Govee Aura Lamp Review: Fancier Than a Smart Bulb, Cheaper Than Most Smart Lamps

Rating: 8/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $59.99
The Govee Aura Lamp with the "fire" setting
Cameron Summerson

Smart lighting is one of the most useful pieces of smart home tech you can buy. It’s even better when it’s affordable and looks good—which is exactly what the Govee Aura Smart Table Lamp is all about. It’s a gorgeous lamp with a slew of unique lighting options, and it’s only $60. But it’s not without its own flaws. Let’s talk about it.

Here's What We Like

  • Vibrant, reactive colors
  • Robust app that's easy to use

And What We Don't

  • Brightness slider doesn't do much
  • Limited voice controls for Google Assistant
  • Proprietary cable

To start, this is a standalone lamp—not a smart bulb. That gave Govee more flexibility with what it was able to do with the lighting system. As a result, the Aura Lamp can do a bunch of single colors, but also different patterns and other fun lighting … stuff.

So, for example, you can set the light to be bright white. Or orange. Or red. Or any other solid color. But you can also set it to different “scenes,” which are basically just lighting effects meant to replicate various settings, like a sunrise, sunset, rainbow, and a bunch of others. You can also set the light to sync with music using the onboard microphone. But those are all details we’ll get into later.

Setup Is a Snap

Like the Govee Immersion TV backlighting I reviewed a few weeks ago, setup for the Aura Lamp is easy peasy—easier, in fact, since there’s no actual installation. You just, um, plug it up. After that, you can use the buttons on top of the lamp for the most basic controls—power, brightness, and simple color modes.

That said, there’s a crucial point to note about the plug: There’s an inline box on the cable, and that’s where all the connected data is stored. That means you can’t use an aftermarket plug if something happens to the one that comes with the lamp. It also means that if you have two lamps and want to move them, you’ll need to keep the plugs with their particular cable. It’s a weird sort of setup, but it’s also easy to set-and-forget.

The Aura Lamp's controls on top of the lamp
The controls are on the top, but it’s unlikely you’ll use them since the app is far more powerful. Cameron Summerson

The bulk of the lamp’s features are app controlled. The Govee Home app is the same app that’s used for other Govee products, so if you read my Immersion review, then you’re already familiar with the bulk of it. You start with the setup here, where you’ll connect the Aura Lamp to Wi-Fi for smart home control. It works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, though only the most basic functions are supported for Assistant (on/off, solid colors). The lamp recently got an update that allows Alexa to do a lot more—you can basically fully control the device with your voice if you’re an Alexa user.

Once it’s connected to Wi-Fi, you’re good to go.

The App Is Powerful and Robust

While Assistant and Alexa support is nice to easily turn the lamp on/off or change the color, the app is the real control center for the light. You can do simple things like turn it on or off, set a timer, or change the mode. There are plenty of modes to choose from, and each one has a handful of different options. For example, you can set the light to sync with music in a variety of ways, ranging from the pretty chill and relaxing “Spectrum” option to the seizure-inducing “Energetic” mode.

The Govee app showing the solid color option for the Aura Lamp The Govee app showing the Aura Lamp's scenes

Apart from the Music modes, however, you can also set specific scenes. These don’t sync to music, but rather try to replicate certain elements from nature. This includes rainbows, sunset, sunset glow (two different settings there), snow flakes, forest, ocean, fire (shown in the main header image of this post), and more. The various settings are very fluid—the fire option tries to mimic a flame dancing around the light, for instance. It does a pretty good job, too!

But you’re not just limited to what Govee includes in the app. There’s also a DIY option where you’re only limited to what that big beautiful brain of yours can come up with—and a 132-square grid. This feature is fun to play with, but don’t expect to be able to draw something very specific and have it show up on the lamp. It’s very much an ambiguous blob of color on the light side once you click that apply button.

Still, it’s pretty fun to mess with.

As a Smart Light, It’s Neat; As a Lamp, It’s Eh

So here’s the thing—as a fun, whimsical little lamp, the Aura is great. We tested it for a little while in the living room, where it doesn’t really put off enough light to be a meaningful source of light. Then we moved it to the bedroom, where it really makes more sense—it’s a table lamp, and really shines (heh) in that use.

The Aura Lamp with the "Snow Flake" setting enabled, blue and white lights
Cameron Summerson

I’d say my biggest quarrel with the Govee Aura Table Lamp is the brightness—there really is no scale. The app has a brightness slider, but the difference in the lowest and highest settings is negligible at best. I found the best way to make it dimmer is the change the color or scene to something with a darker hue instead of using the slider. This isn’t really a great choice if you want a dim white light for reading at night or something, since the white is always pretty bright even on the lowest setting.

Otherwise, I’d also like to see more powerful voice commands… at least for Google Assistant. Recently, the company added more robust options to Alexa, allowing users to use voice or routines to change settings and scenes. So, for example, you can as Alexa to “change Aura Table Lamp to Sunset Glow,” and it will enable that scene. You can also incorporate those commands into routines for an even more powerful experience.

But as it stands, neither of those things are dealbreakers in my eyes. Maybe if the lamp were $100+, but at almost half that? Nah. It’s fine.

Conclusion

The Aura Lamp turned off.
Cameron Summerson

I loved the Govee Immersion when I reviewed it, and I have similar feelings about the Aura Lamp. It’s not quite as useful, but the actual use case is also different. As a smart “accessory,” it’s fantastic. It works best in limited uses, like on a bedside table, or perhaps as a small auxiliary desk light.

If you plan on picking one up, Govee offered an exclusive discount code just for RG readers. Hit the buy button below and use the code REVIEWGEEK in the checkout to save 20% (in addition to the on-page $5 coupon!). That makes a good deal even better.

Rating: 8/10
Price: $59.99

Here’s What We Like

  • Vibrant, reactive colors
  • Robust app that's easy to use

And What We Don't

  • Brightness slider doesn't do much
  • Limited voice controls for Google Assistant
  • Proprietary cable

Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and serves as an Editorial Advisor for How-to Geek and LifeSavvy. He’s been covering technology for nearly a decade and has written over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times. Read Full Bio »

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