Govee StarPal Smart Lamp Review: The portable light source to take with you
RRP $ 50.00
“The Govee StarPal Smart Lamp is a solid product that is tarnished by poor app design.”
Multiple scenes and color options
Portable thanks to battery power
Antiquated app design
Smart bulbs seem like a dozen these days, but it’s hard to find quality – especially at an affordable price. Smart lights are perfect for creating an atmosphere in a room, whether you’re watching a movie with your spouse or sitting down for a gaming binge.
Philips Hue started the smart lamp boom with its Bloom Table Lamp and Go Portable Light, but both of these smart lamps are expensive at $ 70 and $ 80, respectively. The newer Philips Hue Iris table lamp alone costs $ 100. Govee offers a cheaper alternative: the Govee StarPal Smart Table Lamp, which starts at just $ 50. It packs all the functions you would expect from an intelligent lamp into one attractive package.
Features and functions
I tested two different models of the Govee table lamp – the H6055 and H6058. The main difference between the two is that one is bluetooth only while the other is bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible. The H6058, known as the StarPal Pro lamp, is the focus of this test because of its Wi-Fi compatibility.
A special feature that immediately stood out is that these lamps are battery operated. You can plug them in and use them all the time (and I would recommend that), but if you want to charge them and take them with you on the go, you can get around six hours of full brightness from the 3350mAh battery with the lights on. At 4.9 feet, the power cord is long enough so that you don’t have to spend a long time looking for an outlet for your lamp.
The lamps can display around 16 million different colors and change from warm white to cool white over the course of the day. The color temperatures range from 2,200 K to 6,500 K. These can be exchanged as desired via the app or voice control.
The Wi-Fi lamp (but not the Bluetooth lamp) works with Alexa and Google. There are also IFTTT Govee applets that allow you to further control your lights, although the applets control the Govee Home app – not individual lights.
If you ever feel like having an impromptu dance party, you can sync the lights with music. They blink and change color to the beat, and you have full control over how suddenly the change happens thanks to a multitude of different options in the app. You can choose the sound source, from the built-in music to your phone’s microphone.
Of course, the lights are also equipped with the standard smart features: scheduling, sleep / wake cycles and more.
Setup and installation
The Govee StarPal Smart Lamp has two small feet that make it easy to set up on any flat surface. Once you’ve done that, a physical button on the back is all it takes to turn the light on for the first time. You also have to press the button once while syncing the light with the app.
The Govee Home app guides you through the setup process. It’s not difficult, but it has a particular curiosity: you have to manually enter your WiFi network name and password instead of selecting your network from a list. Unless you have renamed your network to something simple, I suggest doing it beforehand.
Other than that one step, the setup process was pretty straightforward. Alexa recognized the new devices immediately and I was able to add them to the Living Room Group without any problems.
Software and performance
As functional as these lights are, the app is terrible. Almost every time I open the app, it first shows that the lights have been disconnected and makes me wait several seconds for it to see them again.
The lights can be turned on and off from the home section of the app, but this process takes two to three seconds. A little buffer wheel even appears in the app while it’s working. I expect a little lag between my phone and smart devices, especially those that work over bluetooth, but the time the Govee app takes just feels too much. It’s a lot easier to control the lights (and get feedback faster) through the Alexa app.
Aside from the weird delay in controlling the lights, the app shows a lot of information at a glance. It shows how the lights are connected (whether via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or both), the charge of each lamp, and whether it is currently on or off.
Selecting one of the lights opens up further options. You can customize timers, change the color of the light, adjust its brightness and change the mode. There are four different modes: Music, Color, Scene and Home Improvement. These modes are used to manipulate the effects on the lamp. There are over 32 preset scenes to choose from, and some of them are pretty awesome. Others fell a little flat, with slow transition effects or harrowing color combinations that didn’t look good together.
The app presents you with an emotional color wheel in which each emotion is displayed next to its corresponding color. If you are trying to create a certain mood in the room, this unique feature can be helpful. I have certainly not seen that with other products.
Strangely enough, the Govee StarPal Pro reacted faster to commands when manipulating individual lights than when switching them on or off from the start page. The app lets you group devices for instant control of the smarts area of the app, but it’s not at all intuitive.
The Govee app has a lot of interesting features, but also a lot of problems. The app itself needs to be refined and the controls made more intuitive. I was able to figure out how much of it worked, but I would worry that someone who doesn’t use smart home devices for a living might bump into a wall.
On the performance side of things, the StarPal Pro is best reserved as an accent light as I wouldn’t necessarily say it has the strongest light for reading. That said, with so many color options and scenes, I love using it as an accent light to complement other main sources of light in a room. Cheaper smart lights tend to be weak in terms of color production, but I’m happy to announce that they produce rich, vibrant colors that help set the mood.
The Govee StarPal Pro is a budget-friendly lamp that works great – provided you’re not using the Govee Home app. After you’ve set up the lights, use Alexa or Google Home to control the lights and you’ll be a lot happier. Apart from control problems, the StarPal Pro is a good-looking lamp that creates atmosphere and atmosphere in your home.
The lamp is a solid device that suffers from poor app design. The good news is that most of the issues I’ve had with the lamp will go away when Govee updates the app to make it more user-friendly. Just make sure you are looking for the Wi-Fi compatible model and not the bluetooth-only model. Let’s face it: nobody wants a smart device that cannot be controlled remotely.
Are there alternatives?
The Philips Hue Bloom costs $ 70 but has the Philips reputation and performance behind it. On the less expensive end of the spectrum, consider the Amazon Echo Glow. Sure, it’s intended for kids, but it can create the same environmental effects and work as a wake-up light in the morning, all for just $ 30.
How long it will take?
The Govee StarPal Smart lamp is made of plastic. It’s incredibly light and feels a little fragile. I got the impression that with proper care it would last a long time (and with LEDs the lights probably won’t burn out as quickly) but don’t expect it to survive a fall off the shelf. There is a one year limited warranty that covers defects.
Should you buy it?
Yes sir. Despite my complaints about the app, the lights themselves look great. The control that each light offers is impressive, and the $ 50 price tag makes these lamps much more affordable than other options on the market.