Products

GeekDad Review: Govee Aura Table Lamp

I’m a big fan of smart lighting systems. My office is pretty packed with various light strips, panels, and fixtures, and they see a lot of use. I was interested in trying out the Aura table lamp from Govee because it was a little different. Self-contained, it offers a lot of features packed in a relatively compact form factor.

Govee

First, a word about Govee. When you search for LED smart lighting on Amazon, you’re going to find some popular big names like Hue and Nanoleaf. And there will be hundreds of brands you’ve never heard of before—most of them suspiciously cheap. It’s easy to lump Govee into that category, but that would be a mistake. I’ve evaluated a number of Govee smart lights over the past few years (the company launched in 2017). They were pretty good products to start with, and they’ve been getting better with each release.

Govee now offers dozens of smart lighting options ranging from LED strip lights to outdoor lighting, car lights, and the new Aura table lamp. The company’s Govee Home app used to program and control its various connected smart lighting systems is comprehensive and attractively designed.

The Govee Home mobile app is polished and easy to use. (Screen capture by Brad Moon)

Aura Table Lamp

Now that you know a little more about the company that made it, it’s on to the Aura table lamp itself.

The Aura is an unassuming cylinder about eight inches high and four inches in diameter. The main body of the lamp is milky white plastic. The base and top are light gray plastic. Powered down, it is pretty unassuming—you might mistake it for an access point in a mesh Wi-Fi setup.

A two-piece power adapter/controller is included. The cable that plugs into the lamp itself uses USB-C, however, you can’t just plug in any USB-C power adapter (at least none of mine worked). Setup is pretty straightforward, but to connect to your Wi-Fi network and use the mobile app you will need to create an account with Govee. That being said, on the top of the Aura are five buttons. You can power the light on and off, and cycle through various features including music mode, colors, and brightness without ever connecting to Wi-Fi.

Aura top view showing buttons + power adapter and controller. (Photo by Brad Moon)

That makes the Govee Aura table lamp one of those rare smart lights that offers a decent amount of functionality without forcing you to create an account and get it online.

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Features

The light itself uses some sort of diffused LED setup, with support for 16 million+ colors and a temperature range of 2200K to 6500K. You can choose solid colors from presets (or from a palette if you use the app), and the entire cylinder lights up evenly.

There are also functions that feature individual lights in animated patterns instead of solid light. Some of these reminded me of a lava light, and they are pretty cool. There are various music settings to pulse or glow in time with the music. There are also a number of pre-programmed scenes (accessed via the app), some more effective than others. For example, “Cheerful” is a rotating vertical rainbow effect that works quite well. “Fish Tank” tries to replicate the look of colorful fish swimming in an aquarium, but in this case, the animation is too jerky.

There are also functional programmed options that turn the Aura into a night light or reading lamp. You can program timing, choose a “wake-up” mode where the light will gradually brighten, and there are also special event scenes like Christmas lighting. The lamp can also be controlled using Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Not everything the Aura table lamp tries to do is a success—I’m not a fan of “Fish Tank” and some of the music effects can be a little too strobe-y for my taste—but this is a very versatile device.

Recommendation

The Aura table lamp has plenty of effects to light up a room. (Photo by Brad Moon)

There are other smart lighting systems that do some things better than the Govee Aura table lamp. For example, the Nanoleaf systems in my office are more effective in response to music. However, this LED smart light has a wide range of functionality and packs it all in an attractive, self-contained unit with buttons that can operate most features without requiring an app (although the app does extend that functionality). And at $69.99, it’s priced very reasonably.

It’s like a modern take on the lava lamp, but with a lot more features and a lot more smarts.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who likes the Aura table lamp. At the time of writing, it was sold out, but you can sign up for an e-mail to be notified when it’s back in stock.

Disclosure: Govee provided an Aura table lamp for evaluation but had no input into this review. As an Amazon Associate, I earn affiliate fees from qualifying purchases.

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This post was last modified on December 31, 2020 4:13 pm

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