Sengled Optoelectronics was founded more than 10 years ago and has been focusing on creating app-controlled, intelligent illumination products that are intuitive and eco-friendly. With 200 patents and a wide variety of laboratory certifications and energy star rating by the EPA, this company is making constant efforts to strive for high-quality products.
A Little Background On This Review
I was fortunate enough to receive a free Snap product in December. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the registration and setup process was incredibly easy and smooth and any issues that I had was addressed within a week with either their app being updated to fix any connection issues or quick communication with their tech support team on any tickets that I created. This type of customer service really impressed me; actually reaching a human that can help and not just a canned response from an offshore person is rare to find nowadays.
Product Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Usability: 4.5 out of 5
- Outdoor LED light bulb
- Ultra-wide angle HD camera
- Wifi accessible
- Video & Images stored in cloud
- Night Visibility
- iOS & Android App
- Two-way communication via microphone/speaker
- Motion Zone Setup & Detection
- Light on/off Time Scheduling
- Dimming controls
You can see a full video of my unboxing and product/app review on our Madusability Youtube Channel below:
My Snap Experience
- Ease of Use – Installation for both Hardware and Software is simple
- Lighting – Dim Controls, easily illuminating a large area in the front of a home at night
- Two-way Audio – Output and Input sound and communication is very clear
- Hardware Quality – High quality construction, durable
- Vision – HD camera allows for very clear live video
- Night Vision –people are illuminated/visible within a 15-20ft range
Overall, I’m impressed with the Snap Sengled product delivering high quality with an easy-to-use app, which was the 2015 CES Innovation Award winner in the Smart Home category. Sengled provides several very useful features that similar companies within a comparable price range just simply do not offer. It’s quick and easy to setup with their customer service being very helpful in responding to questions that I had.
The home I tested the Snap product didn’t have an outdoor light fixture. So I easily converted the front door light from a standard wall mounted light fixture and added a $10 Satco Switvel Socket and attached the Snap to that.
I’m currently running the light in the above picture at only 50% brightness, so it’s plenty and additional light could easily be increased via the Dim control.
The Initial Setup
Installation of the Snap…well was snap. The onboarding directions when you first started the app was really helpful as it walked you through four easy steps of instructions.
Once my phone was able to detect the Snap, the device would be displayed and I was able to start viewing video and play with the features.
#1: Forgot Password Countdown Timer
Recommend removing the countdown timer. I initially thought this was a countdown timer for when I would need to re-enter my confirmation code. After receiving the reset email, it does mention that it will last for 2 hours. This should automatically just reset on the backend to avoid user confusion.
#2: Automatic Logout
It would be nice to not have to login in every time after the app shuts down. If there could be a checkbox on login that allows to save the user’s login info so they don’t have to retype it.
Once my Snap was connected to my wifi and my mobile device located it, I was underway to viewing the camera feed and controlling the device.
Initially with only one device, the first and only image displayed wasn’t immediately clear that it wasn’t the live feed. Once selected, it would slide in the page to the live feed, so I immediately understood that the initial image was just a static image displaying a list of all cameras on my network.
The menu was simple to navigate especially since I only had one light attached. Having multiple lights could cause a bit more confusion. Controls for the lighting and scheduling could be simplified so the user doesn’t have to go to the menu screen to access different controls.
Adding all the controls within one page so that the Live feed, Settings and light scheduling could be accessible without having to jump between menus would help simplify the UI.
Plus #1: Easy Motion Zones Setup
Setting up the motion detection zones and areas of detection was extremely easy and fun to setup and see working.
The user can add new zones, setup color and easily resize area and location of the detection region within the display.
#1: Increase Active touch area for fields
For fields that dive the user to a second level page (see below), the entire line should be an active touch area vs. just the > arrow. This follows the normal iOS and Android mobile patterns.
Security (Cloud) Image Capture
This feature is available only with a Cloud account, current price for the cloud account is unknown at the time of this review (and not accessible from Sengled’s website).
Plus #1 – Playback
Probably one of the coolest features that I thought was the most useful, was the security images and ability to replay the video from the point right before and after the image was captured.
The Security page would display when motion was detected in one of my “motion zones” that I setup for the camera. It would display the image, camera name, zone and time/date stamp of when it was captured. I could select the image and it would display a larger view of the image where I could rotate the mobile device to display full-screen, or select replay and immediately view the live recorded footage right before and after.
Notifications were a great addition and I started to receive messages on my phone when something was detected. This did become a bit of a nuisance at night as we have a bit more wildlife in our area and bugs flying close to the camera would set it off and send a notification every 5 minutes.
I decreased the size of the motion detection window and separated into 2 different ones. One in front of the entry stairs and door vs. one large area from the stairs to the door, which decreased the amount of false positives/notifications that I would receive.
Plus #1: Convenience
This is a very useful feature as this prevents anyone else in the family from turning off the power to the Snap (which was happening before I setup the scheduling) and thus taking it offline.
#1: Visual Indication for AM/PM
On my initial setup, I quickly setup the turn off and on for PM and didn’t realize it. I thought there was something wrong with the app but after I checked I realized the problem. A little visual icon sun for AM and moon for PM would be a subtle yet prevention of human error.
#2: Repeat setting
I missed this initially as well, but there is a subtle line below the time that represents what days are set (“Everyday” in the screenshot below). I didn’t set the repeat and was wondering why my light wasn’t being turned on/off. When I went to check, I realized I needed to set this. The repeat line should be a separate line and should say “Not Repeated” if the days haven’t been set.
#2: Select all days
This is a minor one, but the circle to select all days is not clear. These are actually a checkbox, so the radio button icon at the top, isn’t immediately intuitive as I didn’t recognize this after a few tries. Possibly a grayed out check icon with All as text next to it, which turns green when selected, might work better.
Two-way Audio Intercom
Using this feature was straightforward with the microphone icon on the bottom right to activate the intercom. When active, a large mic icon appears in the center of the screen and would fill as it detected sound from my mobile device. This was a subtle but important feedback to know that the microphone was working.
The sound output from the SNAP had a good amount of volume, that could be clearly heard from about 20 feet away. I could also clearly hear sound from outside and conversation between myself and a guest at the door.
Microinteractions and the “Little Things”
This is more of the UX designer in me that recognizes these the micro-interactions and appreciate the thought into these things.
From the loading animation, animation of the text when the bulb is offline, page slide animation, to slight color difference between active and non-active icons, really help the user with drawing their attention to what is going on so there isn’t that awkward, “What is happening?” state.
Bottom Line: Is the Sengled Right for You?
Sengled is the perfect choice for people that are looking for a good quality smarthome product that’s affordable and easy to setup. The features that are disabled (motion detection, reporting) could be a problem if the cloud costs add up for multiple devices. If they could offer a way to auto purge after a certain period of time so that users could limit their storage needs (ex. Security up to 30 days or 10Gb = $x; up to 60 days and 50gb, $x, etc), could be a way to allow for different tiers to choose from.
Looks like Sengled did it again at the 2016 CES, winning – 2016 Best of Innovation Award-winning products, Voice and Flex (Honoree)