Updated 23 April 2021
Do wifi controlled Christmas lights sound like a stupid gimmick? Well, it is. But at the same time, it can really lift the Christmas spirit if executed correctly. We explain how Twinkly works.
Twinkly has become a popular alternative, both for the Christmas tree, but also Christmas lighting in general, both outdoors and indoors. The high price aside, we can fully understand the popularity of wifi controlled Christmas lights. Properly executed it can really set the mood, even though it can easily turn into Santa's disco if not done properly.
Twinkly is a brand of lighting that can be controlled through your wifi and an app for Android or Iphone. They are most known for their "Strings", a regular string light of the same type that you put in your hedge when it's time to decorate for Christmas. The difference is that most of their products can be set to any in a wide range of colours. You can even make the light "move", blink and other things.
Twinkly became known a few years ago as a few to "tech up" your tree a bit. Since then they have come out with new variant of the regular string light, and a few other products as well.
Nowadays, Twinkly are hardly alone in offering Christmas lights that can be controlled by an app. But in the same way that many think of Dyson when you mention cordless vacuum cleaners, Twinkly has sort of become synonymous with wifi-connected Christmas lighting. They also have some very clever features in their app.
In a lot of ways, Twinkly looks just the same as the normal string lights you use during Christmas. If you're accustomed to the type of Christmas tree lights that look like candles, you will be disappointed. The same thing with clamps. Twinkly looks like the string lights you put on your hedge, so they have no clamps for attaching them to branches and such.
The difference can be found on the cord by the wall plug. Here you will find a small box with a button on it. Combined with the app, you use this button to pair Twinkly with the outside world and your wireless network.
The app is, of course, free and is available for both Iphone and Android devices. In the app you create an account, which makes it easy for other people to log in and control your lighting. After that, you pair the app with your Twinkly and follow the very simple instructions on your screen to get your string light to communicate with your wireless network and your app.
After that, it's time to place the string light. In our example, we have used it on a Christmas tree, but it works in other places as well, even outdoors.
Here's one of the really clever features that Twinkly has. Since it can be a bit tricky to put a string light on a quite oddly shaped Christmas tree, you can actually sync the string light based on how you've placed it. You choose to synchronise, point the camera on your phone towards the tree and let Twinkly run a synchronisation. In this way, the app can figure your how the string light has been put on the tree and where the different diodes are. This lets you make neat patterns without having to place the string light in certain, pre-specified places.
Oh, yes! Even if it is mostly used in the Christmas tree, the string light has an IP44 rating, and can without problems be used in a hedge or in a tree.
So what's the deal? What can you do with Twinkly? Quite a bit, actually.
In the app, there is a lot of preset modes. Here you can choose a fixed light, either in one colour, multiple colours or colours in different patterns. You can also make the lights twinkle, where all or some of the diodes can twinkle at different speeds. Then there is a "cascade mode", where colour flows from the top of the tree to the bottom at different speeds. You can also make your own modes with the exact patterns, movements and placements you want.
Of course, you can adjust the brightness on all the modes and you can also set a schedule in the app.
This is what makes Twinkly great for setting the mood, but also a potential buzzkill. Diodes that twinkle or cascade in different colours can quickly become annoying and look quite bad (even is the children might appreciate a rapidly flashing Santa disco). Many of the presets needs to be reduced in speed so that your wifi-connected Christmas tree twinkles slowly, rather than flash hysterically.
There are a few different variants, but unfortunately, not all of them are available in the UK.
Twinkly Fairy Lights: The regular string light, which can be set to a wide range of colours. It comes with 150 diodes, and the string is 21 metres long. The cord itself is black, so it'll blend in nicely if used in your garden.
Twinkly Icicle: A string light with "icicles" of various lengths that hang down from the main cord. Gives a different pattern than a regular string light. The variant currently available in the UK have diodes that shine with white and golden light.
Twinkly Festoon: Of course you need Twinkly for your garden party. Festoon is, simply put, a string light, but with large bults rather than tiny diodes. Works in the same way as other products from Twinkly and has 20 lights per string.
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