Ambient lighting is fun, but hardly a new addition to the smart lighting world. And while it’s easy to spend a small fortune on a decked-out immersive setup, you really don’t have to—at least that’s the thinking behind Govee’s terrific new Flow Plus Light Bars.
The bars are a simple yet powerful addition to any home theater or office, and bring glowy colors and a more immersive experience to movie nights, gaming sessions, and sure, even your next Zoom meeting for work. They offer tons of customization, like by-segment color choices and fun scenes, and can even sync with and respond to the music you’re listening to. Oh, and did we mention they’re also less expensive than similar options out there and don’t require a hub to work? If you ask me, these lights are easy to recommend to anyone looking for affordable ambient lighting.
Setting up the bars is a cinch, even for those who are brand new to home smart lighting. In the box are the two bars, an inline control box, an adapter, two table mounting brackets, and two screen mounting brackets. The two light bars are connected via the Y-cable that plugs into the control box and, from there, to an outlet. The cord splits after the control box, leaving you with plenty of room to place the bars at either end of your TV, monitor, desk, or TV stand.
Once your bars are situated, you’ll only need a few more moments to connect the smart lights to your home’s Wi-Fi network and pair them with the companion mobile app (Android/iOS). It’s worth noting that the bars only support 2.4GHz and 802.11b/g/n/ bands—not the 5GHz band. You’ll also need to turn on Bluetooth on whichever device you download the app on. From there, open the app tap “+,” and search “H6056” (the bars’ model number).
Personally, I appreciate being given so many options for setting up these light bars and had just as much fun setting these up and trying out each option as I did finding what colors I wanted to display while gaming and watching movies. The process was quick and painless overall, only taking a matter of minutes.
The bars each have a long triangular body (similar to a Toblerone, except not edible), with one face as the light panel. Their sleek plastic design lends a nice feel that’s neither cheap nor overly premium. And fear not! They are also plenty durable and readily survived a few drops onto a hardwood floor as I was testing them.
Though their three-sided design might seem like an odd choice, it actually makes a ton of sense. Instead of being bound by the narrower designs of light strips or lamps, these bars give you three options for setting them up. One, stick ’em directly on the rear of your monitor or TV using the included 3M mounting brackets. Two, slide each bar into a table mounting bracket and stand them vertically behind your display. Or three, lay them down horizontally on a surface, like your TV stand, on either of the two non-light-panel sides.
Mounting them is the easiest way to get great ambient light out of the three options, as you can stick them exactly where you want them on the rear of your TV or monitor. Placing them in the middle gives off an even glow while placing them closer to the edges is better a bolder look. Standing or laying them down is a less permanent option, which is great if you want to be able to change their angle occasionally or even move them to a different room on occasion. (Sometimes you have to watch a movie in bed instead of on the couch—we get it.) However, keep in mind that the stands mean your lighting may not be able to reach as high up on the wall behind your display.
A one-size-fits-all option is rarely the best option when it comes to smart lighting, which is really what makes these light bars so terrific. This added flexibility for installation is really nice to have because every home’s room layouts and lighting preferences are different.
The bars also use Govee’s new RGBIC light-displaying technology, which features an advanced Independent Control (IC) chip. This allows one device to simultaneously show multiple colors in, which is perfect for when you want to showcase a rainbow of ultra-bright colors in your ambient lighting versus just one.
My only complaint, design-wise, is that the cables and control box are slightly messy looking. Depending on how you set them up, you may have to find a way to hide the cables (and the attached remote) to keep your setup looking clean. The cable is long enough to connect to your entertainment center’s power strip or a nearby outlet, but you might need an extension cord if your nearest outlet is further away. There isn’t a way to power the bars wirelessly or even to bypass the clunky control box, so the Flow Plus bars are likely not the ideal design for anyone aiming to have a super neat setup.
The inline control box/remote can only handle the most basic functions—like powering the lights, enabling audio sync mode, and shuffling through a few basic color options. Although it works in a pinch if you’ve misplaced your phone, it feels far more in the way than it is beneficial; I’d rather have a detachable remote I can tuck away in a drawer and a cleaner-looking setup.
Govee’s companion app for the lights, Govee Home (Android/iOS), is the real brains of things and it is a ton of fun to play around with. And did I mention it’s beautifully designed, with everything smartly organized and laid out? The main page shows you the two light bars and offers up a way to apply settings to them individually or together. This page is also where you’ll find Govee’s Effects Lab, sleep timer and brightness settings, and various modes (Music, Color, Scene, and DIY).
