A Perfect Lighted Circle with Voice Assistant
I’ve been interested in smart home lighting for many years now. In fact, the first smart home devices I had in my home were light bulbs. Technology has moved forward since that time and so have the smart lights. A really great example of this is the C by GE Sol. It’s an all-in-one smart light that features voice control via Amazon Alexa.
Originally released for sale in September of 2017, C by GE Sol was the industries first Amazon Alexa-integrated lighting product. The name ‘Sol’ is inspired by both its circular shape and the light provided by the sun. There are many LED desk lamps out there of similar design, but C by GE Sol is unique because of the built-in Amazon Alexa in its base.
Because it is connected to Alexa, C by GE Sol has access to more than 20,000 Alexa skills and users can access unique lighting features through the CbyGE skill including:
- Five Different White Lights – These lighting tones help you adapt your personal environments to stay alert (crisp, energizing light) or relax at the end of a long day (soft, warm light) simply by saying, “Alexa, turn my Sol light to warm white.”
- Sleep-Enabled Light – Sol can help ease you into a relaxing sleep by reinforcing your body’s natural rhythm and melatonin production through two white lights — warm and cool.
- Visual Timer – Sol’s inner ring lights up blue when you set a timer and gradually scales back as time counts down.
- Visual Clock – Even though you can ask Sol what time it is through the built-in Alexa feature, you also have the option to enable the clock function that shows a blue LED where the hour hand would be in a traditional clock and a red LED where the minute hand would be.
- C by GE Bulb Control – If you have the other C by GE light bulbs, you can control through with Sol — no additional hardware required.
In addition to the Alexa features, the C by GE Sol also has some remarkable specs including 2.4 GHz Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, 2-far-field microphones, 360º omnidirectional audio, and of course, the dimmable LED lamp with 650 lumens output.
When I saw GE was getting into the smart home business, I was pretty excited because I feel like their contribution can really take things to the ‘next’ level with technology and products for the home. The Sol is one of those products. I’ve been using the Sol for a little over a month now and absolutely love it. It’s unique design and function make it one of my favorite prices of smart home tech in my home office.
Before installing the Sol, I had another simple circular LED lamp in place and an Amazon Echo Dot in my home office. I loved the convenience of having Alexa nearby and loved the look of the circular lamp. What I didn’t like was having two devices when one would do. So, as soon as I had the opportunity to work with the Sol, I removed the other two pieces and the Sol took their place.
The C by GE iOS app is a free download and very intuitive. I had no issues getting the lamp connected to my network and learning how to use it via the app. There are a lot of negative reviews on the app in the iTunes App Store because people have had poor experiences with their other C by GE light bulbs. After the initial setup, I really haven’t had to go back to the original app much (if at all). Therefore, I haven’t had the same issues those other people have. The Sol has stayed connected to my network and has not required any resets.
After you have the Sol connected to your network, there isn’t a whole lot else you have to do setup-wise. Alexa commands work immediately and when needed you can tap the buttons on the base. The buttons on the device are a mix of tactile and touch. The Mute is tactile and the rest are touch-control. I found the touch controls more offputting than just using the app to control the light because the app was more precise. Again, since I typically use Alexa to control the light, I rarely open the app.
The question everyone always asks me when they see the C by GE Soll is,”is it worth it?” For me, yes! I really enjoy the look of it and how easy it is to control. I’m a big stickler for design and GE really did a great job with the design of it. Do I wish there was an option for some sort of RGB color changing setting? Sure I do, but that does not prevent me from telling everyone I know who asks about the C by GE Soll how cool it is.
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