It seems like everyone is getting in on creating their own smart lighting. I recently got offered the opportunity to test out some new smart lights (well, new to me) from a company called WiZ. I was able to test out a connected smart colour changing light bulb and an Edison bulb in my home for a few weeks. Here’s what my experience was like…
WiZ smart lights review
WiZ lights are smart, connected lighting for your home. They operate without a hub (which lighting like Philips Hue typically uses). They’re also less expensive than Philips Hue bulbs.
What is WiZ?
WiZ Connected is a French-Asian lighting software solutions company based in Hong Kong that’s been around since 2015. The company was acquired by Signify, who already have the Philips Hue brand. Since I’m a big fan of Hue, I was looking forwards to seeing how these light worked, and to see if they integrate with the Hue ecosystem at all…
Setting Up WiZ connected lights
I had a bit of trouble getting these lights set up. You’ll need to download the WiZ app, then install your lights by screwing them into a socket. The app will walk you through what to do.
I went through the set up process a few times, but the app was unable to locate my lights. I opted for the manual set up after the automatic set up failed three times. Even the manual set up seemed not to be connecting.
Frequently when these things happen, I find I can goose the start up process by simply going into my phone’s Wi-Fi settings, and looking to see if the device appears there. They did!
When I tapped on them in the Wi-Fi settings tab, and then went back to the app, the lights connected quickly. I had to do this individually for each of the two lights I was testing out, but once I figured out how to hack the set up, things seem to go smoothly.
Does WiZ work with Google Home & Amazon Alexa?
WiZ lighting integrates with Google Home and Amazon Alexa so you can control the lights with your voice. I focused primarily on use with Google Home for my testing.
Here’s how to do it:
In the WiZ app, go to Settings > Integrations and enable access for Google Home
The app will ask you to enter a 6-digit PIN. When I went to enter the pin it wouldn’t seem to accept it. So I cancelled the process and tried again. It didn’t seem to work this time either… After one more try it seemed to link successfully. I went back to the Google Home app, but could not see the lights there. I refreshed the app and still nothing. I asked Google to sync my devices and again, nothing.
I closed the Google Home app and rebooted it and went looking for the lights. Still nothing. I went back to the WiZ app and checked on the status of things… finally I checked the history tab in my Google Home app and indeed the lights showed as being added.
Then I went and actually looked in the “office” room tab where I was trying to have the lights added. Sure enough, the lights were already there. Not quite sure how that happened… But I guess that’s good.
Do WiZ lights integrate with Philips Hue?
Since Signify owns Philips Hue and wiZ, I was hoping these two lights might integrate or that they could be controlled by the same app. Not so, however if you get them connected to Google Home, Google can control them all as a group for you.
Controlling WiZ lights with WiZ app
The WiZ app is actually pretty good. It’s got all the basic controls you’d expect from a lighting app, including the ability to brighten and dim, turn on and off, adjust colour temperature from warm to cool, and even change colours.
There’s also some neat features that allow you to automatically set up what’s called Rhythms. These routines can do things like brighten your lights automatically to mimic a sunrise or sunset to wake you up or help you drift off. You can also dial-up preset colours and brightness is that are great for applying make up. There’s also lighting options for meditation and yoga, and a ‘quiet night in’. These pre-set scenes are fun and seem useful.
Overall review of WiZ lighting
These lights seem to work very well, despite their initial set up troubles. They’re reliable, the voice control with Google works really well and they’re bright, colourful and versatile.
A basic WiZ bulb sells for about $32CAD from places like Home Depot and Wayfair. A single Hue bulb by comparison is about $10 more and you need the hub for it to work.