Can you Say Dance Party on a budget?
I have had many friends who have installed LED light strips for a variety of purposes. For example, a few have added accent lighting to art, to their stairs, and many have added lights behind their television. I wanted to add some backlight to my daughter’s television and found an amazing, easy tp install, option. The Militisto LED STRIP LIGHT arrived in an 8 inches wide by 8 inches tall by 2 1/2 inches tall blue cardboard box. Unlike the vibrantly colored picture found on the website, the cover panel of the product’s packaging was much more subdued. The dark blue color and the bold white font proved to be a good choice for the outer packaging. The cover panel provided a generic “LED STRIP LIGHT” name along the middle and a white sticker with “Militisto” in black font. The top panel provided an SKU sticker with barcode and “Militisto LED Light Strips…some Decorations, Dorm Decor NEW” label, while the left and front panels were left unadorned. The right side panel provided several manufacturing labels and another label indicating that the bulbs were built-in and not meant to be transferred/changed. Interestingly, the back panel was markedly more colorful than all of the other panels, creating an artistically designed letter “A.” Just beneath the design, they again included “LED STRIP LIGHT.” I wished that they would have included at least a few product specifications upon the outer packaging. For example, I would have liked to know the strip length, the warmth, and if the device was controlled by a remote, a smart assistant, an App, or a combination of the above.
I lifted the front flap of the box, and removed the contents. Upon opening the box, I first noted a small 3 1/2 inches wide by 5 inches tall zip-up bag with twenty white-colored attachment brackets. I caution you to not open the bag and upend the contents as there were twenty tiny silver screws hidden within the bag as well. Each of the 15/16 inches wide by 1 3/32 inches tall clips had a 7/8 inches wide by 1/2 inches tall double-sided tape with central screw cutout for installation (More on these below). Beneath the installation accessory bag, I found a 11 1/2 inches long “Smart Life Wi-Fi” Connector. Jutting outward from the right side of the box, you will find a single 4 inches long LED power output port. On the opposite side of the Smart Life Wi-Fi connector, you will find the 4 3/4 inches long AC input port and a 4 inches long IR sensor. Next, you will find a 2 1/8 inches tall by 1 inch wide by 1 11/16 inches thick Type-A wall charger and 61 inches long AC adaptor. For those tired of trying to find real estate for their plugs, you will likely need to plug this into the lower wall plug or into a surge protector with the slots oriented perpendicular to the long axis. I was pleased with the length of the cable but not with the AC plug but it was not enough to drop the rating of the product.
Beneath the AC adaptor, I found a dual-sided 5 1/2 inches square quick access/installation card and a 17-panel accordion-style fold-out instruction manual (more on this below). Next, you will find an individually wrapped 2 1/8 inches wide by 4 7/8 inches tall by 1/4 inches thick remote control. The remote was set up in a column grid with 4 buttons wide and 10 buttons tall. The first row had up/down arrows, a black off, and red on button. The second row had buttons labeled “R, G, B, W.” The third row through the sixth row had colored buttons under the Red (Red, dark orange, light, orange, yellow), Green (Dark Green, Light Green, Light Blue, Dark Blue), Blue (Turquoise, Dark Purple, Light Purple, Pink) columns, and moon phases under the “W” button. These represented different power/brightness settings (25%, 50%, 75%, 100%). The seventh row had (Smooth, Quick, Slow, Song 1), the eighth row had (Strobe, Auto, Flash, Song 2), and the ninth row had (Fade, Jump 1, Jump 2, Song 3). The tenth and final row had timer settings labeled “1H, 2H, 4H, 8H.” Lastly, you will find the main device, an individually wrapped, spooled roll of 3/8 inches wide LED Lights.
If you are new to LED light strips, the quick installation manual should be all that you need to get started. The manual began by instructing the user not to apply to popcorn/textured surfaces, frosted glass, or rough plastic. Find a suitable surface (drywall works well), cleanse the surface with an alcohol prep pad or light soap/water to clean off any dust. Before installing any of the LED light strips, I would encourage a pre-run to ensure that your power will reach the end of the light controller and that they actually power on. Like holiday lights, you do not want to get the entire process installed before having a Griswold Holiday moment. Once the wall surface is dry, you can affix the controller end first. Remove the backing of the light strip to reveal a layer of sticky double-sided tape. Stick the lights to your wall, press with force, and add clips as needed approximately every three feet. If you need to make a convex angle (less than 90 degrees), make sure not to press the turns into the wall. With your build complete, make sure to go back and press the strips against the wall, install the mounting clips, and then power on the unit to enjoy a customized lighting experience. I am not certain that the installation process could have been easier: Measure it, affix it, enjoy it.
Turning to the instruction manual, the main panel provided an image of the LED strip, showed smart assistant integration, and a table of contents. The first panel provided information about the 18-month warranty, 365-day free replacement, Prompt customer service (with a goal of five-star post-purchase experience), QR codes linking to their social media sites, and product certification. The second through fourth panels recreated many of the steps detailed in the quick installation manual. The fifth panel detailed the remote’s buttons, and the sixth through eleventh panels detailed the App integration. You can download the “Tuya” App by scanning the included QR code with your phone. Open the App, create a new account, press the power on button on the remote, and ensure that the device is in “fast-pairing” mode. Open the App, select “Sign up” along the bottom of the screen, agree to the terms, and then enter your email. You will need to enter the verification code sent to your email, then enter a password. The App will then walk you through a series of setup screens. Tap Lighting along the left of the panel, then select Strip Lights (WiFI) from the list. I made sure that Location (while using) was active, Bluetooth was active, Local Network was active, and then I entered my WiFi Password into the Password section of the App. To activate the LED strip pairing mode, you will need to press the off button on the remote and then hold down the “on” button until the LED strip flashes quickly. From that point, the App will take over and will automatically link the App to the LED strip.
Similar to the installation steps above, the App integration was a snap. Once you have paired the device to the App, you will see “Smart WiFI music LED Strip” along the top, a pen to change the name, and a power button. The midsection of the screen provided a touch-sensitive color wheel, and several color presets (red, green, blue, yellow, teal, purple, light/contrast sliders). If you tap “Mode” along the bottom, you can change between Smooth, Flash, Music, and you can adjust the speed. Within the “Music” section, you can change between soft, classic, and rock modes. You can adjust the microphone sensitivity, and you can change the speed of the LED lights. Lastly, along the bottom of the panel, you can tap “timer” to turn on/off the device.
I did not test the device with any of my smart assistants but felt that the remote and App integration were more than adequate. In fact, my daughters loved the music mode and danced to their “dance party” music. My wife was pleased that the LED strip lights were visibly hidden behind the television and did not clutter up her wall. The packaging could have been a little more descriptive, but the quick installation packet and the instruction manual picked up the slack. I loved the double-sided tape on the back of the strip lights and the included connectors. The length of the light strip should be more than adequate for standard home televisions, and if needed, you can cut the cable to your desired length. We were pleased with the remote integration, the ease of the App Setup, and the App connectivity. This device is perfect for a kids’ room and can be utilized sans internet. This may have been one of my wife’s favorite features as she is afraid of the kids’ tech getting hacked. If you are looking to spice up your streaming experience, definitely consider adding a little mood lighting to your setup.