This Lightbulb and Speaker Combo Is a Bright Idea With Dim Execution

AwoX StriimLight

This lightbulb is playing Led Zeppelin right now. Tim Moynihan/WIRED

The AwoX StriimLight B-10 sounds crazier than it actually is. It’s a lightbulb, and it’s also a Bluetooth speaker. You screw it in, pair it to a device, and stream music to an 8W LED lightbulb. The light socket powers both the speaker and the bulb, so the latter has to be screwed into a socket for the speaker to work.

This is a better lightbulb than it is a speaker. It produces bright and warm-looking 3000K light that resembles the output of a fluorescent tube. It’ll screw into any E27 Edison mount, and we had successful results with three different lamps in the WIRED New York office.

As you’d expect, the speaker is not very good. A single 2-inch, 10W mono speaker in the middle of the LED lamp kicks out mediocre, bass-bereft audio. But those shortcomings are forgivable as the StriimLight leans heavily on gestalt principles.

AwoX StriimLight speaker grille

Pairing it to a device is a simple process: You turn the bulb on, it beeps twice when it’s discoverable, and then you find the “StriimLIGHT” on your device’s pairing menu. Turning the lamp on and off restarts the discovery process if you have trouble finding the bulb in its Bluetooth menu; it’s basically a hard reboot of the bulb.

One little perk is that the StriimLight comes with its own remote control. The included plastic watch-battery-powered clicker is made of plastic, and lets you turn the light on and off, turn the speaker volume up and down, and mute the audio entirely.

AwoX StriimLight with remote

Unlike your average lightbulb, this one begs to move around a lot. You’ll want to screw it into a socket on the porch, in the bathroom, or in the bedroom so you can listen to some music wherever you happen to be. But the StriimLight heats up pretty quickly, and you need to let it cool down for a minute or two before unscrewing it and carrying it around. After initial setup, we used it for about 20 minutes (both as a light and as a speaker) before wanting to take it out and test it in another lamp. Both the speaker grille and the bulky construction underneath it were very hot to the touch. So it’s portable, but only after a cool-down period.

Unlike “smart” LED bulbs like the LIFX and Philips Hue system (both of which cost around the same price and don’t have built-in speakers), the StriimLight doesn’t change colors or offer control via a mobile app. It’s a lightbulb, and it’s also a Bluetooth speaker. That’s it.

The idea behind the StriimLight isn’t as goofy as it sounds. It certainly isn’t an essential product, but it’s an early and interesting sign of where consumer electronics are headed over the next few years.

Namely, we’re in the thick of an era where single-purpose devices are on the way out. Our phones have also been our cameras, MP3 players, and remote controls for years now. The next slew of convergence will take place in our homes, inside now-mundane pieces of hardware. Our fridges will also be Wi-Fi routers, our side tables will also be wireless charging devices, and our lightbulbs (and showerheads) will also be Bluetooth speakers.

At $100, the StriimLight is too expensive. It doesn’t sound good enough to justify the price. But would $100 be too expensive for a speaker/lightbulb with better audio quality and app-adjustable colors? Or one that doubled as a Wi-Fi repeater or cell-signal booster? Mull it over while you listen to our Spotify playlist for Bluetooth Lightbulbs:

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