Talk to a lamp: We attempted GE’s Sol, a $200 light with Amazon Alexa inside

September 21, 2017 - table lamp

GE’s new Sol flare is an Amazon Alexa device. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

It is apropos some-more common to control intelligent lights around a home or bureau with voice commands, by joining those lights to inclination regulating Amazon’s Alexa or other practical assistants. But this new Sol flare from GE is different.

Sol is an Alexa device unto itself, vouchsafing users spin on and adjust a light by giving Alexa voice commands though requiring a apart Echo device. (“Alexa, spin Sol on” or “Alexa, set Sol to to comfortable white,” for example.) Sol plays song and peep briefings, controls other lights and intelligent devices, and fundamentally does all other Alexa inclination do, and a few tricks of a own.

Sol by GE. (GE Photo)

The lamp, strictly famous as “C by GE Sol,” is touted by a tech and wiring giants as a initial flare with Alexa inside. It goes on sale starting Monday for $199.99. We’ve been contrast out a preview section in a GeekWire offices and studios for a past week. Despite some shortcomings, it’s an engaging glance into where a record universe is headed, as some-more inclination start nearing with intelligent facilities built-in.

Watch a hands-on video next and continue reading for takeaways.

Hardware basics: The spherical flare sits on tip of a cylindrical base, with an outdoor ring portion as a light and an middle presentation ring that lights adult in blue, orange and other colors and configurations in response to voice commands. The tip of a bottom offers hold controls for branch adult a volume, branch Alexa’s microphone on and off, and adjusting a power of a light.

The middle ring display 6:25 on a clock. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

The middle ring offers additional features: First, it doubles as a practical time with a blue light representing a hour palm and a red light representing a notation hand. Second, when we use Alexa to set a timer, a middle ring gives a visible illustration of how most time is left, with a blue light primarily stuffing a whole ring and disintegrating step by step as a time depends down.

The light: Sol’s outdoor ring is a categorical source of illumination. It’s really eye-catching, combined in partnership with Richard Clarkson, a engineer famous for the interactive Cloud flare and orator system. With a Sol on a discussion room list this past week, people in a bureau kept seeking me what a heck it was. It’s really a conversation-starter and a fun square to have around.

But here’s a initial Sol obstacle that many people will notice: The outdoor ring is not a multicolor light, though instead offers 5 conflicting forms of white light, including a comfortable light and a cooler, colourful light. No gorgeous your visitors with a fun purple or immature light when they travel in a room.

In addition, formed on my experience, Sol is not going to offer all of your lighting needs in a sold room. we found a unclothed white light to be comparatively sheer and oppressive on a possess though other lights incited on in a room — a tiny tough on a eyes during full illumination, though still not adequate to totally light adult a room or review absolutely for prolonged periods.

When we asked about a probability of a flare shade, a GE deputy said, “We demeanour brazen to destiny versions of Sol though don’t have sum during this indicate as to what those might demeanour like or include.”

Setting adult a Sol. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

Setup: Although this is an Alexa device unto itself, it still requires regulating a apart C by GE app for setup and control in further to a Amazon Alexa app for formation with a voice assistant. The routine will be really informed to anyone who has set adult other intelligent lights or inclination around Alexa, including joining to a device’s special WiFi network, enabling a associated ability in a Alexa app, and finding a Sol device on a network.

I ran into a integrate complications environment adult on a preview Sol device, though partial of that was user error, as we somehow missed a step to bond to Alexa from a C by GE app. But once we got adult and regulating all was smooth. One tip for anyone who gets a Sol: if we run into problems connecting, press a tiny dot on tip of a base, conflicting a microphone button, to reactivate a setup mode.

Unboxing a Sol. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

Alexa integration: Sol works with third-party Alexa skills, only like an Amazon Echo device, and we found it seamless to start regulating it formed on a setup I’d already finished for mixed Echo inclination in a office. Sol picked adult all of my existent settings and skills around a Alexa app.

GE touts a ability to control a other “C Life” and “C Sleep” bulbs regulating Sol, though in existence it’s improved than that. we had already connected a garland of conflicting lights and intelligent plugs from other brands to Alexa around a existent Echo devices, and it was no problem to use a Sol to control those devices, as well, as you’ll see in a video above.In my experience, Sol works accurately like any other Alexa-powered speaker.

Sound quality: I’d review a audio from a speakers to a smaller Echo Dot vs. a higher-quality sound from a strange Amazon Echo or some-more new Echo Show. The song from a speakers is passable, though not great. This positively won’t be adequate to prove audiophiles. But it’s ideally excellent for listening to peep briefings or podcasts.

Bottom line: This is one of a smartest lamps we can buy, not perfect, though a good instance of where voice record seems to be headed — embedded natively into some-more and some-more of a inclination around us.

Sol is accessible for squeeze starting Monday during and

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