The Lifx Z light strip adds colour and illumination to pretty much anything you can think of. With full iOS and Android support, including remote control via Apple HomeKit, this is a funky (although pricey) purchase for any smart home. Here’s our full Lifx Z review.
Lifx is a respected brand when it comes to smart lighting, offering a comprehensive range of connected bulbs for giving your home a seductive glow. Or simply creating a disco effect in your kitchen on demand.
One of the company’s latest launches is the Lifx Z, a nifty strip of LEDs that can be stuck on any smooth surface. The colour and brightness levels are then controlled from your iPhone or Android device. With its flexible nature and strong customisation, this is one of our favourite smart light additions so far, although it’s still not exactly ‘affordable’. After all, the starter kit will set you back almost a hundred quid.
Check out our Smart Home hub for reviews of more great connected devices, plus our guides on getting started.
Lifx Z review: Design
The Lifx Z is essentially a long, flexible strip of LEDs. In the starter pack you get two metre-long strips, which can be joined together, as well as the cable and plug for power. There’s no option for battery power.
When switched off, these strips are quite discrete. You can wrap them around any object or simply place them underneath cabinets, mantelpieces and window sills. You can even bend them at 90-degree angles, in between the LEDs.
Note that the Lifx Z strips aren’t intended for outdoor use, or rather in ‘weather exposed areas’. Although our review strips seemed to be sealed tight, we’d recommend following that advice.
We tested ours on our fireplace and installation was simple enough. All you need is a smooth, clean surface and a nearby plug socket. Just peel back the protective layer on the back of the strip to expose the sticky layer, then firmly push into place. Unfortunately this sticky layer also came away with the protective layer when we first attempted this, so we were a little more careful with our second attempt.
After tucking away the 2.5-metre power cable with some ties, the Lifx Z was ready for action.
Lifx Z review: App control
Once the light strip is in place, the next step is to download the Lifx app. This can be grabbed for free from the iOS App Store or Android’s Google Play store.
Connection is thankfully quick and easy. Just connect your phone to the Lifx’s WiFi signal and follow the instructions; you should be done in a minute or so.
From the app you can add the Lifx Z to another group of lights, or control it independently. Dive into the settings and you can change the entire strip to a particular colour, using a touch wheel. Or, if you want a more simple selection, Lifx includes some pre-set themes. However, these can be a bit random, to say the least. Several of them sound very similar (soothing, relaxing, peaceful) and yet prove anything but in practice. There’s no ‘romantic’ setting, which just seems kind of an obvious inclusion, while a few of the themes such as Independence Day will be no good for us Brits.
Still, we do like the selection of effects. These include some spooky flickering and funky pulsing, along with a music setting which reacts to your tunes. Perfect for those home disco nights.
Lifx Z review: HomeKit and smart assistant support
As with other Lifx products, the Lifx Z comes with full support for Apple’s HomeKit. Adding the strip to the Home app is pleasingly simple, too. You get a 8-digit code stashed in the box, which you can enter via the Lifx app or direct through Home itself. Lifx Z will then appear in your hub, ready to add to a room or group.
From Home you have a little less control; you can change the brightness level and colour, but not set a theme. Still, adding to HomeKit means you can activate your lights with a quick request to Siri, via your iOS device or your HomePod speaker. Snazzy.
Note that the Lifx Z is also compatible with Alexa and Google Home.
Lifx Z review: Verdict
The Lifx Z starter kit certainly isn’t cheap, although these smart lighting strips can really transform and add character to any room in your house. If money is no object and you want to freshen up a living space, we heartily recommend investing.