Technology allows us to control and automate many aspects of our home, from Bluetooth speakers to smart security systems and so on. The Elgato Avea Flare is an extension to that smart home ethos and allows the control of the ambience of your environment. Let’s take a look.
We were a little hesitant about reviewing this product at first. Why? Well, we review mobile technology and gadgets, and a lamp controlled by a Bluetooth connection, whilst utilising mobile technology isn’t our usual bag. However we’re glad we did as there are a number of aspects to this product that really hit the core of what we’re about: mobile technology providing solutions to everyday problems and taking those scenarios a bit further.
Overview & Unboxing
So the Elgato brand is synonymous with gaming. Anybody who has spent any time on YouTube will attest to the literally thousands (millions?) of gaming videos, most of which will have been facilitated by Elgato game capture products. What you probably didn’t know was that Elgato have a few other strings to their bow.
For example their Eve products provide real-time environmental readings such as temperature, air pressure, humidity and energy, available at the touch of an iOS button. Furthermore, they also have a range of Thunderbolt products, battery power packs and other Bluetooth and wireless peripherals. Then they have the Avea range; the subject of this review.
Take a look at our unboxing video to get the general feel for what the product does, what you get with it and what it looks like, but the basic facts are these. The Elgato Avea Flare is a smart lamp complete with wireless charging, controllable by a bluetooth device (iOS or Android) to display a number of preset or custom colour patterns to suit any room or mood. It is IP65 water-resistant so should be able to withstand a bit of a water spray, and it’s battery life is rated at over 8 hours.
The lamp itself sits proudly at a ‘nice’ 22cm which is large enough to allow the scene to be set, but not so large that you’ll struggle for places to put it. The wireless pad which accompanies it allows a snug fit, and can be put out of sight thanks to the battery life, and docked when not in use. On the bottom of the lamp are two buttons. One toggles power on and off whilst the mode button fades the current light to a standby mode which can be activated again via the companion app. Surrounding the buttons is a curious looking handle which can be undocked to allow easy carrying and presumably also to allow hanging.
Setup & Use
Let’s start with use cases. Elgato market this product as a mood lamp. They go out of their way to point out right from the start that this isn’t designed to provide more bright light for your home. The Elgato Avea Flare, which is just one in a range of Avea products with similar functionality, should be used in the home to set the mood for a party, romantic evening, relaxing Netflix session, or just to give you enough light to complete any of the aforementioned without the need for your main lighting. Elgato’s site is full of pictures of numerous Avea Flare devices upon bed stands, on tables as centre pieces and on external decking (IP65 but be careful!). There are more than enough scenarios that make this a worthwhile product in theory.
That theory is only proven if the device itself is a) easy to use, b) achieves what it claims and most importantly c) looks the part. Well, two out of three isn’t bad is it?
The Elgato Avea Flare is very easy to set up assuming you own an Android device or an iOS device with iOS 9 or later. Firstly, make sure Bluetooth is switched on, and then download the relevant app from either the App Store, or the Google Play Store (we’ll be showing the Android setup). As soon as you open the Avea application, it will start to search for any lamps in the area and attempt to pair (seamlessly). Once found you’ll be prompted to give the lamp a name and then immediately taken to the preset screen where you can start experimenting with combinations.
A further feature of the Elgato Avea Flare is the Wake Up Light which enables an alarm to be set which, when triggered will start to slowly illuminate the environment and use your smartphone to play subtle soothing music to gentle wake you from your slumber. A nice inclusion which works quite well.
The wireless charging pad, whilst not a familiar Qi or PMA standard, is a good enough replacement with two docking pins to charge the device. The Elgato Avea Flare will, and has, lasted over 8 hours on a full charge which would be perfect for a BBQ outside, a marathon TV session or numerous other scenarios. The charging pad itself is connected via AC power however the feet on the bottom of the pad aren’t quite high enough to allow the wire to easily sit flush with some rocking when the lamp isn’t docked visible, so we recommend putting this charging pad out of sight if possible.
Yes it’s easy to set up and use – check, and yes it does what it performs as expected – again check. The last of our checklist is a little more debatable and will depend on the consumer in question. This device is designed to be used as a visual piece in the home whilst setting a mood. In our opinion, it doesn’t quite make the grade there. It essence it is a 22cm high piece of curved plastic. We doubt it would fit easily into most carefully planned living or dining rooms. It’s not hideous, and the technology in use dictates some elements of its aesthetic however it could be a little more pleasing on the eye in our opinion. Elgato do offer another option for specific European countries in the shape of a Sphere which looks a little nicer but the material choices remain the same.
There are environments where this will quite happily fit in with the decor so perhaps however in our testing we hid it behind a TV, sound system, and used it as a bedside lamp and we were happy with that.
The Elgato Avea Flare is a nice product – there we said it. Yes it’s just an LED lamp of which there are dozens on the market but Elgato have packaged it for simplicity and hit the mark. Setup, use, portability and charging are all very easy with the only potential hiccup being the aesthetic, although this is an entirely personal choice as many of these home accent products are.
Our favourite feature is undoubtedly the battery life. Over 8 hours of use is great meaning a long summer evening could be illuminated easily with one of these products. The included Wake Up Light functionality is a nice functional addition also.
Aesthetics aside, at nearly £90 these devices aren’t cheap and depending on the size of the environment you want to freshen up with dynamic mood lighting, you might be spending quite a pretty penny. When compared to other products on the market however the Elgato Avea Flare does stand out as having quite a lot of additional functionality over and above the ability to cycle through an RGB colour gamut. What’s more you can even control this via your Apple Watch if you’re so inclined.
If you have the cash, the aesthetic is acceptable and you have a use case (the easiest to obtain of the three) then you won’t be disappointed with this product, much as we weren’t.