Solar powered outdoor lighting has long been an attractive proposition for homeowners - light at night and charge in the day for free. But often the case is that this type of lighting serves more as decoration than as a competent lighting source to see your way through the darkness of night. Interestingly MiPow have now created something for the garden amongst their Playbulb lineup from which we’ve already enjoyed their enchanting indoor Sphere light. So is this the App controlled outdoor smart-lighting solution we’ve been waiting for?
The £39.99/$39.99 MiPow Playbulb Garden Light is crafted to be pegged into the ground or alternatively it can be clipped onto a tripod or stand of a similar nature via another included attachment. We have pegged ours (a simple task); and a small point, but one that makes these lights nicer to own, is that the pegs stay in the base due to being screwed in, unlike many other examples we have that just slide in. This secure fastening makes mowing less of a hassle with no need to wrestle with protruding pegs that have been left behind. Of course, the wraparound LED lighting rings look good at night when we glance through the window outside, but they appear rather steely in the daylight too, blending well into our contemporary cottage garden. They would definitely be attractive against water features as well. It really should go without saying that, with a solar panel, battery, Bluetooth receiver and LEDs all crammed into each of these lights, they’re fully waterproof and furthermore weatherproof. Ours have been hit by a hailstorm, fierce winds and a robot lawnmower has attacked on one occasion too - they're still working!
Playbulb X App
We’re already well accustomed to the Playbulb X App, so setting up the MiPow Playbulb Garden lights was literally a 10 second affair. Our iPhone found them instantly and we grouped them together using the App so we could adjust the colour and effects simultaneously. The App is deep with detail for specific colouring via a colour wheel, there's a brightness setting and 5 inbuilt effects exist too. These are all self-explanatory with pulsing effect, flashing effect, rainbow effect, candlelight effect and rainbow fading effect. Our regular choice is the rainbow fading effect which, depending on the speed set, will circulate through the full spectrum of colours available. All of this functionality is controllable within 20 metres of Bluetooth wireless range when outdoors, but indoors the Bluetooth signal has trouble getting through our layers of granite walls.
Light the Way
Fundamentally this is a daisy-chain type of product; one’s not enough and our two just feed our craving for more as they’re so easy to set up and operate. This is, of course, where things can get horrendously expensive, regardless of savings that can be obtained from purchasing packs of MiPow Playbulb Garden lights. Nevertheless, our duo can certainly light our outdoor gravel pathway regardless of the colour set from the App.
So at night the alluring illuminating outer ring gives the impression of levitation and is the secret to their usefulness, because this even distribution of light is both a practical and literal mesmeric accent to the garden walls running along our pathway. Because of where we’ve positioned ours along a gravel pathway that is reached by walking up steps, it only emphasises this witchy effect. Incidentally, the light emitted doesn’t broadcast a huge dimensional scope, but within the proximately of around 2 metres it shines a gradient of fairly intensive lighting radius from the 5 lumens output. Compared with previous solar charged outdoor lighting products we’ve tried over the years, the Playbulb is unquestionably brighter. The scope of colours is intricate, and what’s more colours aren’t washed out and are instead vibrantly distinctive.
Charging & Battery Life
There’s a light sensor in the Playbulbs so they’re not on in the day and instead exclusively charge themselves from the sun's solar energy. In the summertime you’ll be able to look out of your window and see them twinkling away into the early morning with a claimed 20 hours of potential battery runtime. However, in the current months of short autumn days, with far less solar energy to capture, our MiPow Playbulb Garden Lights won't last past 1:00am, bearing in mind that they come on at around 5:30pm. Of course, we’re not usually outdoors at 1:00am, so even in these darker days there's enough energy to power through the hours that we require our pathway illuminated.
The MiPow Playbulb Garden Light emits playful colour and effects of decorative light thanks to the supplementary App, with enough concentrated brightness range to be a genuine solar outdoor light to shine the way forward along our pathway. We like them a lot, but one isn't enough for the full effect and we feel even our duo is itching to be expanded!