Bulbrite Solana color-changing A19 smart bulb review: A fair generic built for Wi-Fi

An immature app keeps this bulb from meriting a strong recommendation.

bulbrite solana frost standard color bulb primary
Bulbrite

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At a Glance
  • Bulbrite Solana color-changing A19 smart bulb

Bulbrite’s Solana line is a new entry into the smart light bulb ecosystem, a series of bulbs that use Wi-Fi to connect directly to your network, no hub required. At the top of the line you’ll find this bulb, simply billed as the Bulbrite Solana Color Changing Bulb.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart bulbs, where you’ll find reviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping.

It looks much like any other mainstream smart bulb, with a large heat sink and frosted glass up top. Look closely and you’ll notice that the bulb is a bit larger than normal, but only by a few millimeters in each direction. That said, this size increase won’t likely cause trouble in most installations.

bulbrite solana 1 Christopher Null / IDG

The Bulbrite Solana is slightly, but noticeably, larger than most smart bulbs on the market.

As specs go, the Solana is right in line with expectations, putting out a maximum of 800 lumens on an 8-watt power draw—a 60-watt incandescent equivalent. In white mode, supported color temperatures reach from 2200K to 6500K, a solid range. In color mode, quality seems equally impressive.

Setup involves downloading the Bulbrite app to your phone and screwing the bulb into a socket in order to pair it to your network and your Bulbrite account. Note that the bulb flashes continuously during this process, which can be a bit jarring. The process is otherwise painless, and I encountered no real trouble assigning the bulb to a group and creating scenes.

bulbrite solana 3 Christopher Null / IDG

Bulbrite’s scheduling system needs work to be ready for prime time.

Bulbrite’s app does feel young, however, and it takes a few too many taps and swipes to perform otherwise simple actions. It’s also a little disorganized and inconsistent. You can drag along the color wheel or white temperature when setting the bulb on the fly, for example, but if you’re configuring a scene, dragging doesn’t work well.

And while the scheduling system is easy enough to operate, it didn’t always work as I expected it would. When using the “away from home” system, for instance, my light would turn on at the appointed hour but wouldn’t turn off at the end of the schedule.

Bulbrite supports Alexa and Google Assistant, but there’s no support for other smart home ecosystems, including HomeKit and IFTTT. Similarly, there’s no energy-monitoring feature or much else in the way of extras, although such features aren’t common in an $18 bulb. That pricing puts the Solana at slightly above the cheapest (and often buggy) color Wi-Fi bulbs on the market, which seems about right. Also note that the Bulbrite Solana line includes a wide range of bulbs in other styles and form factors, including a tunable white bulb ($14), a tunable white canister bulb ($18), and a selection of tunable white bulbs with clear glass and exposed filaments ($20 each), all of which work with the Bulbrite app.

In the final analysis, the Bulbrite Solana lands about in the middle of the pack in this increasingly crowded market. It doesn’t offer anything to really distinguish itself from the field, and it’s priced accordingly. If you catch it on sale, it’s arguably worth a look if you have minimal expectations (and its scheduling difficulties aren’t a deal-breaker).

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At a Glance
  • The Wi-Fi-connected Solana is a small step up from generic bulbs.

    Pros

    • Affordable
    • Good quality light, especially in color

    Cons

    • Inconsistent operation, particularly with scheduling
    • Much smaller ecosystem than most of its competitors
    • Endless flashing during setup is a nuisance
  
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