Hands On: AwoX StriimLIGHT Bluetooth Speaker with LED Light

Music and Light in one product

The AwoX StriimLight merges two popular tech trends in one. First it’s a Bluetooth-controlled LED light. Smart LED lights are a growing category for entry-level home automation and for energy savings. In addition the StriimLight is a Bluetooth wireless speaker you can connect wirelessly to your smart phone (or any Bluetooth source, including tablets or laptops) to play music without a separate speaker taking up room on a table or countertop.

While it’s an odd-seeming product, for people who want don’t want standard tabletop speakers but still want to be able to play music in a room, the StriimLIGHT is a good solution. It is designed to fit in a standard light socket, but the product itself is a little large, so it might not work in tight overhead light cans or lamps with small shades. I put it in a room lamp that’s designed to throw light up toward the ceiling. That’s an ideal kind of lamp to take advantage of the LED light part of the StriimLIGHT, though maybe it’s not the best for sound dispersion. Still, let’s face it, if you’re using a light bulb for your speaker then you’re more focused on convenience than on high fidelity.

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If you’re new to smart lights or wireless Bluetooth, the StriimLIGHT shouldn’t be intimidating. Once you screw it into the light socket, switch the lamp on, then go into your smart phone’s (or other device) Bluetooth settings and wait for the StriimLIGHT to show up on your devices list. Pressing the name will connect it. That’s about it. To play music just go to your music source, select play and you’ll hear music from the lamp.

Unlike most other smart lights, the StriimLIGHT doesn’t require an additional app to operate. The light part of the package is controlled through a small supplied IR remote (which also has volume buttons). While you can control the volume with your connected phone, you can’t use your phone to turn off the light. You can always just switch the lamp off, but then you wouldn’t be able to stream music without switching the lamp back on. The remote also features a button that allows you to listen to music with the light off.

As a speaker, the StriimLIGHT sounds pretty good as long as you’re not expecting it to match something like a B & W Zeppelin. Volume peaked at about 80dB (with an average around 72 dB at top volume), which is loud enough for bedroom, den, dorm or even a kitchen as long as you don’t have loud parties (for comparison, a Sonos PLAY:1 will get into the mid to high 90s, depending on the music). The 10 watt amp built into the StriimLIGHT is equivalent to the amps you find in some all-in-one projectors or smaller televisions. Of course there’s no sound image to speak of, because all the sound is coming from one point, and the placement of the speaker is never going to be ideal since it’s in a lamp. I don’t want to place audiophile constraints on something that’s reason for existence is to easily get music in places that aren’t easy to get music into. The StriimLIGHT does that very well.

One thing to keep in mind is that when connected via Bluetooth, all your phone’s sounds will come through the light/speaker. Every tap and beep from texting or web surfing will be amplified in the lamp. If you don’t like that, simply disconnect Bluetooth (or turn off the lamp) when you’re not listing to music.

What about as a light? The product actually works much better as a speaker than as a light. The 8 watt LEDs in the StriimLIGHT produce the equivalent of a 40 watt incandescent bulb. This is too dim to light up a room, but works as a lamp for a desk. If the StriimLIGHT is going to be the only light source in the room, you’re going to have a dark room. There’s also no dimming feature, which most smart lights include.

If you’re thinking about using this as a wireless multiroom system, you’ll need to look elsewhere. You can’t connect multiple StriimLIGHTs to one phone and play the same music simultaneously or even different streams to each light. Bluetooth will give you one data stream to one source at a time. A Wi-Fi version coming later this year will allow both of those things.

The StriimLIGHT seemed like an odd idea when I first heard about it, but having tried it, I actually like the product quite a lot. It’s perfect for places that don’t have space for another music system, such as a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or dorm. My teenage daughter adopted the product right away and loves showing it to her friends. It’s a speaker that won’t get in the way or be knocked off her dresser.

Awox StriimLIGHT
Bluetooth Speaker and LED Light
$99
www.awox.com

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