Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
58,710
22,365


Twinkly has been making smartphone-controlled string lights and decorations for some time now, but earlier this fall, the company added HomeKit integration to all of its Generation II devices, allowing them to be controlled with Siri voice commands and the Home app in addition to the Twinkly app.

twinkly.jpg

Second-generation Twinkly devices have been available since 2019, so this HomeKit update applies to newly sold lights and it has also been added retroactively for those who already own compatible Twinkly products.

twinkly-lights-1.jpg

For those unfamiliar with the Twinkly brand, the company makes lights that can be set to one of 16 million colors. String lights like these are most often used during the holidays, but because of the color range, Twinkly lights are great all year for those who like the look of string lights.

twinkly-lights-6.jpg

Getting Twinkly lights working with HomeKit requires plugging them in, creating a Twinkly account, and then updating the firmware. After the latest update, there's a "HomeKit" option under the "Devices" tab that allows HomeKit to be enabled. From there, HomeKit setup is the same, minus the need to scan for a QR code.

twinkly-250-leds.jpg

Just tap to add the Twinkly lights to a HomeKit setup, choose a room and a device name, and everything's set. As with most smart lights that are multi-featured, what you can do with Twinkly through HomeKit and the Home app is limited. You can change the colors of the lights to a single solid color, you can dim the lights, and you can turn them on or off.

twinkly-homekit.jpg

The controls work either in the Home app or with Siri, and you can also create Automations that include the Twinkly lights so you can set them to come on or turn off at a certain time of day. Automations can be based on time of day, who is located at home, or motion, depending on what other accessories you have available. Scheduling is the most useful HomeKit feature here, as is the option to control Twinkly alongside other HomeKit products.

twinkly-lights-5.jpg

For the real Twinkly light magic, the Twinkly app is required. The Twinkly app is feature rich, and has all kinds of different lighting patterns and colors to choose from. There is a setup process to teach the Twinkly app how lights are arranged, and it's a little bit fiddly. By default, it uses a tree shape, but customizing it will make the effects look better if the lights are being used in a different shape or orientation.

twinkly-app-1.jpg

Twinkly has a gallery of 30 effects to chooose from, and they can be set up in a playlist to cycle through different options or set to play one effect indefinitely. There's also an FX Wizard for creating your own effects.

twinkly-app-2.jpg

You can choose from base options like colors, stripes, gradients, plasma, a radiating sun, or a sparkle effect, selecting colors from there, plus there's an option to simply draw on the lights with a finger, which could be fun for children.

twinkly-lights-2.jpg

All of the different Twinkly effects look fantastic, and they're much different than average string lights that are white or limited to a handful of colors. Twinkly lights have millions of different color options and paired with all of the different effects, there are endless combinations you can create.


Twinkly offers shifting rainbow colors, fireworks, twinkling lights in various colors, a "snake" effect modeled after the classic game, waves, diagonals, a radiating sunset look, mixed "carnival" colors, and variations in different color options.

The LEDs are super bright and vivid, with clear distinctions between each color. Blues, greens, and purples are saturated, and these are colors that LED lights sometimes struggle with. Though the colors are rich, they can also be set to pastels and more muted tones if desired. My photos do not quite do the lights justice, so I am using some images from Twinkly, which are very much true to life.


Design wise, the lights are similar to standard string lights and they're as prone to tangling as any other light options. The cabling is high quality, though, and there seem to be no issues with the build. The lights do get the tiniest bit warm, but no warmer than other LEDs. At night, I set the lights to about 5 percent brightness, which is plenty in the dark. At 100 percent brightness, these put off a lot of light, so you can use them in a range of lighting conditions.

twinkly-lights-3.jpg

Twinkly offers a music add-on that allows the lights to change based on the music that's playing, which is a fun addition for parties and other get togethers, but not strictly necessary because of all of the other available effects that you can play with.

Bottom Line

Twinkly lights are next-level Christmas lights and they're going to look amazing on a tree, but they're also fun year-round because of the wide range of color options and effects to choose from. I had no issues with the Twinkly lights during my testing, but I do think that these are on the expensive side and will mostly appeal to those who are willing to spend the money on high-end lighting effects.

twinkly-tree.jpg

The addition of HomeKit to the Twinkly lights makes them more appealing than ever as it is now easier to turn them on, off, and set schedules through Siri voice commands and the Home app.

How to Buy

Twinkly sells a wide range of lights, including strings, clusters, icicles, curtains, spritzers, and even pre-lit trees, all of which can be purchased from Amazon and other retailers.

The standard string of 250 LEDs featured in this review is available for $120 from Amazon.com. 100 LED, 400 LED, and 600 LED versions are also available.

