Aoycocr sent me a couple of samples to test their products, a Smart Bulb, and a Smart Switch. They both use the Smart Life App and the Tuya Cloud. I have tested in the past a number of products using the Tuya cloud, but never a Smart Bulb so I decided to start with that one first.
I will take a look to Smart Switch in a few days and add some details to this post.
About the Products…
As I said earlier, both, the Smart Bulb and the switch use the Tuya framework, a company that provides out of the box solutions for different brands, in this case, Aoycocr. The main advantage is that from the hardware point of view the devices are very similar and they are all controlled by the Smart Life App, which is pretty decent and intuitive compared to other Smart Home apps.
The Smart Bulb has two modes, white and color while the Smart Switch acts as a simple mechanical switch, this is ideal if you need to automate many light points.
Pros And Cons
- Both items work over wifi so you don’t need any type of hub to use them.
- The switch is triggered with a mechanical push. This doesn’t seem like a big deal but I have a couple of contact switches installed and they look very cool but tend to fail more.
- It uses the Smart Life App so you will always be able to find devices for every need and keep them on the same app.
- Very competitive price especially when you buy them in packs.
- As any other Tuya device, updating the firmware is fairly simple and adds a huge potential to the device.
- To be able to control the devices from the outside, at least out of the box, you rely on the Tuya Cloud. This is a single point of failure that you don’t have control over. Having said that, I use several Tuya devices and have never noticed any outage.
- Wifi is great if you are only going to have a few devices but as you keep adding more and more, your router may not be able to keep up.
- I would like to have local control over the devices, that is without going through the cloud. Maybe direct connection using MQTT.
Control the Devices
Smart Life App
The main way to control the smart bulb and the switch is through the Smart Life App which is available for Android and iOS.
In addition to directly controlling the lights on command from the app, there are 2 functionalities that you can implement with this smart bulb.
The scenes are predefined sets of colors and patterns that you can select to set different moods with your lights.
You can turn the lights ON and OFF based on a schedule either at a specific time or using a timer. This is cool to simulate presence for example.
The Smart Life App is pretty rich in terms of automation so you can even trigger the events based on the time of the day (like a sunrise). This is a Set and Forget kind of automation and it wi be adjusting the time as the year passes.
From the app, you can easily adjust the brightness and the color of the bulb. I have noticed that using colors (not white) the bulb isn’t very bright. I barely use color so it is not a deal-breaker for me.
I already have a few devices compatible with the Smart Life App and I was positively surprised to see that right after adding the devices to the app they were automatically detected by my Amazon Echos.
The devices are compatible with both Google Home and Amazon Echo and I have found them to be very responsive, at least with Alexa, I don’t own a Google Home.
Thinking Outside the Box
The Smart Life App and voice assistants like Alexa or Google Home are the main ways to control the devices, however, they aren’t the only ones. Check this post to learn how to have local control over any Tuya device.
Connecting the Bulb
The first time you insert the Smart Bulb into the socket it will start blinking intermittently. It is a bit annoying but yet a great way to let you know that there is some setup still to be done. If the bulb is already blinking it is time to get to the next step and install the app.
Smart Phone App
Download the Smart Life App from the Apple Store or Android Google Play, depends on your choice.
Once you have it installed, you will have to open the app and sign in if you don’t have an account yet. After you get in, you will have an opportunity to start adding devices. I already have a few Tuya smart devices at home so my list is not empty.
Click on the + sign placed on the top right of the screen to add a new device.
Tuya has a wide array of devices so you will see plenty of options here. Go into the tab Lighting and select the first bulb from the left.
Your smart bulb should already be blinking and annoying the heck out of you, if it doesn’t, follow the instructions in the app to get it into setup mode.
It is not overly intuitive and it took me a couple of tries but you only have to do it once.
Once you get it into the blinking state hit connect and let the app go through the process.
It won’t take more than 10 to 15 seconds and your smart bulb will be connected.
If you are on the market for a smart bulb that doesn’t require a hub, I think the Aoycocr is probably a good option. It uses the Tuya framework, which makes it compatible a number of different products and voice assistants and I have found the product to be very responsive, especially through voice.
The array of colors is very rich (not very bright though) although not as much as the Phillis Hue..the price s also different though…
I wished it was more open in terms of compatibility with open-source home automation systems but that is more a limitation from Tuya than anything else, besides, there are always tricks to make that integration happen.