Why Twinkly is the undisputed champion of Smart Christmas Lights
A few years ago you wouldn’t have caught me using Christmas lights at all, but now? Twinkly Christmas Tree Lights have caught my attention and am I happy to see the super cool technology at an affordable price.
These aren’t any ordinary Christmas Lights, Twinkly Christmas Tree lights offer so much more than your average “Smart Christmas Lights”, you can map your Christmas tree lights through your app and control each individual light, create your own patterns and even download free patterns from their built-in pattern store.
Whether you want to have a traditional Christmas Light aesthetic or some funky swirls and spirals, Twinkly Christmas Tree Lights let you pick.
This product was sent to us for free to review
What comes with the Twinkly Christmas Tree?
- 2 strings of your total selected lights in half
- Power Brick
- Remote Controller (If you want to do it manual)
- Instruction Booklet
- Indoor or Outdoor: IP44
- Controller type: Bluetooth & Wi-Fi
- Life Span: 30000 hours
- Adapter input: 120V – US 240V
- LED Type: RGB
Before we go into the technical elements, I need to make a little point on praising the design.
More companies need to make LED lights look like nice when they’re off, Twinkly has done a fantastic job of this with their rounded off square-like bulb coverings.
So, I really do have to give them priase on that, as personally, I love them.
I had seen a few other reports of the hardware they were sent being older or what looked like second hand, but ours came brand new and looked perfectly fine.
Whatever issue they had prior is obviously resolved now and the older reviews are simply a reflection of that time gone.
There is a water-resistant plug and the connector from the power brick to the actual light controller themselves has a screw-on facility making it what I assume is watertight (Although, it’s not rained here and I don’t intend to use this outside).
Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the split of the string lights, but I can see why it’s done. You’ll have two options in the app for setting up your Twinkly Christmas tree Lights, one of which is 2D and the other 3D.
You split the lights down the back and the front and wrap them around your tree, this helps not leave any open ends on your Smart Christmas tree.
The Setup process
So, I’m going to preface this by saying that we have 3 Wi-Fi connections on our network, one of which (The main one) is hidden.
I can add most of my Smart Home devices to this network but Twinkly didn’t give me the option to find or add a hidden network manually.
I’m not blaming Twinkly, nor do I think it’s down to them to make sure that people keep their networks unhidden, but I spent around 30 minutes looking for an option to show hidden networks on the Twinkly App before simply unhiding the network temporarily.
The actual set up process is super easy, simply plug everything in, get your Wi-Fi password handy and do the following:
- Download the Twinkly App
- Log in with Facebook, Google or create an account in the Twinkly App
- It will automatically set up “Twinkly Demo”, just follow the steps it says until you come to the main screen
- On the main app screen, select the LED Bulb in the bottom right-hand side
- Tap “Add another device”
- Press and hold the button on the Smart Christmas Lights
- Your device should then connect and ask if you want to connect to a home network or its own connection
- Select Home / Wi-Fi connection and input your device settings.
- Boom. Done, you have your Smart Christmas Tree added to the network
There’s an alternative option for the Twinkly Lights to host their own Wi-Fi connection so it’s not on your main network.
This does mean you’ll need to jump between one network and another whenever you want to control your lights via the app.
I did dabble with the Twinkly Wi-Fi connection, it requires you to change the password from the default “Twinkly2019”, you cannot set it to “Twinkly2019” to avoid the password prompt and it will need changing to something else.
I would advise not making the new password Twinkly2020, something a little more secure is a definite must.
Twinkly App Setup Process
Setting up your Smart Christmas Lights is super easy, regardless of whether or not you’re on Android or iPhone (We tried both). The GUI is different on each device OS, but not enough that it’s confusing.
How many presets are there?
As of writing this, my app came with 16 default patterns, ranging from a fire effect to a rainbow effect. They’re all pretty cool and to make it even better, there’s a free ‘store’ you can download more patterns from!
Some of those downloaded patterns didn’t look great and I’m not sure whether that’s because of the way we layered the light strips, but you would assume mapping would resolve that.
For example, there is a downloadable pattern called “Love” which is just a beating heart, if you have some of the RGB lights pushed further back, they will distort the image.
If you’re not happy with a preset, you can actually customise it. For example, the falling snow preset can be sped up, slowed down and have its colour changed.
If that’s not as flexible as you want, the middle option on the app gives you the ability to create your own custom patters and effects!
Whilst the custom patterns feature is quite limited, it’s definitely fun to play with and will keep the family entertained for a few hours making and saving quirky patterns.
Simply pick a color, a brush width and paint away! Ignore my gross choice, I promise you it looks a lot better on the tree!
It’s worth mentioning that the Sparkle option is very fast and blinks and a rapid rate, so if you are prone to epilepsy, pass your phone over to a friend or family member! I have also passed this feedback to Twinkly!
Twinkly Music Extension
This one is more-so for family members who love equalisers and interactivity, it’s a pretty nifty feature but the stick is a microphone.
You do still need the Twinkly Christmas Tree lights and this is purely an optional product, so this isn’t a necessity at all.
I would like to see the ability to just stream music straight to the device at some point, the actual equaliser does feel quite gimmicky and doesn’t offer much in terms of customizability.
That being said, it is very fun and I can definitely see it being a conversation starter over your Christmas or Boxing day dinner.
Read our full Twinkly Music review.
Voice assistant control
To save you the hassle, yes, Voice assistants work. No, they don’t work out of the box. We had to perform a firmware update on both the Twinkly lights and the Twinkly Music extension before we could actually get it to work or respond.
You’ll see the firmware update options on your Twinkly Device light, click the gear, go to firmware and then update.
Other than that, both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant worked with the Twinkly lights, even if they’re a bit basic as far as I can tell. But then again, what more do you need with lights?
You can change the basic color of the lights, change brightness and turn them on and off, but you cannot name a pattern (Or at least I couldn’t).
Should I get the Twinkly Lights?
My final verdict is a resounding yes, there’s no other Smart Christmas Lights like this on the market as of writing this. There are awesome effects, it can schedule the lights on and off with a voice assistant or via the app, it has a huge array of downloadable presents and the LED Lights are great quality.
Christmas is the season to splash out and show your neighbours up with your better decorations and what better way to do that other than get 400-LED lights and draw a massive sign on your porch?
To put it bluntly, I’m very happy with my Twinkly Christmas Tree Lights and unless someone comes out and creates a better and cheaper version, I can’t imagine Twinkly being beaten any time soon.