now, it’s a bit cost prohibitive. If you haven’t set your Smart Home up yet, I would advise to really look at Google Home vs. Amazon Alexa.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great way to test the waters of smart lighting

    Posted
    Batlacit
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    Smart lights and smart speakers have been becoming increasingly popular as of late - allowing all of us to live out the fantasy of living on board the starship Enterprise and being able to boss our home around. But, oddly enough, you don't see much by the way of combination packs yet. This kit seeks to change that. There's nothing particularly notable about the contents - the provided bulb is fairly basic and incapable of doing much more than dimming, and the Google Home Mini is the most compact and basic device in the Home lineup. Sufficed to say there's a lot you don't get if you're planning to convert every room to smart lighting. But it's the perfect sampler configuration to let you work out if smart lighting is something that's actually worth investing more money in. Google has gone out of their way to make the process as painless as possible as well. The mini comes out of the box ready to pair with the bulb, and the excellent Home app will guide you through setup without any kind of fuss. It only takes a few minutes to get everything up and running, and from there controlling the light is as easy as telling the Mini what you want. If you do decide to take the plunge afterwards, the bulb they provided is one of the more affordable options for smart lighting and performs very well. There are definitely better systems for those willing to pay an extra premium, but if you're used to standard bulbs I don't think you'll have any complaints about this. Best part is that even if you do decide that smart lighting isn't worth investing in, a Google Home Mini is a pretty awesome device to have. it's a halfway decent speaker, a really good alarm clock, and a white noise machine among other things. As such I have no difficulty recommending it to anyone who's curious about setting up their own smart home.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Simple, convenient gateway to smart home

    Posted
    NJRY
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    This Google Smart Light Starter Kit pairs the Google Home Mini with a smart bulb for a convenient way to smarten up any room in your home that has access to WiFi. Packaged in a convenient, simple kit, these two devices give novice users a small taste of the smart device world and experienced users a small, reliable device to expand their smart home. The included bulb is a GE C-Life smart bulb, with quality that is standard for the market - not a lot of frills but useful in its limited functions. Installation is as simple as screwing in a light bulb, literally. After plugging in the Mini and going through a short set of start-up prompts using the free Google Home app, pairing the bulb with the speaker was a quick, painless process. From the app, you can adjust the light, or you can speak aloud for the brightness setting. You can also set a timer or schedule for the light to turn on and off and at your chosen brightness. Simple, useful, smart. The Mini itself is nice and louder than I expected. It catches my voice from the next room over if I speak clearly and without much interference, giving me useful answers to my questions about the day's weather, traffic on my route to work, the last day's news cycle, sports scores, etc. It sets timers and tells jokes on cue - all the useful and useless things you will come to expect from a smart device. Overall, I think this is a nice value for a starter kit. The Mini is responsive, useful, and unobtrusive, while the bulb does the job. Easy to recommend for those looking for an inexpensive way to get their foot in the door of a future smart home. Full disclosure, I received this product for my honest, unbiased review.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Inexpensive cost of entry to "smart" home tech

    Posted
    Chadwick
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    The Google Home Mini and GE light bulb kit represent a relatively inexpensive way to test out "smart" home tech to see if you're going to like it. My house is already pretty well integrated (or inundated!) with smart things but I decided to give this a try to see if it's something my parents and in-laws--who are all technophobes--might be comfortable using. The setup is fairly straight forward and went off without any complications. I stayed away from the GE app setup based on other reviews and the fact I wanted to be able to have control of this bulb when away from home. Unlike all of my other smart stuff, the GE bulb is not WiFi connected, but rather uses Bluetooth so placement is key. It will only connect to Google-branded devices, so keep that in mind. In theory, the bulbs are supposed to be able to create their own mesh-type network to extend placement options, but I only have the one so I can't comment on that functionality. On the plus side, there's no need to have a separate hub so that helps keep your costs (and clutter) down. Anyway, the Home Mini works like any other Google Home speaker, just in a smaller package. The sound quality is acceptable for what it is, just don't expect room-filling sound. The bulb can be controlled by voice to turn on or off or you can dim from 100% to 1%. The color temperature is not adjustable, it just is what it is. The light is pleasant enough but it sometimes leaves me wishing it was a tad brighter. All in all, this is a solid entry-level device kit that works pretty well. For me, it's a little too basic, but it's exactly what my parents and in-laws would be comfortable using.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    A great starter kit

