TP-Link Tapo L900-5 RGB LED Light Strip Review

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TP-Link Tapo L900-5 RGB LED Light Strip Review Rating

Summary

The TP-Link Tapo L900-5 is a good LED light strip that is easy to set up and use. It struggles to shine in a crowded marketplace, but discounted Amazon pricing makes it much more appealing.

Overall
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  • Overall - 70%
    70%

Pros

  • A good buy at £17
  • Easy to set up
  • Tapo ecosystem is more extensive than similar or cheaper LED light strip options
  • Cuttable design makes this usable for more practical installations

Cons

  • Not extremely good value for money at full RRP

TP-Link continues to expand the product range within its affordable Tapo sub-brand.

Recently, this includes the addition of two LED light strips, the Tapo L900-5, which I am reviewing today and the slightly more expensive RGBIC multicolour Tapo L920-5.

Tapo L900-5 vs Tapo L920-5: RGB vs RGBIC Light Strips

There are two different light strips you will see available online, RBG and RGBIC. For Tapo, the L900 is RGB while the L920 is RGBIC.

They both have RGB lights allowing you to achieve a wide range of colours.

However, the RGBIC is named that way because it has an independent control chip (IC), this allows the strip to individually set the RGB colours. This, therefore, gives you are much more visually impressive effect.

However, RGBIC does come with one downside. With the more complex circuitry, you can't trim down the strip. So if you are planning on installing LED lighting somewhere practical (under cupboards, etc), RGB provides a more flexible and neater installation.

Because you can't cut the Tapo L920-5, TP-Link has covered the top of the strip with a PU coating which provides a water-resistant, durable coating to protect your LEDs. It is not rated for outdoor use, but it can probably handle a small drinks spill.

Specification

  • 5m multicolour LED light strip
  • Only one colour at a time (rather than the addressable/ RGBIC light strips)
  • Cuttable strips (which you can't do with RGBIC)
  • Dimmable
  • Schedule and Timer
  • Voice Control with Alexa/Google
  • No Hub
  • 3M adhesive backing
  • 5000-hour life span
  • 2100 mcd max luminous intensity, which TP-Link claims is 20% brighter than anyone else.

Set-Up / App

Set up was standard for most IoT devices, though I would say it was a bit easier than average.

The only small thing was that I plugged the LEDs in the wrong way around. First, it looks like the plug is shaped to be plugged in a specific way which is what I did. I did not notice the arrow on the plug and strip, this needs to point at each other, which was the opposite of what I had done.

With the lights on, the Tapo app quickly identified the lights, and I was able to pass over my 2.4Ghz WiFi password without issue.

In Use

There is not a great deal to cover with these lights; they are quite basic, but do the main things you expect from a WiFi connected light strip.

The main screen allows you to select 7-different colours and set the brightness – with these basic RGB LEDs it is one colour at a time.

There is an effects page that gives you a wider selection of colours and some predefined effects. These basically switch between colours/brightness etc. The effects are quite basic, due to the limitations of the RGB, you can get a bit of a twinkly effect with some of them, which is good for decorations.

You then have a sync-to-sound function. For this to work, you need to leave the app open in the foreground, so it is not the most practical solution if you plan to use it for the evening. As you might guess, with this enabled, it will use the microphone on your phone to synchronise the light with the music being played.

Like most smart home products now, you can link up to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control.

With the Tapo ecosystem expanding, you can have the light strip work as part of a scene with other Tapo products. At the moment, the conditions you can use are with one tap, a trigger time, and they also have a trigger device. I assume you can use one of the smart security cameras as the trigger device.

Price and Alternative Options

The Tapo L900-5 has an RRP of £29.99 and is currently just £16.99 on Amazon.

The multicolour Tapo L920-5 is just £5 more RRP. If both products were full price, it would make more sense to go for the multi-coloured option, which will have a more impressive lighting effect.

There are a lot of random brands with LED strip lights, but most of these cost more money.

The Govee LED strips to look like almost like-for-like to the Tapo, the hardware looks the same, the app has the same music syncing functionality.

The basic Govee lights cost more than the Tapo L900-5, but you can buy them up to 10M. However, they have also released a new RGBIC allowing multicolour. The 5M version is under £20, and 10M is under £37.

The main advantage for Tapo is that (for me at least) I have multiple Tapo products, and it is preferable to keep them all under one ecosystem.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the 2M Philips Hue White and Colour Ambiance LED Smart Lightstrip for £70 or the 2M Philips Hue Gradient Lightstrip is £130. These are far superior products, but the price seems insane when you compare it affordable solutions like this.

Then there is the Twinkly Line which is £80 for 1.5m. With these, you can map the LED lights and create custom designs.

Overall

The TP-Link Tapo L900-5 is a good LED light strip that is easy to set up and use. It struggles to shine in a crowded marketplace, at full RRP I'd say this is a hard recommendation, but the current Amazon discounts make it worthwhile.

Without a discount, you are better off going with the more impressive RGBIC multicolour Tapo L920-5.

With the Tapo ecosystem growing, I'd be more inclined to stick with this range of products rather than Govee, which appears to offer better value for money.

Last update on 2022-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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