Sengled Pulse Link Starter Kit review

Sengled Pulse is a speaker bulb that gives your living room a home theater feel

Sengled Pulse lets you strategically place speakers around your home theater in the guise of light bulbs.
Sengled Pulse lets you strategically place speakers around your home theater in the guise of light bulbs.
Sengled Pulse lets you strategically place speakers around your home theater in the guise of light bulbs.

Highs

  • Great build quality and design
  • Portable system is ideal for renters
  • Clear sound quality from small package

Lows

  • Doesn’t integrate with other smart-home devices
  • Lack of bass from speakers

DT Editors' Rating

It may seem like Phillips or Sonos have the market cornered for powering the lightning and music in your smart home, but Sengled is trying to combine both features into a more affordable package. The company already provides a wide range of innovative LED lighting solutions that can help extend your Wi-Fi range or even detect intruders to your home, but its Starter Kit for Pulse is all about enhancing a bulb with a speaker. We plugged in the kit to see if Sengled can pull of this combination of both sight and sound.

Components

The Sengled Pulse is a dimmable LED bulb with a Bluetooth JBL speaker inside. The standard Pulse pair of bulbs will run you $150 or you can by a single satellite bulb for $70. Both come in three colors: Candy Apple Red, Pearl White, or Pewter. You can pair these with your phone via Bluetooth, then use the app to play music through the speaker and to control the light. When paired with the Sengled app, you can change the brightness of the bulbs together as a group from 0 to 100 percent. If you want to listen to music without lighting, the system allows you to turn them off and maintain the sound. There is no color changing setting here like you might find in the Phillips Hue. The power for the sound within the lights comes from a 1.75-inch Full-Range High-Fidelity JBL Loudspeaker, and the system is packaged in a way so that the speaker is not detectable at a glance within the bulb.

Sengled Pulse Link Starter Kit
Nolan Browning/Digital Trends
Nolan Browning/Digital Trends

Our Pulse Link Starter Kit was $200 and is only available with the Pewter-colored bulbs. Also included in the box is the Link adapter, two 1-inch socket extensions (for deeper recessed lights), an auxiliary cable, and an RCA cable to connect sound from either your computer or TV output. The Pulse Link adaptor adds the extra $50 onto the price tag and lets you bring the audio from your TV to up to eight of your bulbs, giving your home theater (or living room) a more immersive feel. The bulbs themselves are very impressive in fit and finish as the silver color has a nice metallic paint quality. The bulbs both screw into a standard E26 light bulb socket and are 5.3 inches high and 3.8 inches in diameter to fit within BR30 recessed can lights.

Getting connected

The setup for the system is simple, as you screw the lights into the socket and they immediately light up as you would expect with a standard LED bulb. Without any further setup, the Pulse lights are now ready to connect to any of your Bluetooth devices by finding “Pulse Link” on your device. The Sengled Pulse mobile app is available for both Android and iOS and lets you control the light and volume intensity of the system, as well as device management settings.

To connect the included Pulse Link, you must first plug it into an outlet close to your media center, television, or whatever audio source you would like to use that has an RCA or AUX audio output. Both included audio cables are over 5 feet long and should give you plenty of room to connect the Pulse Link to your system. Once connected, you will see LED indicators on the Link to show when the unit is powered on, when the Link has made a connection to the Pulse speakers, and when it is connected to an audio source. To switch from a Bluetooth connection on your mobile device to the Pulse Link audio source, you have to go into the application settings and toggle between the two. This is nice for instances when you may want to listen to some music from your phone while your favorite show has cut to commercials. We connected the system through both an AUX output from our media center computer and the RCA audio output on the television and had no issues in either case. The only confusion occurred when we’d try to get sound from the Pulse Link but forgot to switch the toggle in the app.

Lights and sound

The LED lights give a nice warm glow, similar to a normal incandescent 55-watt light bulb, with a temperature of 2700K (warm white as opposed to cool white) and brightness of 600 lumens.

