Affordable, attractive, easy to use, and one of the only smart filament bulbs on the market (from a known brand). Not much to complain about here.
Overall - 85%
While I use Philips Hue for my smart bulbs, I use TP-Link Kasa for my plugs, however at the time of writing Hue does not have filament bulbs available to buy. In my hallways, I have replaced the lights of my dated home with something a little more attractive, that requires a filament bulb. So I was thrilled when TP-Link contacted me to review their new filament bulb.
The new TP-Link Kasa Filament Smart Bulbs are available in either soft white or warm amber and are priced reasonably at £14.98 on Amazon. Unlike many none smart filament bulbs these come in one shape, a classic round design. They are attractive, and the shape is perhaps the best design to suit most peoples needs, however, for me, it is not as fetching as the Edison style with an elongated bulb.
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The Filament white that I was sent looks more modern than retro, apart from the soft white light appearance the base of the bulb is in white too. It’s certainly a lot more attractive than the colour changing options which have a substantial plastic housing, I would say it looks most like a sphere incandescent bulb
For people wanting a more retro industrial look then the I would imagine most people that want a filament bulb would prefer the warm amber looks like a better choice which uses a copper coloured housing over white plastic.
Setup & In Use
As I already use the Kasa app to control my plugs, setting up the light took less than 5 minutes. You fit it like any other light bulb, then turn it on. It will flash three times to indicate it is ready to pair, I didn’t read the instructions at first so thought it had failed straight away, and then from there you pair it and it is all completed within a few seconds.
As this is not a colour changing bulb, the available options are limited to switching it on/off and setting the brightness. You can use granular percentage control, or there are four pre-sets of varying brightness.
You can then set up schedules for on and off. If you manually switch the light off, you can set it up to come back on to its previous state when you flip the switch again.
One thing I particularly like about these bulbs, which Philips Hue does not have as far as I am aware, is the power usage. I have this on my plugs too, which I rarely use, but it is nice to check from time to time, so you can try and reduce your homes power usage.
While the settings for the light itself are limited, this will then integrate with the rest of the Kasa system, so you can set up scenes to combine multiple devices to work as one, and you can, of course, integrate it with Alexa or Google Home.
One notable disadvantage these bulbs have over Philips Hue is the lack of a light switch. TP-Link does actually have switches, rather than the Hue approach these replace your existing switch, which is technically a superior solution, however, this is more complex to fit. In the case of the current switches, they are sold in the US only, and like many other smart light switches, they require a neutral wire, which most UK homes lack.
In the location I fitted the bulb, I only need to use the schedule so the light is on when I wake at my usual annoyingly early time of 4 am, then switches itself off at 8 am. I never remember to switch my old bulb off, so this solution is perfect for me. While the hallway is quite small I found the bulb to be more than bright enough to illuminate it well. I tend to leave it at 25% as I am quite sensitive to light.
If you want a smart bulb but need a filament design due to your fittings, then the TP-Link Kasa Filament is possible the best choice on the market right now.
While it would be nice for some more designs there is nothing else to complain about here; the bulb is competitively priced, easy to install and use, and provides a good amount of illumination.