It’s getting a bit late in the season for holiday decorations. But if you prefer to do things at the last minute or you’re looking for holiday lighting when it inevitably goes on sale after Christmas—keep an eye out Twinkly’s smart LED lights.
Twinkly has already made an impression on this site. GeekMom’s Dakster Sullivan gave a thumbs up and Anton Olsen included Twinkly’s Curtain lights in this year’s edition of the GeekDad Gadgets Gift Guide.
The company sent me a 400 light Multi Color Edition RGB set, so that’s what I’m focusing on. This is part of the second generation of Twinkly lights, which also includes Gold Edition (with support for metallic tones) and the Special Edition (RGB + warm white).
I haven’t tried out original Twinkly lights, but the company says improvements in the second generation versions include improved LED lenses for brighter colors, a dual-core controller, Bluetooth setup support, additional status lights on the controller, IP44 weatherproof rating now improved with resistance to temperatures as low as 14°F, and the music synchronization now uses an integrated microphone on the controller instead of relying on a smartphone’s mic.
Easy Setup and Customization
Setting up smart lights can be a pain, and so can stringing lights on a Christmas tree. Twinkly goes out of its way to make both as easy as possible.
The 400 bulb string of lights was split into two (connected) bundles, with the idea that you start around the middle of the tree and spiral up with one bundle and down with the other. With a smartphone and the Twinkly app, it takes just minutes to walk through the setup. You can connect the lights to your Wi-Fi network (which adds bonus functionality like remote access and support for Alexa and Google Assistant), or you could also connect to Twinkly’s own Wi-Fi network.
Once connected to the lights, you use the app and your smartphone’s camera for a quick custom mapping. Basically, you hold your smartphone steady while aiming at the Twinkly lights, which are then flashed in sequence. This custom mapping is then applied to all the light scenes so they are optimized for your Christmas tree.
If you don’t want to bother with the fuss of a smartphone app, you can still use these lights! The controller includes a handful of programmed scenes that you can switch between using the button—no Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, smartphone, or account required.
The RGB LEDs of my review unit were impressive on their own. The colors pop, and they have an impressive range of colors. They do primary colors but also some of the best pastel shades I’ve seen on an LED. But it’s the scenes that make these lights. They include static and animated scenes (our favorite is the rainbow effect)—optimized for your specific setup—and each can be customized by changing colors, transition speed, brightness, and other variables. You can also download additional Scenes using the app or create your own from scratch.
Once the Twinkly smart LED lights were installed on our Christmas tree, there was no going back. They aren’t cheap (the 400 light Multi Color Edition strand on the tree is currently $269 on Amazon), but they are dazzling. In fact, the pressure is now on to pick up some more sets. If we can find some on sale after Christmas, I think I’ll bite the bullet and go with Twinkly lights outdoors as well, especially now that they are rated to withstand temperatures well below freezing. If you’re looking for the ultimate in smart LED holiday lights, you’ll be impressed with Twinkly.
Disclosure: Twinkly provided lights for evaluation but had no input into this review. As an Amazon Associate, I earn affiliate fees from qualifying purchases.