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31 Mar 2019

Dyson Lightcycle: are light bulbs on the way out?

Dyson's smart lamp is claimed to last for 60 years, and automatically adjusts light output for the time of day, your age and different tasks

Dyson says its new high-end task lamp could reduce eyestrain, improve your mental well-being and help you sleep better at night - and it should last 60 years, too.

Not bad for a humble light fitting, although it will cost you upwards of £450.

The Lightcyclehas built-in LED chips which adjust the light colour and intensity based on the time of day. They aim to replicate daylight patterns outside your window, thanks to smart tech that takes into account your location and the local weather.

With the Dyson Link app, you can set the Lightcycle to sync to your location, or choose from a range of pre-set modes for different tasks - such as a warmer yellow light for relaxing and a cooler bluer light for focused tasks. You can also create your own settings and save up to 20.

The Lightcycle is available as a desk lamp (£450) or floor lamp (£650). It's one of a new breed of light fittings where the LEDs are built into the light fixture, known as luminaires. This means buying a replacement bulb could become a thing of a past.

The downside of buying a lighting fixture is that if the integrated light doesn't last as long as you'd hoped, you might have to replace the whole fixture, which will be quite expensive.

Best LED light bulbs - our top picks for replacement bulb that last more than a decade

Dyson Lightcycle: key features

The Lightcycle offers a lot of similar features to smart light bulbs, but built into the lamp itself.

It can adjust colour temperature (whether the light is yellower or more blue-white), and intensity. You can choose pre-set task modes in the app, create your own, and set schedules - whether to wake up with natural light or set the light to come on when you're away from home to deter burglars.

Touch-sensitive control panel

The Lightcycle can be controlled via the Dyson Link app or a control panel on the top of the lamp. You can tap the touch-sensitive buttons and sliders to switch it on and off, and control the colour temperature, brightness and other functions, including the infrared motion sensor that automatically turns the lamp off when you're away for longer than two minutes.

Buttons on the base allow you to select the ambient mode, which activates the Lightcycle's ability to change lighting temperatures in response to the natural light it detects in the room. It's able to replicate colour temperatures from 2,700K (warm white) to 6,500K (brighter daylight) using a combination of three warm and three cool LEDs.

If the setting it chooses doesn't work for you, you can always use the temperature and intensity touch controls to override the settings, which is useful if you fancy a brighter light for studying or working.

Bluetooth-controlled app

You can control the lamp and select your favourite lighting modes by connecting it to the Dyson Link app using Bluetooth. If you want to choose one of the preset modes you can only do this using the app.

With the app, you can set your location to allow the Lightcycle to mirror the lighting conditions outside throughout the day based on where you are.

The Lightcycle aims to match the light produced by the sun, starting with a warm light in the morning, getting brighter and colder during the day, and becoming warm again in the evening. Dyson says its daylight algorithm ensures the Lightcycle matches your local lighting patterns precisely.

In addition to this, you can input your age so that the brightness level will reflect what's recommended for your vision, or choose an exact colour temperature.

Top smart light bulbs for 2019- see the recommended smart light bulbs that allow you to adjust colour temperature and switch between preset daylight modes

Task lighting modes

The Lightcycle comes with a range of preset task modes, including:

  • Relax:gentler, warmer light for reading and relaxing
  • Precision:high-intensity light similar to daylight
  • Study: based on recommended levels for studying, matches local light
  • Boost: 20-minute bursts of brighter, whiter light

It also has different settings:

  • Wake up:gradually brightens the room at a set time
  • Away:switch on and off at set times for security
  • Do not disturb:disables the motion sensor so you don't accidentally turn it on in your sleep

These features aren't totally unique. Many can be found on popular smart light bulbs, such as the Philips Hue and Hive bulbs. The Casper Glow, a portable smartphone-controlled bedside light, adjusts the light gradually depending on whether you need to be woken up or wind down for bed, based on your sleep schedule.

Can't I just get a smart light bulb?

Smart light bulbs are a cheaper option, though none claim to last as long as the Lightcycle.

Many allow you to adjust colour temperature, dim or brighten lights and have preset modes to match daylight patterns, although they aren't quite as sophisticated as the Lightcycle yet.

See our smart light bulb buying guidefor more advice on choosing.

Luminaires vs light bulbs

Early LED bulbs focused on trying to replicate the look of traditional bulbs, so that they were easy to retro-fit into peoples existing fittings, but there is scope for a much wider range of designs.

LED chips are relatively tiny, so, as long as there's adequate cooling technology in place, the sky is the limit for how LED lighting can look. As a result it's becoming more common for LEDs to be directly integrated into light fixtures and fittings, allowing for more slimline profiles.

This could be problematic, as once the LEDs do fail you may end up having to replace the whole product. We'd like to see luminaire manufacturers building in repairability to their products, to avoid unnecessary waste.

Top tips for choosing the right light bulb - how to replace your bulbs