Minger DreamColor LED Strip Light Hands-On ReviewBy - 10/19/2018
For the past few days, I’ve had the pleasure of testing the Minger DreamColor LED Strip Light (thanks to Minger). What piqued my interest in this particular light strip is the fact that it’s easy to use and inexpensive yet offers smartphone control functions usually reserved for more expensive smart lights. So if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the usual, read on.
Minger DreamColor LED Strip Light is available in three length options. The one Minger sent me is 16.4 feet long. It’s the longest option and retails for $33.99. The second option is 9.8 feet long. It sells for $26.99. The third option is the shortest, but it’s also the cheapest. It’s only 6.6 feet long, and it retails for $19.99.
Aside from length and price, the three DreamColor versions differ in how they are powered. The 16.4-foot and 9.8-foot versions both come with their own 12V power adapters with a DC connector. The 6.6-foot version, on the other hand, has a USB connector. You can plug it into any USB power adapter with a power rating of no more than 5 volts. You can also use your television’s USB port if you want DreamColor to function as your TV’s backlight.
Is DreamColor Easy To Set Up?
Like any other strip light, DreamColor (all three versions of it) comes with a peel-and-stick adhesive backing. So yes, DreamColor is easy to install. Just stick it where you want it, plug in the adapter, turn it on using the attached switch panel, and you’re good to go. Better still, you can place DreamColor almost anywhere, even outdoors, as it’s IP65 weatherproof. However, the power adapter and switch are not weatherproof, so you have to keep them protected from the elements. The good news is that the wires are long. The power adapter’s cable is 4 feet long plus there’s another 3 feet of wire between the switch and the actual light strip.
If needed, you can also trim DreamColor’s length. There’s a terminal after every three LEDs where you can cut the strip. The terminals are marked with three copper pads. However, keep in mind that cutting the strip voids its warranty and makes the device less water-resistant.
Using DreamColor: Manual Control vs. App Control
One of the things I like about DreamColor is that you can use it out of the box. This is compared to most of the smart light strips we’ve tested that require the use of an app. Using the attached switch panel alone, you can turn the lights on or off, choose a color (white, yellow, red, orange, neon, green, blue, light blue, purple), and turn on Music Mode.
Music Mode makes the light “dance” to the sounds picked up by DreamColor’s built-in microphone. The light shuffles to different colors, and you can press the Music Mode button again to shuffle through the light patterns (energetic, rhythm, spectrum, rolling). Unfortunately, you can’t choose the color of your strip using the switch panel while in Music Mode. Whether you like it or not, it will shuffle through all nine colors.
If you want to make the strip a little smarter, you can use the iHomentLight app for iOS and Android devices. The app uses a simple GUI that connects your smartphone to DreamColor via Bluetooth, which means you can only customize DreamColor using the app when you’re within Bluetooth range. However, once you’ve customized DreamColor, your settings are saved to its memory, so it remembers this even when you’re away.
From the app, you can do a number of things which we will talk about one-by-one. Let’s start with the basics.
First, the power button. As long as DreamWeaver is plugged in and you’re within Bluetooth range, you can turn your light strip on and off. Second, you can choose the light’s color. Under Modes, just select Color and then choose from one of the eight preset color options or use the slider to fine-tune your color preference. Third, you can adjust the brightness using the Brightness slider. Finally, you can turn on Music Mode using the app. The app lets you choose between the same four light patterns (energetic, rhythm, spectrum, rolling), but you can customize the color when you’re using the spectrum or rolling light patterns.
If you want more advanced features, you can start with Scenes. There are several pre-set scenes to choose from. The Sunrise scene imitates the light of a rising sun. It starts with a dim red light and slowly transitions to yellow as it brightens over the course of 15 minutes. The Sunset scene, on the other hand, starts as a bright yellow light. Over a 10 minute period, this light slowly dims and turns orange until the light turns off. There’s also a Candlelight scene that imitates the flickering light candles emit, a Romantic Scene that slowly shuffles through several colors that are apparently romantic, and a Blinking scene that, well, blinks.
The scenes are unfortunately not customizable. However, you can create your own scenes using the DIY Mode. DIY Mode starts with a name. You will name your scene and then choose a color palette. You can add one color at least and four colors at most. Next, select a light pattern. It can shuffle through your color palette by fading, jumping, or flickering to the next color. It can also imitate the light pattern surrounding a marquee sign or dance to music. Finally, you will select how fast you want the lights to flicker, fade, or jump using the slider. When you’re done, just click “Apply” and your DIY scene will immediately activate.
Finally, you can schedule DreamColor to turn on or off using the Timer function. All you need to do is set a start time (turn on) and end time (turn off). The light strip will turn on at the same time every day unless you turn off the Timer feature. The catch here is that DreamColor will turn on to your last setting. As an example, if you want DreamColor to turn on to the Sunrise scene at 5:30 AM, you have to activate the Sunrise scene before turning the light off.
Overall, DreamColor was fun to use. It’s part-regular and part-smart. It’s also inexpensive, easy to use, and all of its features work incredibly well. The catch is that it doesn’t offer a ton of features, which is a deal-breaker if you’re looking to fully customize your light strips. But if you’re looking for a simple light strip solution, I give DreamColor my seal of approval.