We have come to appreciate the sound quality in the full range of JBL products, and they continue to shine in this application. The system powers each bulb with up to 13 watts of power, which may not seem like much, but is plenty to produce very clear highs and can fill a smaller room without issue. However, due to the small size of this particular speaker setup, there is an unsurprising lack of bass in any music or movie effects. Thankfully, the system can be expanded to an additional six satellite Pulse speaker bulbs (eight total) and an additional subwoofer output is available with the Pulse Amp for a more enveloping sound experience. With the simple two-speaker setup, it’s still a fantastic addition to have the sound right above you while watching a movie. You will want to plan your setup carefully, as the speakers are very directional in focus and viewers not directly under the lights may lose some of the quality. Also, due to limits with Bluetooth range, you will occasionally lose the connection between your mobile device and the bulb when walking out into another room out of range for the speakers.

Conclusion

If you are trying to build out an audio experience for your home theater or simply trying to fill your home with music without getting tangled up in wires, Sengled is worth a look. At $200 for this starter package, you can begin to build a budget system without many sacrifices. Sengled has no current support for popular connected applications like IFTTT and the lack of Wi-Fi certainly limits any further interaction with your other smart devices, but there is certainly place in the market for the Sengled system for the features it brings together for a couple hundred bucks.

Product Review

Hue who? Nanoleaf Canvas brings a riot of color and vibrancy to the smart home

Fun and festive, Nanoleaf Canvas feature lighting adds personality and vibrancy to any room. Nanoleaf Canvas features squares that you can connect in any configuration you’d like. Sync to music, play games, or relax in soothing light.
Home Theater

These awesome A/V receivers will swarm you with surround sound at any budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for a receiver, so we assembled our favorites for 2018, at multiple price points and all loaded with features, from Dolby Atmos to 4K HDR, and much more.
Product Review

Step aside, Sonos: Riva's Concert is the best smart speaker you can buy

The Riva Concert series speaker is a fantastic, small-profile smart speaker with Alexa integration, truly excellent sound, and great looks, making it the perfect addition to your kitchen, living room, or bedroom.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Smart Home

Dog or cat shedding? These vacuums do a great job of sucking up pet hair

Got a pet hair problem? Fortunately, there's help for you and your furry friend. We tested out a bunch of vacuums that promise to remove pet hair. Here are a few of the best you can buy.
Smart Home

Rocco wants to rock out. Parrot learns to use owner’s Amazon Alexa

Rocco, an African gray parrot, fell in love with his owner's Alexa unit and ordered himself treats and other goodies, but mostly uses the smart assistant to rock out to his favorite music.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

The Echo Wall Clock can help you keep track of multiple Alexa timers

Amazon just released the Echo Wall Clock that was announced at its September new hardware device event in Seattle. The Echo Wall Clock is an analog clock that also indicates the minutes remaining on one or more Alexa timers.
Product Review

Ring Alarm makes DIY home security simple and affordable enough for everyone

Ring first made waves with its video doorbell, and now the Amazon-owned company is moving on to home security with the Ring Alarm. You can install the sensors and keypads yourself, then have Ring professionally monitor your home.
Smart Home

Espresso On Demand: The five best Nespresso machines

Most people still trek down to their local coffee shop to get an espresso or a cappuccino, but you don't have to. A Nespresso machine can put coffee shop quality espresso on your kitchen counter.
Smart Home

This device detects when your pet is at the door and opens it for them

Tired of waiting for your dog to come inside, or running home in the middle of the day to let your four-legged friend out? Wayzn automatically opens sliding doors for your dog and gives you remote control.
Deals

Get electronics gifts for high-tech homes for under $100 with these deals

The holiday season is in full swing with Christmas just around the corner. New deals on interesting, fun, and practical electronic gifts under $100 from major online retailers can convert last-minute shoppers to savvy bargain hunters.
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
News

Canary home security company sued over $10 monitoring fee

A class-action lawsuit claims home security startup Canary offered free monitoring features to entice people to purchase their cameras, then started charging a monthly fee to continue using them.