WiZ smart lighting
From £45 wiz.world
‘OK Google, set the lights to romance,’ I said. My wife looked up in alarm – surely I wasn’t planning to interrupt The X Factor?
But instead of the light turning to a pulsing rosy-purple, which is meant to be the visual equivalent of listening to Barry White, a robot voice intoned: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know how to do that.’
A couple of years ago, this sort of stuff used to be a nightmare to set up, but I had WiZ responding to voice commands within ten minutes
For genuine romantic occasions you may still be best sticking to something reliable, like a candle.
The WiZ lights I was testing are a little less fiddly (and expensive) than previous ‘smart lights’, and offer an extraordinary number of silly options, such as a ‘Christmas’ light display, which turns the bulbs in your front room into pulsing red and green fairy lights. You can also select a flickering ‘fireplace’ option for a relaxing evening of imagining your house is ablaze.
More sensibly, you can select from 14 million colours, controlled either via an app or (in my case) via voice through Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa assistant, and turn them up and down, dimmer-style. You can set lights to go on and off automatically when you’re away from home, or get the whole lot to come on at once when you say ‘OK Google, lights on’, which I’m mature enough to admit gives me a sense of God-like power.
It may be a fancy dimmer switch for geeks, but the colour options are great, and actually managed the impossible feat of making my wife pause The X Factor while she tested a few pastel hues, muttering something about curtains.
You can set lights to go on and off automatically when you’re away from home, or get the whole lot to come on at once when you say ‘OK Google, lights on
The great thing about WiZ is there are no hidden costs – and no expensive central ‘hub’, as there is with rival systems such as Philips Hue. The lights aren’t quite as fancy, but they work.
A couple of years ago, this sort of stuff used to be a nightmare to set up, but I had WiZ responding to voice commands within ten minutes. Sadly, anything beyond ‘On’ and ‘Off’ is a bit unreliable – but then you’re not going to be saying: ‘Lights, Christmas’ more than once a year.