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Twinky Flex review: The neon wall light that bends all the rules

twinky flex review twinkly 8 of 10
Twinky Flex review: The neon wall light that bends all the rules
MSRP $100.00
“It's the neon light that you can continually customize at home into any shape or design.”
Pros
  • Endless lighting customizations with app
  • Bright and iridescent colors
  • Easily flexes for unique designs
Cons
  • No way to combine two tubes together

When it comes to holiday lights, no one does it better than smart light maker Twinkly. I’ve been enamored by the company’s line of smart lights ever since I first came across them a couple of years ago. While the selection’s pretty deep in terms of holiday lights, there’s really nothing you could use for year-round.

That’s where the Twinkly Flex comes to the rescue, one of three brand new smart lighting solutions that the company introduced earlier this year during CES 2021. The Flex is very similar to any other LED light strip, but it’s wrapped in a tough tubing that allows it to be bent or flexed. Think of it like a neon wall light, but one that can be shaped into any position you want — for that unique, custom look.

Installation

The Twinkly Flex measures in at 6.5 feet long, trailed by a fairly equally long wire that gets hooked up to an outlet. Included with the packaging are some two-sided adhesives and plastic plates that help to shape the Flex. I initially used the adhesives to design the word ‘love’ on the wall, but realized the next morning that it all came apart — so I ended up using the included screws to secure the plastic plates to the wall. It’s extra work, but it undoubtedly holds up the weight and design better than just the adhesives.

Plastic guiders fastened to wall to hold up Twinkly Flex design.
John Velasco / Digital Trends

One of the toughest things about installing the Flex has nothing to do with the actual installation. Instead, it’s figuring out what design to go after. There are some shapes and abstract designs you can go with, but the 6.5 feet I had left to work with was limiting at times. Unlike other smart LED light strips, you can’t physically connect two Flex tubes together for more complex designs. Rather, you can buy group multiple Flex strips together using the app.

Software

The Twinkly app is fairly straightforward. Once I was able to connect the Flex to my home’s Wi-Fi network, I was able to then select what lighting effects to choose. In fact, there are plenty of effects to choose from to suit your taste — ranging from standard colors that breathe, to unique effects that display multiple colors simultaneously. The options and customizations are endless, which makes it really fun to check out.

While the preset effects are nice, there’s an option to make your own custom one as well, which requires you to map the Twinkly Flex using your phone’s camera. This process also helps with the preset effects, since some of them are reliant on direction — like some of the cascading effects that go from side-to-side or up-and-down.

Think of it like a traditional neon light sign you may see on a storefront.

There’s support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, which comes in handy when you just want to speak voice commands to turn on the Twinkly Flex. The app also allows you to remotely turn on the Flex when you’re away, as well as set a custom playlist that scrolls through selected lighting effects for a given amount of time. With so many options and customizations, I really enjoy how I’m able to choose different effects for holidays and special occasions. So yes, they’re the year-round smart lights from Twinkly that I’ve been waiting for!

Performance

Twinkly’s holiday smart lights have never disappointed me and the Flex continues the trend of delivering mesmerizing effects that are accompanied by bright, iridescent colors. Since the LEDs are encased in a tube, you don’t get that overwhelming light intensity you get when LED light strips are exposed. The tubing, in fact, disperses the light evenly — so that its glow is just the right amount.

Using smartphone camera to take photo of Twinkly Flex on wall.
John Velasco / Digital Trends

In the darkness, it certainly dazzles and draws attention because of its iridescence. Think of it like a traditional neon light sign you may see on a storefront. It’s the same kind of intensity that delivers enough ambiance to any room. Given that, the Flex is best reserved as an accent light instead of being a primary light source, much like a reading or spot light. While it’s isolated in being an accent light, I’m still impressed by how it’s able to command a room without being too overwhelming.

Our take

The price of smart LED light strips have dramatically fallen, so the $100 cost of the Twinkly Flex may come as a shock to some folks. However, I think it’s worth investing in because of how unique it is in the world of smart lighting. With so many dazzling effects to choose from and create, the only real limitation here is determining what design is feasible to go after with only 6.5 feet.

Is there a better alternative?

In terms of accent lighting, you can save yourself a pretty penny with the Govee LED light strip, which is a fraction of the cost. However, it’s best reserved as an accent light that’s out of sight — not something that would be out in the open on a wall.

As for other wall-mounted smart lights, the Nanoleaf Elements have a rustic look with light up LED wall panels, but are priced substantially more.

How long will it last?

The tough outer casing of the Twinkly Flex feels rugged enough if you intend on bending and flexing it several times. Although, it’s tough to say long-term how the lights will hold up with constant use. The LEDs are rated for 30,000 hours. If there’s a defect, there’s a 1one-year limited warranty that would cover it.

Should you buy it?

Twinkly proves it can wow with its year-round lighting solution in the Flex, so it’s definitely worth buying if you want to change things up with a dazzling feast for the eyes.

John Velasco
John is the Smart Home editor at Digital Trends covering all of the latest tech in this emerging market. From uncovering some…
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