Unboxing + Review: LIFX Z Color-Changing LED Strips

Meet one of the newest members of the LIFX family: The LIFX "Z" LED strips with multiple zones for creative and fun lighting effects.

While LIFX now joins several other brands (Philips Hue, Sylvania Lightify) in making “LED strip lighting” that is app-controlled and can be integrated into home automation systems, they’ve taken it further by creating eight digitally-addressable zones per each strip. (Each strip is one meter in length and each LIFX Z system can be up to 10 meters total.) As shown in our video, there are now endless possibilites for creating beautiful, fun and creative lighting effects on the LIFX Z strips. You can choose from preset effects which generate random, static patterns of light and color, or make your own via the “light painting” tool in the LIFX app (Themes tab.) And, instead of just multiplying over each additional strip, the effects extend across the entire set of connected strips.

In our very basic tests (not shown on video), for colors, shades of white and brightness, the LIFX Z appeared to compare favorably to our Philpis Hue Lightstrip Plus. We’d like to see a little bit lower-end dimming on the LIFX Z, but that’s potentially fixed via a future app / firmware update. Also, right now, it’s possible to save the light strips into LIFX scenes, with a custom color and brightness, but the built-in and custom “themes” don’t save yet. Also, the themes can’t yet be dimmed or brightened, those controls just revert the strip to a single color instead. LIFX says fixes for those are being worked on, but gave no timeframe.

Here’s something else to look forward to: Since there are multiple zones that can be addressed by the app individually, and as shown in the video during the LIFX Z’s initial start-up and “strip counting” sequence, animation and dynamic lighting effects are quite possible. LIFX wouldn’t tell us much, but it’s something that they’d like to introduce in the future. We’re hoping for sooner, than later, because animations, especially subtle ones that would work well to create a relaxing home environment, would be perfectly suited to the LIFX Z. And, it would completely set itself apart from the competition.

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Below are the general specifications of the LIFX Z:

  • Starter kit contains (2) one-meter self-adhesive strips (3.3 ft each), power adapter, connecting cable and controller.
  • A LIFX Z starter kit can be extended to a total of 10 meters in length via one-meter extensions.
  • There are no cut marks as found on other LED strip products and LIFX does not recommend cutting the strips to length.
  • Brightness: 1400 lumens (per 2 meters)
  • Power: 17 watts (per 2 meters)
  • 16 million colors with cool to warm shades of white
  • Expected LED life: 22.8 years
  • International 100-240V ACpower supply with interchangable plugs (single, appropriate plug supplied in each starter kit)
  • OS compatibility for LIFX app: iOS 9+, Android 4.0+
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Not intended for weather-exposed outdoor areas

Check out our up-close, and bright+colorful images of LIFX Z below:

Disclosure: LIFX provided their latest smart LED lighting products, including the LIFX Z, to Smarter Home Life for review purposes.