    Posted
    FlyingC
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    If you don't have any experience with the "smart home" stuff that's all the rage and want to give it a try, this is a great starter kit. The bulb included is a GE C-life bulb that connects via bluetooth to your phone (with the GE app) or to the Google Mini. Together, the two devices will get you up and running to voice control a light in your house. The longest part of the process is probably installing the Google Home app and setting up the Google Mini. After that, the setup and connection of the GE bulb to the Mini could not have been easier. I followed the instructions to get the bulb connected, gave it a name I'd remember, and was immediately able to tell Google to turn it on and off. If you want to be able to control the light when you're away from home you'll need a $50 C-Reach device that connects the bulb to your Wifi. If you have that, then you could also use Alexa (with a Skill download) to control the light if you want to see if you like Google or Alexa better. Keep in mind, though, if you decide to get a lot of different devices besides bulbs (smart plugs, switches, sensors, etc.) then you might be better off going with a hub like Wink, SmartThings, Amazon Echo Plus etc. and getting devices that use Wifi, Zwave, or ZigBee rather than the C-life line of products. For the price, though, this is a great way to test the smart home waters. It's extremely simple to set up and see if it's something you think will be useful. I'm pretty sure you'll wonder how you ever lived without it (and Google is probably betting on that happening).

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Great google device, decent smart bulb

    Posted
    jago
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    The Google Home Mini is great and works perfectly. The speaker is decent for it’s size and you won’t have any issues hearing it in under most conditions. The mini is responsive to your voice and you can just talk normally to interact with it. The GE C-Life smart bulb that comes packaged with it connects to the google mini via Bluetooth. I was able to connect it to my Google Home (not mini) that I had already and set up was easy and straight forward. It is recommended that the bulb be close to the google mini for the pairing to take hold. I had them about 25 feet apart and I didn’t have any issues. The GE bulb is a warm color and that is the only color that it projects. Their other bulbs, the C-Sleep will go from Warm to Cool, but again, this one will not. I find that to be a minor annoyance, but I am sure there is a marketing reason for that. This set up will allow you to dim the light and turn it off and on. I haven’t found a way to set up a schedule in the google assistant app, but if you use the C by GE app then you have more control over that, but Google home mini is the recommended way to use this since they are paired together in this package. I have not had any issues with connectivity at all, and the light has always responded to my commands. This is a good way to get started out if you don’t already have a Google device. The distance limitations though of 50 feet, you might want to think about other smart light solutions if you are planning on doing a whole house.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great way to start your home automation!

    Posted
    KCRoanoke
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    This Google starter kit is our first step into centralized home automation (have run several, separate apps for our several connected devices for years). So far, we are liking it quite a bit (the kids seem to be having way too much fun with it). The Google Home Mini has a nice, smooth, low-profile design to it (I'm not the biggest fan of edges). It was easy to set up with Google Assistant already on my phone and works great with voice commands. The speaker itself has a really good sound for the occasional, causal music listening. The only issue we've run into so far is when my wife wanted to set the volume lower, but it changed the temperature setting on our connected Ecobee thermostat. :) The GE C-Life light bulb is a great starter "connected" bulb. On/off control and dimming work great with Google Assistant (either by voice through the Home Mini or from my phone). It connects via bluetooth (not WiFi), so the Google Home Mini must be within 33 feet to control it. You can create routines in Google Assistant to for daily control. You can also download the C by GE app and create automated settings. I wouldn't mind getting more of these, but most of the lights we would want one for in our house are candelabra bases. We are starting to look at other connect items, such as light switches, that could be controlled through the Google Home Mini.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Good mini, less good bulb

    Posted
    bradcon
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    It's billed as a starter kit, and that's what it is. For "smart" lights, this is about as barebones as you get. You can remotely dim, but not change either the temperature or the color of the light. In setting up the kit, you're prompted to use Google Home, which is appropriate for the mini, and it seems to already know that you're setting up the light as well. However, using the Google Home app on iOS, you don't have the ability in app to do anything with the bulb other than unpair it. GE does have a separate C-life app, but it was unable to find the bulb, probably because it had already paired with the Google Home setup. To try to get to any additional features that may (or may not) be available through the GE app, I would have had to reset the bulb through a complicated series of timed power cycles of the light, and I wasn't willing to do that just to try pairing with a different app. Through Google Home, you have to use voice commands to dim or brighten the light. The nice thing is that you don't need a separate hub for the light, the Google mini is all the additional hardware you'll need. On its own, the Google mini is great because it gives you access to the Google assistant and the wealth of smart home features that provides, especially if you associate it with your Google account and use the calendar. It doesn't claim to be anything more than it is, but that's a very limited set of features for a "smart" light.

    I would recommend this to a friend