Review: Sylvania Smart+ A19 Full Colour LED Bulb

As part of the work on my desk setup, which has now evolved into a home office makeover, I wanted to do something about the lighting in my den. Now I have used smart lights bulbs in the past connect via WiFi. But they used a unique app and didn’t talk to HomeKit. Since I have been standardizing all my smart home devices on the Apple HomeKit platform, I decided to make a move towards HomeKit compatible light bulbs. Thus I chose the Sylvania Smart +A19 Full Colour LED bulbs (as I got a pair of them to install in my den).

These are Bluetooth enabled smart light bulbs that speak to HomeKit. The fact that they are Bluetooth enabled creates some challenges if you have a large home, or like me you live in someplace where Bluetooth signals don’t travel too far. In my case, that’s because of the concrete walls in my condo. So just like when I installed this HomeKit door sensor and alarm, to make this work I had to buy a third HomePod to install into my den so that it could connect to the lights and control them. So if you go for these bulbs, you should keep that in mind.

As for installing them, it was pretty straightforward:

  • Screw them into the light sockets and turn them on via your light switch. .
  • Open the home app and click “Add Accessory”.
  • Scan the HomeKit barcode that comes with the light bulb and follow the prompts.
  • Done. Declare victory and have a beer.

So, about that “full colour” capability. What that means is that you can choose from over 16 million available colors and you can adjust the white colour temperature from 2700K-6500K. That way you can get the vibe you want. My vibe is boring, so I just adjusted them to the temperature that you see in the picture. The thing is that you need to do this via the Home app as the Sylvania Home App which is recommended in the instructions is pretty much useless for this, and one other feature which is firmware updates. In my case, I tried to update the firmware for the two bulbs and went through this sequence of events:

  • Open the Sylvania Home App
  • Click On Apple HomeKit
  • Watch a pinwheel spin as it tries to find the bulbs and can’t. Which isn’t a problem as if you flip the lights off and on five times, they’ll pop up and indicate that there’s a new firmware available.
  • You then watch it perform the firmware update and it claims it is successful, but exiting and going back into the app indicates that there’s a firmware update available.

Here’s the thing, the bulbs are running firmware version 1.1.31. I can’t find anything anywhere online if this is the latest firmware or not. Plus this number never changed in my attempts to upgrade the firmware. And Sylvania (or more accurately LEDVANCE who seems to be selling this product) doesn’t have much of a support presence online. So if you run into some sort of trouble with these bulbs, you might be on your own.

Another issue that I tripped over is that a couple of days into owning these, I had to reboot all of my HomePod Mini units to get them to connect to one of them after they started to display the dreaded “not responding” error. I don’t know which one as HomeKit doesn’t expose that to end users, but I assume it’s the one in the den that they are connected to. I didn’t have to do that with my alarm/door sensor. But I will keep an eye on this to see if this is an ongoing issue, or if this is related to my attempts to update the firmware as it might have confused HomeKit in some manner as the attempts to update the firmware power cycles the bulbs, which might have put them into a state where they were not connecting properly.

So would I recommend the Sylvania Smart +A19 Full Colour LED bulbs? I would not for the average user as from what I can tell, these aren’t “plug and play” which is the whole point of HomeKit accessories. There’s just too many rough edges with these smart lights where I could confidently say go to out and buy them. I will be running them for the next little while to see if my experience with them improves. But don’t be surprised if you see me post a review in a few weeks with another HomeKit compatible light bulb that replaces these bulbs. I paid $48.07 CDN for each bulb on Amazon. But if you look around, you might find it for less.

One Response to “Review: Sylvania Smart+ A19 Full Colour LED Bulb”

  1. […] have a pair of Sylvania Smart+ A19 Full Colour LED Bulbs which I have set up in the Home app to be seen as a single […]

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