MiPow Playbulb Review: Screw In for Sound

Whole house audio sounds really cool but costs $$$ and doesn’t really apply to those who rent apartments. But the idea of having music “appear” wherever you are in a room or even outdoors is mighty appealing, especially since most of us carry our music around all the time on our phones. So the trick is how to have speakers where we want without having to deal with 1)Power and audio cables and 2)Having to do invasive construction in order to place speakers where they can do the most good.

Bluetooth To The Rescue

Playbulb is the answer, thanks in part to Bluetooth. While everyone knows that their phones have Bluetooth on them, and that they can connect to BT-enabled devices with a couple of taps on the touch-screen, not everybody is aware that the quality of Bluetooth streaming audio is pretty good for stereo (BT doesn’t do surround). So that eliminates the wires from #1, but not the power cord. That’s where the physical construction of the PLAYBULB seems brilliant.

A Bulb is A Bulb Is A LED Bulb

At its core, the Playbulb is just that, a bulb. Granted it’s an LED bulb that’s bigger than the garden variety 60 watt incandescent model, but it’s still screws into pretty much any light socket out there. Do this and voila! — instant power to the bulb. But here that means the Bluetooth tech too. 3 watts of power and the “round” design radiates the sound in all directions – so  used inside where it can bounce off walls will be louder than outside. Just pick a light socket close enough and you’re set.

Who’s In Control?

There’s nothing on the Playbulb itself — that’s why there an app (Apple or Android). Besides turning the light on/off and acting as a dimmer, there’s a built in player for whatever music is on the phone. There’s also equalization control but that’s pretty much it. Not that there’s really anything else you need to do. Maybe MiPow will enhance the app’s capabilities in the future, but they better not get rid of the analogue knob that’s big and silver and shiny like on an old, hideously expensive amplifier.

Enough Talk, Listening Now

Playbulb has enough “bright” to see by, and enough “loud” to listen to, especially indoors where it doesn’t have to compete against street noise. It provides music wherever you want it, providing there’s a light socket available. Since there usually is, this means that streaming stereo is just a few taps of the touch screen away.

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Marshal Rosenthal

Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.

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