M2M Technology Review: The Misfit Bolt Proves a Bright Idea

By Steve Anderson April 20, 2015

Our friends at Misfit have already given us food for thought with the Misfit Shine fitness tracker, and now they have followed up that impressive slice of technology with another one: the Misfit Bolt adjustable light bulb. Misfit sent one our way to review, and this may well be—no, this is—the single most impressive light bulb I've ever seen, worked with, or heard of.


Testing the Misfit Bolt was a comparatively simple idea, as I took it to three different rooms in my house—the bedroom, the office, and the living room / dining room. My house is unusually shaped, so by going this route I got a look at how the bulb performed in a room with one window, one with two windows, and one that had no windows at all, but connected with a second room to form a larger, L-shaped single room. The dining room testing pointed the light down from a ceiling fixture, and the office testing went horizontally out from a ceiling fixture. The bedroom testing, meanwhile, pointed upward from a bedside lamp, and also involved the testing of an unusual feature: the sunrise option.


It would be easy to brush aside the Misfit Bolt as having only one feature: it makes light. But that would be making light of the Bolt. Sure, it does function as a standard LED light bulb and quite well.  But it also includes several color options, ranging from red to violet and even options of gray and white. Those who sign up for the app can engage in a series of color presets, ranging from Date Night, a low-toned pinkish light, to Silver Screen, a low silver light geared toward watching movies. Endless Summer offers an island sunset in an orange-red, and Welcome Home offers a bright yet subdued brown-yellow. Bright Day blows the doors off with a powerful white. The sunrise option allows users to wake up to a slowly-changing color spectrum of the sun coming up, and allows it to be set like an alarm clock, activating at a certain time. Brightness controls are also on hand to allow users to set the light as bright or as dim as preferred.


The plain white light mode is bright enough to turn a comparatively smaller room into near-daylight, thanks to a light radius of 170 degrees from the bulb's surface. Even a larger room like the dining room / living room got a good shot of light, though the light did start to cut out at about eight feet away. The office testing proved more than adequate, covering the entire room in varying shades of light, and the bedroom actually offered just a bit better coverage since it was firing upward. I've found a personal fondness for the Endless Summer sunset setting; add it to white walls and the effect is spectacularly calming. The Silver Screen effect does do nicely with movies, and it's not the only one that's worthwhile. I'll say this, though: the Forest light is kind of creepy. Too much green, I think.


The app, meanwhile, offered an impressive array of options, and I could easily switch between the various presets according to my mood at the time; I spent a fair chunk of a Friday night with Endless Summer and YouTube playing Jimmy Buffett, and I almost forgot it had just been a Michigan winter for several months outside. About the only part of the app experience I had problems with was the sunset option. Attempting to test it several times by setting the start time for a couple minutes ahead of the current time and waiting proved fruitless; the sunrise option just never kicked in. Based on some Amazon feedback, this seemed a common problem and one that's likely to be addressed in app updates. Interestingly, the app isn't strictly necessary. Some controls can be accessed from a Misfit Flash, but these are limited to brightness levels and turning the lights on and off.


The Misfit Bolt comes in at $50 each, which is about right for the market. That's high in the objective, but not so much in the subjective, especially considering the connectivity involved. The variety of the functions involved certainly doesn't hurt its value proposition either.


There are two critical points that apply to appraising the overall capability of the Misfit Bolt light bulb. First, it really is the most amazing light bulb I've ever seen. Second, it's a $50 light bulb. This is impressive stuff, and for those who have a lot of family or do a lot of entertaining, this may well be the mood lighting mechanism of choice for such people. I admit the light was beautiful, but it's hard to recommend a $50 light bulb that loses a lot of its use if your iOS or Android device of choice goes down. Still, for those who can absorb the costs and enjoy the ability to make new moods in a room with the flick of a touchscreen, then the Misfit Bolt is just what you need.

Pros: lots of different options, smooth controls

Cons: high price, function heavily dependent on an external device.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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Contributing IoTevolutionworld Writer

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