Note: Twinkly provided MacRumors with a 250 LED Smart String Light for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Article Link: Review: Twinkly's HomeKit-Compatible String Lights Are Perfect for the Holidays
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: jjm3

zifty

macrumors regular
Jun 19, 2007
124
102
USA
The lights are awesome (5 stars!) but the app isn't great (I'd give it 3.5 out of 5 stars) and takes a lot of patience. Pretty crazy how well it can figure out where the lights are on a tree. I have 4 strings of these on our tree and it mapped them all pretty perfectly after a few minutes of processing. Some bugs in the app with schedules and applying themes sometimes.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MadeTheSwitch

jclo

Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
1,880
4,030
The lights are awesome (5 stars!) but the app isn't great (I'd give it 3.5 out of 5 stars) and takes a lot of patience. Pretty crazy how well it can figure out where the lights are on a tree. I have 4 strings of these on our tree and it mapped them all pretty perfectly after a few minutes of processing. Some bugs in the app with schedules and applying themes sometimes.

Yeah, I didn't have issue using the app with the lights when testing them, but I wouldn't say it's the cleanest or most intuitive interface. Edit: On the plus side, scheduling should be much easier with HomeKit. I rarely have automations fail.
 

Farsider

macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2014
618
300
London, UK
These do support HomeKit after the recent firmware update.....but you'd wouldn't want to use it as its just basic on / off. You can't do much else with it other than the usual triggers. You use the Twinkly App for all the configuration. The lights have a built in timer you can use along with playlist capabilities if you want automated on/off.

Word of advice, if you want these to go on a tree, for a standard 6" tree or taller you want the 600 LED model. 250 LEDs is not enough if you want the animations to look impressive. For reference that marketing image showing the tree above is Twinkly's stock image and is the 600 LED option.
 

michi098

macrumors newbie
Jun 19, 2011
24
10
Best Buy has the Twinkly Smart Light Bundle 600 on sale for $179.99. It's usually $250. I was thinking about it, but it's still just a little too much for Xmas lights for my budget.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TVreporter

m_g

macrumors newbie
Nov 23, 2021
2
4
Canada
I bought the 250 light string and hung it in my window. I hung it from a curtain rod in evenly spaced in rows. It fills a 7ft x 4ft space with enough lights for the patterns to be recognizable.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TVreporter

dannynjoni

macrumors regular
Oct 14, 2010
154
65
These are one of the best gifts you can give yourself (and your friends/neighbors/grandkids who will enjoy them with you) if you want to create some colorful magic around any holiday. We use ours for just about any special occasion, as you can configure just about any pattern/color scheme that you'd want. They're a bit of a pain to set up and do require a little bit of patience as mentioned, but once you have them all connected, its gravy. Even my wife likes these, and the grandkids have a lot of fun customizing them. There's an option to draw and color anything you'd like using the touch-screen interface (almost like a coloring book, but using the lights) that they love!
 

TVreporter

macrumors 65816
Mar 11, 2012
1,379
1,945
Near Toronto
The lights are awesome (5 stars!) but the app isn't great (I'd give it 3.5 out of 5 stars) and takes a lot of patience. Pretty crazy how well it can figure out where the lights are on a tree. I have 4 strings of these on our tree and it mapped them all pretty perfectly after a few minutes of processing. Some bugs in the app with schedules and applying themes sometimes.
4 strings - as in 4 separate ones or can you link them together to make one continuous string?

They look great but the price is a bit of a deterrent.
 

Viale Montanane

macrumors newbie
Oct 7, 2021
29
39
This is nice, but what about little tiny *drone* lights with app control so we can dispense with all that electrical wire ? Even more artistic control would be available !
 

NightFox

macrumors 68030
May 10, 2005
2,985
3,801
Shropshire, UK
4 strings - as in 4 separate ones or can you link them together to make one continuous string?

They look great but the price is a bit of a deterrent.
You can't physically join two strings but you can map the lights on any amount of strings you want as a single device, so you could put several strings on a large tree and the app would program each individual string to give one single synchronised effect. For example, I've got two strings covering one of my windows. It doesn't matter how I install them, I could do them neatly in rows or just have the wires running randomly over the window, but as soon as I map them and use an animation like the reindeer jumping across the window, it just works. The app know where each individually-addressable light on each string is physically located.

Once you've got the lights running (either a single animation or a playlist), they work standalone as they have their own internal memory so they're not like some other light strips where you have to keep the app running and your phone paired. That's a good thing when it comes to HomeKit support as all you can do in HomeKit is turn them on or off (due to limitations in HK rather than Twinkly), but when you turn them back on they'll carry on with the same animation/playlist they were displaying when they were turned off.

I've used Twinkly lights for several years now and they've always worked well for me, though this year I do have an issue which I'm not sure is related to the addition of HomeKit support or not - when turned on all of my lights quickly connect to the app (via wifi), but after a short while, they disconnect and it only seems possible to reconnect them by turning the lights off and back on again. This isn't really a problem as once the lights are programmed they don't need to be connected (even the timer function is controlled by the lights themselves once programmed), but it does mean I have to reboot them before making any programming changes.
 

twistedpixel8

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2017
788
1,735
There are already a bunch of similar-looking products on Amazon from well known brands such as QINESE, NOCKOF & GRBAGE
I nearly replied to you in seriousness asking who on earth had actually heard of those “well-know” brands but luckily I realized I need to see a brain specialist.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: mw360
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.