While much of the focus of the smart home world lies inside of your home, there is a growing market for convenient solutions for the great outdoors. Security cameras and video doorbells are some of the most common outdoor accessories. Still, weather-resistant smart lighting is also becoming more mainstream, with light strips and bulbs leading the charge.
Other types of outdoor lighting are also slowly getting a smart makeover, including the classic floodlight. I recently set up a pair of Novostella Smart LED Floodlights for my home, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much connected tech could fit into a small, yet powerful accessory, and still retain the level of weather resistance needed to operate out in the harsh elements. I can certainly see this type of accessory being commonplace in the near future, although it needs some refinements to bring that to fruition.
Bright and rugged
Novostella Smart LED Floodlight
Bottom line: The Novostella Smart LED Floodlight brings bright, colorful lighting to the great outdoors with an IP66 weather resistance rating. However, the clunky stand design and pairing process hinder the overall experience.
- Excellent build quality
- Bright, colorful light
- IP 66 Weather resistance
- Alexa and Google Assistant support
- Clunky app interface
- Stand design
- Doesn't support HomeKit
Novostella Smart LED Floodlight: The features
The Novostella Smart LED Floodlights, which are sold in pairs, feature a pretty unremarkable design that is mostly all black, with a large window that sits in front of a bank of LEDs. The floodlights have no physical buttons or switches on-device, with all of the controls coming from an app, or via voice using Amazon's Alexa, or Google Assistant. The floodlights are weather-resistant, sporting an IP 66 rating, which is typically referred to as having full dust protection in addition to protection from high-pressure water.
Around the back of the floodlights, there is a stand which pivots towards the top or bottom and has screw holes for securing it to the side of your home. A 3 foot power cord rests at the bottom, and along the top of the floodlights is a terminal for a screw-on antenna, which is optional, but adds increased wireless range.
The smart portion of the floodlights is enabled through Wi-Fi connectivity over the 2.4ghz band only. The floodlights connect directly to your home network without needing a separate hub, and there are no subscription fees involved, just a simple registration is all that it takes to get everything up and running.
As for lighting, the Novostella Floodlights support what appears to be the industry standard of 16 million different shades of colors and whites. The floodlights are fully dimmable and are capable of reaching up to 2,000 lumens of brightness using just 20 watts of energy. Each floodlight projects its lighting at a 120-degree angle, and additional extras, such as motion detection, or multiple color zones are not included.
Novostella Smart LED Floodlight: What I like
When the Novostella Smart LED Floodlights arrived, I was immediately surprised about just how compact they were and was amazed that the company was able to cram two of them into its packaging. I was also surprised with the build quality of the lights, as they appear to be built out of solid aluminum, which makes them quite hefty, and gives me the impression that they will stand the test of time.
Even the power cord itself felt substantial, and the spot where it connects to the internals of the light was rigid and had what looked to be a bushing that was truly meant to keep out water. The stand or mount portion was also made of aluminum, and I liked that the floodlight can be mounted in various orientations, although I will note that actual mounting screws are not included. The Wi-Fi antenna is removable, which is nice if you plan on keeping your lights near your home router, and it gives the whole package a much cleaner look.
Powering up the lights for the first time immediately blasted them on at full intensity with a clean white light, which gave me no doubt that they can reach their claims of 2,000 lumens. Colors on the floodlights were also bright and vivid, with color reproduction being on par with most other smart lighting, each with adjustable temperatures.
Color, brightness, and temperature adjustments were quick and easy within the associated app, with various sliders and color wheels available. Preset colors are also available, putting some of the more common schemes, such as a "reading mode," just a tap away, although most of them don't quite align with outdoor lighting. Changes sent from the app happened pretty much instantaneously, thanks to its direct connection to the network over Wi-Fi.
Novostella Smart LED Floodlight: What I don't like
Setting up the Novostella Smart LED Floodlights was an interesting experience, to say the least. While Novostella includes a QR code in the user guide to take you right to the app store listing for the appropriate app, the app itself is not branded for the company or the lights. Instead, the app seems to use a catch-all type of approach, which lists a vast range of accessories that can work with a bunch of different brands, including one from another one of my recent reviews.
Since the app isn't specific to the floodlight, the user manual steps, pictures, and terminology don't quite align with what you actually are presented. This obviously created some confusion, but I did manage to make my way to the pairing process after just randomly choosing a Wi-Fi light bulb as my accessory, where I was presented with another issue: my lights were not ready for pairing out of the box. Powering on the lights led to them merely staying lit, and not blinking rapidly like how the app stated to indicate that they were ready to pair.
Instead, I had to perform a reset of the lights, which involved unplugging it and plugging it back in around five times rapidly. This process was again not aligned with the reset process in the app, but I figured since the floodlight does not have a manual power switch on it, this was the way to get the job done. Of course, the app experience is why I prefer accessories that work with Apple's HomeKit platform as it provides consistency, but unfortunately, the Novostella floodlights do not support it.
Over on the hardware side of things, I found that I was unable to actually stand the floodlights upright like they are shown on the marketing material. This is due to the design of the floodlight, with its Wi-Fi antenna piece protruding from one end, and the heavy-duty power cord attaching to the other. You can choose not to install the antenna, but it will limit range, and it will cause the power cord to sit at the top of the light, which looks all sorts of weird and probably isn't good for weather resistance. Speaking of the cord, I found it to be rather short (3 foot), all but guaranteeing that it will need an extension cord for outdoor placement.
Novostella Smart LED Floodlight: The Bottom Line
In the end, the Novostella Smart LED Floodlight is somewhat of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the stable, rugged exterior with weather resistance rating, coupled with its bright and crisp colors, makes it suitable for most outdoor lighting needs. However, the less than stellar pairing process, short cord, and flawed stand design, keeps it from being one of the standouts for the category.
You can certainly get a lot out of the Novostella Smart LED Floodlight if you are willing to put in a little work. Mounting the floodlight with your own screws can bypass the stand issue, providing your own extension cord can negate the short cord problem, and knowing the tricks to pairing can undoubtedly help to get things up and running quickly. For most people, though, it merely seems like too much to ask for the price of admission.
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