Good lighting can be so important in setting the tone for whatever you’re doing. I do a lot of work in the theatre and a poorly lit scene can wither and die, whilst a properly illuminate theatre can feel absolutely electric. And I’ve fallen in love with my hue lightbulbs, which have brought an amazing degree of control to my home lighting. So I was really excited to try out the holi smart lamp.
Named after the Indian festival of colour (where people throw dyes at each other in the street – it’s amazing), holi is cool little aluminium frame that houses 18 individually controlled high-efficiency LEDs. Whilst you can power the light on via a little button on the front (which strongly resembles the iPhone’s home key), the real magic happens when you connect to the frame via Bluetooth.
The Android and iOS app gives you a range of static and dynamic colour palates to choose from (with exclusive 50 lighting themes, produced by professional light designers), plus you are free to build your own. You can choose from a range of colours and motions (blinking, flashing, strobing etc) and adjust the timing to suit your mood. You can also use the holi as a wake up lamp, timing a blinding while light to gradually shine in your face in the mornings. I love wake-up lamps, so this was a great addition.
The unit looks great, in an iMac style aluminium frame that blends in well. However the USB power cable is a bright blue cord which is a little more conspicuous that I’d like for a piece of decorative technology. It’s a small point, but one of many that prevents the unit from being as wonderful as it initially promises.
For one thing the app appears incredibly limited. You can only pick from four palates for the wake up light. And it’s hard to set a variety of times. You can sync the lamp to music playback from iTunes, Deezer or Spotify but music control is fiddly and frustrating, ruining what should be a killer feature (although being able to hit a little but for a strobe whilst playing back tunes is brilliant). For some reason holi refused to remember who I was and it was annoying having to continually sync each time I connected the app. True, this only takes seconds but it removes lot of the seamless “just works” functionality you want from connected living devices. However, one of the best things about “living in the future” are that these are all features that can be amended in the future via a few simple app updates.
Holî is already available online for £179.95