No One Needs a $650 Lamp, Even if It Is Smart

Three Dyson Lightcycle morph lamps in a living room.

Dyson recently announced an updated Smart Lamp, and just like the first iteration of the Lightcycle Morph, it costs $650 for the base model. The company is best known for its excellent vacuums that are worth buying. But there’s no reason anyone should buy a $650 lamp, even if it is smart.

Now I know what you’re thinking. I’m the same person who wrote, “yes, a $3,000 mattress is worth every penny,” so how can I say an expensive lamp doesn’t make sense? Hear me out; the situation is different.

Spending extra on a mattress will improve your quality of life by letting you get a better night’s sleep, leaving you less tired throughout the day. Spending extra on a lamp gets you—well, what does it get you anyway? Let’s look.

App Control for Your Lamp

The Lightcycle Morph is a smart lamp, so of course, that means it has an app you use to control it. With the Dyson Link app (for iOS and Android), you can set up schedules, control the on and off functions, and let it know how old you are.

Why should it know your age? Well, according to Dyson, as we age, we need more light to see. So for older people, the light will automatically glow more brightly.

Dyson also promises to adjust the warmth of the light to match the time of day in your area. But not entirely, because it assumes that every day is a clear day, so if it’s cloudy or rainy or any other weather that isn’t clear, then it won’t match.

But you don’t need a $650 smart lamp to gain convenient app control. While you may not get all the same features with other smart bulbs, LEDs, and light switches, you’ll get the most of those features for a fraction of the cost.

An Adjustable Fixture

A woman laying on a couch next to the Dyson Lightcycle Morph with the head shining light through the stem.
Dyson

Dyson isn’t calling it the Lightcycle Morph just because it sounds cool (though okay, it does sound cool). You can “morph” the smart lamp to one of many positions to better use it for tasks throughout the day.

The head tilts, the neck twirls, and if you connect the lamp’s head to the body, you’ll get a nice ambient glow from the stem. I’ll admit that the last trick is beautiful. Another nice feature is an integrated USB-C charger to top-up your phone, but adjustable lights are hardly new.

While you’ll give up the cool body glowing feature, you could always grab an adjustable lamp with built-in wireless charging for $70—nearly a tenth of the price of the Lightcycle Morph. It even has a USB port so you can charge a second device. Add a smart plug, and you’ve replicated almost every feature we’ve mentioned for a fraction of the cost. And you picked up wireless charging along the way.

A Long-Lasting Lamp

A closeup of the Lightcycle Morph showing inner circuitry.
Look at all that circuitry that’s eventually going to fail. Dyson

The most incredible claim that Dyson makes about the Lightcycle Morph is that it may last 60 years. But hang on, the company doesn’t mean the entire lamp will last 60 years, it’s talking about the LEDs. The company says it’s using “satellite cooling technology” to draw heat away from the LEDs so that they last longer. But a lamp (especially a smart lamp) is more than just a set of LEDs.

It’s a “morphing” lamp, so there’s the hinges to consider, and also the electrical wiring running through the thing. And since it’s a smart lamp, it’s filled with circuitry and sensors so it can adjust to your whims. All of that could fail much sooner than 60 years.

Even if the hardware goes the distance, that doesn’t mean the app will. As we’ve seen with other smart home devices, sometimes companies drop support for products. If Dyson delists its app tomorrow, you’re out of luck for smart controls.

While a potential 60-year shelf life sounds nice, it’s also doubtful that’ll you get that kind of long term use out of the lamp. That’s probably why Dyson only includes a five-year warranty.

Dyson’s proposed 60-year time frame assumes you run the lamp for 8 hours a day. Under that same line of thought, you could buy the $70 lamp every eight years (it promises 25,000 hours for its LEDs), and after 60 years, you’ll spend just under $500. Since it isn’t smart, it’s more likely to last the full eight years without losing features.

The Seesaw Scale

81 smart bulbs in a giant stack next to the Lightcycle Morph
For the price of this lamp, you could buy 81 Wyze smart bulbs. Wyze, Dyson

When you’re considering smart home products of any kind, you need to weigh the pros and cons that come along with the gadget. You’ll want to ask yourself questions like, “how will this make my life more convenient,” “what’s the install difficulty?” and “do the features justify the added cost?” and so on.

But sometimes, you can use a Seesaw scale. Put the expensive widget on one side of the seesaw and then ask yourself, “What else could I buy for this amount of money.” If you can quickly think of several answers for the other side of the seesaw that sound better, more sensible, or like a wiser user of money, the expensive widget isn’t worth it.

If, however, all things are equal and the seesaw finds a balance, then perhaps it is. I submit that for $650, the base model the Lightcycle Morph isn’t worth it. That’s the model that goes on your desk. The floor-standing model is $850!

What else can you buy for $650? You could buy two 55 inch 4K HDR TVs. You could pick up a decent gaming computer. Or, you could pick up the Xbox One X and four brand new games.
Most ridiculously of all, you could purchase 81 Wyze smart bulbs. You could gift yourself, your neighbors, and everyone within five streets at least one smart bulb.

And at the end of the day, you could easily replicate 80% of the Lightcycle Morph’s features for nearly a tenth of the price with a $70 lamp and a $15 smart plug (plus you get a spare). Unless you adore the look of this particular lamp and you have money to toss away, you should skip it. Even if you do love it, maybe you should skip it anyway. Some things are better seen than purchased.

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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