You can easily tap on one of the preset colors, which changes either one or both bars all one solid color. There’s also the option to select a single light segment (each bar contains six) and select its lighting effects manually from a gradient bar or color wheel for both RGB colors and white temperatures. Want to choose from a few presets? Opt for the Scenes option, which has fun choices like Candlelight, Energetic, Aurora, Reading, Snow Flake, and Romantic, among others. Or if you’re feeling super creative, hop into the DIY page and create a lighting design that’s all yours.
The Effects Lab is really where the app and the light bars work together to create magic. You have a ton of unique color combinations to choose from, and Govee makes it easy to explore and visualize them using relatable categories like Basic Colors, Emotions, Seasons, Fruits, Flowers, Gems, Natural Sights, National Flags, Paintings, and more. In each category, you’ll see a few different color combos, which you can apply to your bars with the tap of a finger. It’s a blast to try out a bunch of these color groupings—almost as much fun as seeing them glowing behind your TV during movie night!
Through the app, you can also explore color combinations and effects created by other Govee users in the Light Studio section. There are DIY videos from other users you can check out and be inspired by. If you want to talk about the lights with other users, head to the forum page. Naturally, there’s also a shopping page where you can browse or purchase even more products from Govee; likewise, swipe over to the My Profile tab to manage your account and devices or report an issue. The app is well-rounded, intuitive, easy to use, and fun to explore.
Additionally, the Flow Plus bars have integration with Google Home and Amazon Alexa, but not with Apple’s HomeKit; voice controls were reliable and easy to use here, and a nice alternative to have over the physical control box remote and smartphone app. Wi-Fi support allows them to integrate here, while Bluetooth support allows you to connect to and control them.
Govee’s app consistently lagged each time I opened it and struggled to connect to the bars. This usually took about 5-10 seconds, which was mildly annoying as other smart lights I’ve used offer near-instantaneous connectivity on the regular. Beyond that, though, I never had any other problems with the app (or the bars). It was a cinch to design custom segmented lighting designs, and applying or changing lighting designs was always lightning fast.
The light bars readily keep up with everything I threw at them, like wacky color combinations and having them sync with my music. For audio syncing, the bars work equally well with TVs and speakers; however, this feature feels gimmicky at this price point. It’s more of a flickering effect here that didn’t reliably match the audio being played. If you’re serious about high-quality audio and light syncing, you might want to consider Govee’s Flow Pro bars or the Philips Hue Play Gradient Lights and Sync Box (if you’re cool jumping through a few hoops). Otherwise, the audio syncing feature here is probably a better fit for use with younger kids or at a house party.
I also wish the light bars got brighter … like, much much much brighter. They peak at a measly 400 lumens and struggled to maintain a worthwhile presence during the daytime in my living room, even with the blinds slightly drawn. It was a dim glow at best. This was disappointing because I do occasionally like to watch movies during the day on weekends, and these won’t give me the same immersive experience unless I close my curtains (and that isn’t always the vibe).
That said, at nighttime or in a dark room, the bars are AWESOME. Sure, there are brighter and more powerful options out there, but they are plenty impressive on their own … given the right set of circumstances. And if you can accommodate that, you won’t be disappointed. These lights look great on their own and are fantastic in action, no matter whether you’ve chosen a simpler static lighting design or something more dynamic, like a constantly changing rainbow flow from their more than 16 million color options.
The lights are recommended for TVs and displays under 45 inches, and they looked great with my 32-inch monitor and my 42-inch TV. I also set them up behind my 65-inch OLED during testing and was happy with the substantial gorgeous ambient glow they gave off, even with my tall ceilings and despite the TV being well over the recommended maximum size. They certainly made my movie nights more immersive!
Overall, Govee’s Flow Plus Smart Light Bars are a pretty solid choice, especially given their budget-friendly price point. They offer a flexible and user-friendly setup, multiple control options, and segmenting lighting support. However, I was disappointed to learn that they weren’t super bright, that the app lagged, and that the cables were messy looking.
If you’re just looking for a simple ambient backlighting effect for your TV or computer monitor, these light bars are a decent choice for the price point … if you can give them a dark room to shine in . If so, they’re a good fit for home office setups, dorm rooms, and entertainment centers alike. The lights and their app are both a ton of fun to play with, and they go a long way to boosting the immersive experience of movie night without busting your budget.
Here’s What We Like
- Decent price
- Easy, flexible installation
- Segmented light control
- Don't require a hub to work
And What We Don't
- Could be brighter for daytime use
- Cables are messy
- Laggy app