GE Cync smart lighting review: A worthy Philips Hue competitor

GE Cync smart lighting

MSRP $19.99


  • Easy to establish
  • Easy to make use of
  • App is uncluttered
  • Great number of lights
  • App control is quick and responsive
  • Works with all digital assistants


  • Could use a number of ‘extra’ features
  • Motion sensor was glitchy

As smart homes turn out to be more reliable and powerful, more brands are branching out into this space. While products like Ring and Philips Hue are well-known, there are definitely less popular brands which might be also making waves. Certainly one of those is GE Cync. The corporate’s smart home lineup includes an enormous number of gadgets from lights to thermostats to cameras. You would say the Cync system (formerly C by GE) is the dark horse of the smart home world.

GE Cync smart lighting review

GE Cync smart lights review.

I recently had the chance to try a handful of GE’s lighting gadgets for a number of weeks. On this review, find out how the system works as a complete, and look in additional detail at these products:

  • Cync Wire-Free Dimmer Switch
  • Smart Motion Sensor
  • Direct Connect Color Smart Bulb
  • Direct Connect Light Strip
  • Outdoor Smart Plug

While many smart home and lighting systems use hubs or bridges to attach these devices to your property’s Wi-Fi, GE Cync has chosen to make its devices direct-connect. Meaning there’s no extra (and expensive) components to purchase; the lights are capable of communicate with the Cync app on their very own, making for a more streamlined system.

Establishing GE Cync using the Cync app

GE Cync is a refreshingly easy smart home system to navigate. The Cync app serves because the system’s control center. The app is delightfully uncluttered, sleek-looking, and straightforward to navigate — even for brand new users.

The app allows handheld remote control over devices, plus you may arrange schedules and group lights into rooms and areas. You can too use the app to link some devices together, similar to a lightweight and motion detector.

Once you have got a Cync account, adding devices is so simple as clicking the Add device, ‘+’ sign, after which selecting the sort of product you’re establishing. Each device we arrange contained in the app went online in seconds. In brief, the Cync system is as easy and even easier than other systems like Hue and Ring with regards to arrange.

Smart lighting: GE Cync Direct Connect Color Smart Bulb & Cync Wire-Free Dimmer Switch

GE Cync smart lights review.

I arrange the GE Cync Direct Connect Color Smart Bulb for use with the Cync Wire-Free Dimmer Switch within the bedroom, making it easy to activate the bedside lamp from across the room. Establishing each the lightbulb and the switch was extremely easy using the GE app, requiring just a few taps on the screen. I created a room called Bedroom, then added each device to it. A number of more clicks, and I could assign the Wire-Free Dimmer Switch to manage the sunshine bulb.

The sunshine bulb is a straightforward option as a foray into the system — particularly when you’re beginning to construct a sensible home. It changes colours, and has different temperatures of white light, too; perfect for setting the mood. The Dimmer Switch works great with it, and offers additional control since it lacked such a switch previously.

It’s also possible to set a timer for the sunshine bulb within the Cync app using Scenes. I set my Scene to show the sunshine on dimly just before bedtime, then I’d turn it off before going to sleep. The Scenes feature is intuitive to make use of and works well.

GE Cync Direct Connect Light Strip

GE Cync smarts light strip review.

Next, I arrange the Direct Connect Light Strip behind the sofa, so it could act as a type of background ambient light within the lounge. I intended to establish the motion sensor to activate the sunshine after I enter the room, but bumped into some troubles.

The motion sensor didn’t actually appear to work, in that it might not trip the strip lights in any respect. In my troubleshooting, I re-connected it to the sunshine bulb within the bedroom, and located it might turn that light on, nevertheless it took almost a full 20 seconds for the sunshine to light up after walking within the room. Not ideal. My guess is that there’s a glitch within the app or the firmware of this sensor (that I trust could also be remedied in some unspecified time in the future), so I set it aside and moved on.

GE Cync Outdoor Smart Plug

GE Cync smart plug review.

Lastly, I attempted the GE Cync Outdoor Smart Plug, and that is an ideal device for automating older patio or string lights, or something like a water fountain or bug zapper. The Outdoor Smart Plug is a big oval-shaped block attached to a brief cord. While the case is sort of large, it feels well made, and there are two plugs under rubberized flaps that keep things weatherproof. You possibly can turn the plug on and off with a press of the button on the highest of the unit, or use the app as a handheld remote control. You can too set each plug on a timer. There’s a mounting hook on the back as well, giving all of it a clean look.

My husband found the button feature handy to manage these lights, while I loved giving our terrace string lights, and putting a fountain on an automatic schedule so its lights would activate each evening and switch off at bedtime.

The GE Cync Outdoor Smart Plug worked like a dream and was super easy to establish and use; plus it seems durable enough to resist the weather.

GE Cync smart lights review

One thing I couldn’t work out the best way to do was link the devices together to create more complex Scenes. For instance, I couldn’t create a Scene to activate the lights when the motion sensor was tripped together with a GE Cync camera to begin recording (Ring can do that, for instance). It seems this sort of interconnectedness isn’t yet available within the app.

The opposite feature I like in a sensible lighting system is a sunrise/sunset automated schedule that may routinely turn lights on at sunset and off at sunrise, adjusting to the sun cycle all year long. I didn’t see that option within the Cync app, but I’m hoping it would be an option in a future firmware update.

Control with Siri, Google, or Alexa

One other positive feature of GE Cync is that it would work along with your preferred digital assistant: It’s compatible with Siri and Apple HomeKit, Google, and Alexa. I opted to attach my light to Google Home and was capable of easily ask to show the sunshine on or off, or adjust the colours — all without having a phone.

Our take

Overall, the GE Cync smart lighting system is sort of impressive. There’s a wide range of lighting devices, the ecosystem is easy to establish and use, whether with the app or your voice.

In the case of the elements of GE Cync smart lighting that may very well be improved, it comes downs to the glitchy motion detector, that we wish offered support for sunrise/sunset scheduling. In reality, these aspects don’t detract from the system as a complete. The GE Cync smart lights are essential for those trying to start with a sensible home and smart lighting.

Is there a greater alternative?

Perhaps a greater query can be, is there a distinct alternative? Philips Hue is the granddaddy of smart lighting, with other producers like LIFX and Sengled also making capable smart home lighting. Philips Hue is unquestionably an ideal system (I even have quite a few Hue lights at home) but I’d say the Cync brand stands up against it well.

To decide on which is best for you, ask yourself what you would like the smart lights to do, how you would like them to look, and if you might want to integrate them with a specific smart home system. Price might also think about, and it’s probably fair to say Hue products cost greater than similar versions of Cync lights. That said, cost can vary wildly when you buy one light or a 4-pack, and where you get it. Be mindful though, Philips Hue can also be certainly one of the systems that need a hub to operate, though they do have some Bluetooth-only options. Prices range from about $25 for a 2-pack of lights to about $50 for the sunshine strip.

Should I purchase it?

Absolutely! Particularly when you’re just starting out with a sensible home ecosystem, this lineup of products may have you wanting to expand your kit very quickly. If you happen to’re not sold on the GE Cync, you may read more on our greatest picks for smart lights for other options.

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