TCP LED+ Outdoor Festoon Light Review
Smart colour-changing string lights
The TCP LED+ Outdoor Festoon Light is an excellent 10m strip of colour-changing lights. Controlled via Bluetooth, there’s no remote control or voice activation, but from within range you can select from a wide variety of dynamic and solid colour options. These lights look a little ugly when turned off, but on they deliver everything from excellent utility lighting to fun ambient lighting. If you want to enhance an outdoor space, then these lights are excellent value.
- Excellent range of scenes
- Works with the SmartLife platform
- Excellent value
- No voice assistant or internet control
- A little ugly when turned off
- UKRRP: £35
- LengthThe power cable is 3m to the first bulb, with each bulb 1m apart thereafter
- ConnectionControl is via Bluetooth
Lighting can make or break a space, and the same is as true outside as it is inside. While a set of festoon lights can make a garden look cool, wouldn’t it be better if those lights could colour change, too? With the TCP LED+ Outdoor Festoon Light, this is exactly what you get.
Simple to install, and offering great value, these outdoor lights are are fun addition to any garden. However, Wi-Fi over Bluetooth would have been better, and the bulbs are a touch ugly when turned off.
Design and Features
- 10m of lights
- In-line remote control
- Bluetooth remote control
The TCP LED+ Outdoor Festoon Light is great value for a 10-bulb set of festoon lights. The bulbs are set 1m apart, with a 3m run of cable to the power adapter. This makes the lights pretty flexible in terms of installation and finding a power socket nearby.
Each bulb comes with a small hook on top of its casing, so it’s easy to hang them strip in place. In my garden, I had enough lights to run along the entire side of one fence. My only minor complaint is that the white finish makes the bulbs look a little ugly when they’re turned off. Traditional festoon lights typically have clear bulbs that look almost as good turned off as they do when on.
If you want coloured lighting that’s easier to hide, then the range of Philips Hue Outdoor lights may make more sense for you.
Thanks to the inline remote control, the TCP LED+ Outdoor Festoon Light can be left plugged in all of the time, turned on and off at the touch of a button. If it’s an option, then plug the lights in so that the remote is easy to access.
Full control of the lights is through the app. As with other TCP products, such as the Smart WiFi Plug, there’s a choice of two apps: the TCP app or SmartLife. This is because the underlying technology is based on SmartLife. I prefer to use the SmartLife app, as I can combine devices from different manufacturers into one place. In both cases, the control and interface are the same.
From the app, there are a variety of dynamic scenes to choose from, including gentle colour shifts to a full-on party mode that lets the lights react to music playing. If you prefer something a little more sedate, then you can pick solid blocks of colour: you can have all bulbs one colour, or paint each bulb a different colour. Schedules in the app are a useful way of turning the lights on and off at specific times.
Since the TCP LED+ Outdoor Festoon Light uses Bluetooth, I had to be within range of the lights to control them. I’d have preferred a Wi-Fi connection, since this would extend range and allow the lights to work via Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT. Bluetooth devices can be internet connected if a gateway is available, but TCP doesn’t sell such a device. As it stands, the only way to take smart control is when you’re in your own home.
- Nice effects
- Iniitial issues solved with a firmware update
I connected the TCP LED+ Outdoor Festoon Light into a power socket at the bottom of the garden. Sat inside in the kitchen, I was only just able to get a connection, although even that proved slightly unreliable. As a result, when I turned the lights off using the app, they’d turn back on automatically. However, a firmware update fixed that issue for me.
Nevertheless, it does highlight the need to think about how the TCP LED+ Outdoor Festoon Light will be installed. Since the Bluetooth receiver is built into the power end of the lights, it makes the most sense to use a power socket closer to the house, rather than at the end of the garden. This is likely to be the case for most people.
Once working, the TCP LED+ Outdoor Festoon Light proved great fun. The dynamic scenes are great, with a decent choice of options. Personally, I prefer the slower-moving effects, which change colour gradually, rather than quickly pulsing.
In standard colour modes, the TCP LED+ Outdoor Festoon Light was bright enough to light up a garden, so I could clearly see what was going on outside; selecting colours produced a dimmer light that added ambience. It’s nice to have both options.
Should you buy it?
If you want the flexibility of festoon lights combined with smart colour changing options, then these are a bargain.
If you want remote control options or lights that are more attractive when turned off, look elsewhere.
The main downside to the TCP LED+ Outdoor Festoon Light is that the bulbs look a little bit ugly when turned off. Where you place them and how they’re hung will make a difference as to how much this does or doesn’t bother you; traditional festoon lights with clear bulbs are generally more attractive.
When it gets dark and the lights are on, the TCP LED+ Outdoor Festoon Light comes into its own. At its most basic, it provides utility lighting; but its colour-changing options add fun and ambience to any outdoor space.
This light strip is also a bargain, and cheaper than many dumb festoon lights. I’d prefer a Wi-Fi connection for remote control, but can forgive that omission at this price.
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Used as our main smart light for the review period
Tested for at least a week
We measure the light output from bulbs at different colour temperatures and colours so we can compare light output
We test compatibility with the main smart systems (HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, IFTTT and more) to see how easy each light is to automate
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No, this model is Bluetooth only, so you have to be local to control the lights.
You get a 3m run from the plug to the first bulb, then it’s 1m between the bulbs.