Connected by TCP Wireless LED Lighting Kit Review: More of these bulbs than just their smart stuff

After this review was first published, TCP reduced their LED luminaire prices from $ 169 to $ 142. They also announced exclusive pricing options on their products through partnerships with Home Depot, where kits are currently on sale for just $ 109.99. Reviews have been updated to reflect developments in prices.

Smart home options keep popping up. The latest is Connected by TCP The wireless LED lighting set, will set you up with three LED bulbs, the “Gateway” hub acts as their common brains, and the handy remote control. Setup is easy – just plug in the Gateway, turn on the lights, and download the free TCP app to your Android or iOS device. You will control your new light within minutes.

When smart lighting kits came out, there wasn’t a lot to dislike about what TCP has to offer here. Each bulb emits a warm, natural-looking 800 lumens light, yet achieves a lifespan of 25,000 hours. The TCP app is intuitive and easy to use, even when you’re programming advanced lighting scenes and schedules. The gateway is compact and well designed, taking into account the fact that space is a premium thing on today’s typical router shelf. The addition of a separate remote is another interesting highlight.

This brings us to cost. At $ 142.99, this luminaire is definitely not cheap – but it’s still pretty competitively priced. An Insteon Center and three of them LED light will cost you at least 200 dollars, while the triple bulb Philips Hue starter kit will set you back $ 199. If you’re willing to sacrifice the remote, you can save even more money by buying TCP set of 2 LEDs for $ 99 (it includes Gate, but remote control not included), then add an order-style third bulb for $ 30.

Perhaps the best deal, however, lies in TCP’s exclusive partnership with Home Depot, where LED luminaires are located. available for just $ 109.99. The additional bulb is also cheaper, Price is only $ 16.97 as opposed to the suggested retail price of $ 29.99. Given those prices, this kit is an undeniably particularly valuable – though, there’s no word on how long those deals will last.

Even at $ 142, TCP’s toolkit makes a lot of sense for a budget-minded consumer interested in basic, low-end smart lighting. However, if you want more advanced functionality out of your lights, then a more powerful system might be worth the extra price.

The TCP LED bulb (right) glows with the same brightness and color temperature as a 60 watt incandescent bulb (left).

Ry Crist / CNET

Light bulb problem
As LEDs evolved, the bulb of TCP was undoubtedly at the impressive end of the spectrum. You will often see LED bulbs prolong the truth by claiming that a light output of 600 or even 400 lumens makes them comparable to a 60 watt incandescent lamp, which has an average light output of 880 lumens. However, TCP bulbs have an output of 800 lumens per bulb, so when they say “60 watts equivalent”, they mean it. Also, with 11 watts of electricity usage, this means the TCP bulb is emitting around 73 lumens per watt. That is a number to be proud of.

TCP bulbs glow at a color temperature of 2,700 degrees Kelvin, delivering a warm, golden quality. If you are thinking of replacing your incandescent, but are worried that you will be forced to obey a cold, blue light, then you will be surprised by what you get from TCP.

Lumens 800 600 591
Life expectancy 25,000 hours 15,000 hours 52,000 hours
Watts 11 8.5 8
Effective 73 lumens / watt 71 lumens / watt 74 lumens / watt
Color temperature 2,700 thousand 2,000 thousand 2,400 thousand

Additionally, TCP bulbs are rated for a 25,000 hour lifespan. While 25 times better than a conventional incandescent, this is still a decent average for an LED bulb. All the same, which is a number I am satisfied with, with above-average brightness. At three hours a day average usage, it should outlive 20 years better before fading to 70% of its original brightness (current definition of “dead” LEDs). Even then, it was bright with a light output of about 560 lumens. For comparison, Insteon LED bulbs start with a light output of 591 lumens.

TCP guarantees all of their lighting kits for two years, which adds credibility to their longevity claims. It is not such a daring warranty Cree TW series LED, though – with 800 lumens and a 25,000 hour lifespan, just like TCP, the Cree bulb comes with a warranty ten years. With such a high bar, it would be nice to see TCP put a little more money in its place.

On the left, a TCP LED that we deliberately dropped many times. On the right, a Philips Hue bulb that we accidentally dropped once.

Ry Crist / CNET

Another interesting thing about TCP’s bulbs: they bounce. Most bulbs … no. A few weeks ago it was a sad day at CNET Appliances when an anonymous person accidentally dropped one of the Philips Hue bulbs we were testing from about a foot. Philips bulbs are broken, like most other bulbs. However, if it was a TCP light bulb, we probably wouldn’t have a mess to clean up. Even dropping it from a height of three feet or more, neither the bulb nor the hardware inside it looks broken (and believe me, we’ve tested this over and over again – something got you covered. strangely pleased to see the light bulb bounce).

I am not going to sit here and criticize Philips for designing the bulb that breaks when you drop it, but I am still impressed with the durability of TCP’s LEDs. You will probably never drop one of their bulbs, but given their price tag how much higher than your standard light you can rest assured knowing that if you do, you can will not be forced to replace it.

With the TCP application, you’ll have complete control over your lights as well as the ability to schedule them to turn on and off at specific times.

Screenshot by Ry Crist / CNET

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