Xiaomi first came to Indian shores back in 2014 with a promising lineup of budget and mid-range smartphones and soon took over the market through its affordable pricing and quality products. Now, the company has slowly started expanding into the smart home and lifestyle market in India.
Its latest product - the Mi LED Smart Bulb - was launched recently via the crowdfunding route that helps the brand regulate shipments due to its super low margins. KillerFeatures got access to a unit of this inexpensive smart bulb, which retails for anywhere between Rs 999 and Rs 1,299, and we decided to take it for a spin.
The packaging of the Mi LED Smart Bulb is fairly minimalistic. It comes in a small box with the bulb itself, and a few user manuals. That's it. Notably, this smart bulb from Xiaomi comes with an E27 base, which is uncommon in Indian houses. So, make sure you have a compatible socket at home, or instead get a B22 adaptor that costs less than Rs 100.
Setting up the Mi LED Smart Bulb is fairly easy compared to smart bulb hubs by Philips and the likes. Fix it in a compatible socket tightly and switch on the bulb. Next, download the Mi Home app (available on Google Play and Apple App Store). From the Mi Home app, select your region and login using custom credentials or via the Facebook/Google route.
Once logged in, click on the "+" tab on the top right of the app and click on Devices Nearby to allow it to search for the bulb. The first time we tried to connect the bulb, there were certain issues. So, we had to reset the bulb through an unusual process - switch the bulb on and off five times with a 2-second gap between each action. Weird, but moving on.
The Mi LED Smart Bulb has a wattage of 10W, brightness of 800 Lumens, and supports 16 million colours. The bulb is pretty bright, and can even be used in smaller rooms as the only light source. The Mi Home can be used to adjust brightness of the bulb, which is neat. You can also switch colours using the Colour mode and also start a colour randomiser using the Flow mode.
Apart from that, there are the usual IFTTT techniques, including automating the bulb on/off settings, colours, and brightness depending on time of day. You can also create presets, but that's mostly all you can do with a single unit of the Mi LED bulb. We tried two units to see if they could be synchronised in some way, but that was sadly not possible.
The Mi Home app is neat and clean for most of it. All options are clearly displayed, and there's really no scope of confusion when operating the smart LED bulb. We did notice some amount of lag between the app's input and the output on the bulb. At that price, however, we are merely nitpicking.
Other than that, the IFTTT operations work as advertised. You can use presets to play around with the smart bulb and take full advantage of its features. You can time it to suit your daily needs.
However, being smart has its fair share of disadvantages as well. Firstly, and one that's common with all smart bulbs, you end up spending way more electricity than usual considering the main socket needs to remain on to access the smart features 24x7.
All in all, though, the Mi LED Smart Bulb is a solid smart home accessory for the price. It does not come with Yeelight branding, but performs similar to the one sold in China. With this, Xiaomi is slowly looking to break into the ecosystem category and we encourage the brand to come up with more such affordable home gadgets for the Indian market.
Photos by Raj Rout