EVALUATION

Govee Immersion Kit Wi-Fi TV Backlight and Light Bars Review: Best for Gaming and Cheaper Than Philips Hue

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Govee Immersion Kit Wi-Fi TV Backlight + Light Bars

8.00 / 10

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The new Govee Immersion Kit looks promising, but the performance leaves a lot to be desired. However, if cost is a factor and you don't mind an abundance of compromises, then this kit might just be the RGB backlight of your dreams.

Key Features

  • Double the immersive experience from previous kit
  • Intelligent color sensing
  • Combined video and audio syncing
  • Dynamic multi-color RGBIC effects
  • Smart voice control and app control
  • Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Easy installation
  • Rich presets
Specifications

  • Brand: Govee
  • Integrations: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
  • Protocol: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Hub Required: Included
  • Music Reactive: Yes
  • Multicolor Capable: Yes, RGBIC
Pros

  • Setup was quick and easy
  • Gaming experience was phenomenal
  • Wide range of colors and dynamic modes
  • Less costly than competitors
Cons

  • Color accuracy often incorrect
  • Light bar distance means you'll need a long media center
  • Light bars not wall mountable
  • Wired design means more cabling to contend with
  • Govee Home app ads are annoying
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Govee is one of those brands that always seems to be toeing the line between low cost and quality performance. We’ve reviewed several of the company’s smart lighting products here at MakeUseOf, and while the prices for these products are usually excellent, sometimes the products themselves leave a bit to be desired.

For example, earlier this year, we reviewed a set of Flow Plus smart light bars that felt a bit lackluster. On the other hand, in 2020, we tested the previous version of Govee’s DIY ambilight Immersion Kit and found it to be an exceptional value for the price.

I mention these two items because Govee has taken both its smart light bars and its Immersion Kit and Frankensteined them together into a new and improved Immersion Kit. This one, however, lets you turn your living room into what can best be described as something close to a hippie fever dream.

Meet the New Govee Immersion Kit Wi-Fi TV Backlight + Light Bars

Govee RGBIC Immersion Kit Box

So, what’s changed over the previous iteration of Govee’s Ambilight clone? Not much. On the surface, there seem to be only two main changes.

First, there’s the addition of the light bars to the LED strip for the back of the TV. These look like the same Flow Plus smart LED light bars that you can buy separately from other Govee products for around $65. So, if there is a difference, it’s not readily apparent.

This brings me to the next change—cost. The original Immersion Kit, while excellent, had a suggested retail price of around $84 when it first came out in 2020. If you add that cost to the Flow Plus smart LED light bars, the total cost is $149—which is the exact cost for the new Govee Immersion Wi-Fi TV Backlight + Light Bars kit.

Govee Control Box

But, with the addition of this new entry, Govee has also dropped the price of the original Immersion Kit to $58.80, so if you don't want the additional light bar connectivity on the sides, the previous model might is better value.

Pricing strategy aside, the new Immersion Kit offers a bigger area of RGBIC coverage for televisions that are 65 inches or larger, improved app control, lighting presets, and both video and audio syncing. Like the last iteration, you’ll get both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa support. Unfortunately, for Apple fans, HomeKit has yet to be added to the list of supported control methods.

The main competitor for this kit is the Philip Hue HDMI Sync Box, and while that is a fair comparison, the Hue product is around $80 more expensive for many of the same features.

What’s in the Box?

WhatsInTheBox

The new Immersion Kit comes chock full of bits and bobs. Here’s what you’ll get:

  • A 1080P HD camera with ColorSense technology
  • Two wired smart LED bars with bases
  • LED light strip with cable clips
  • A controller unit
  • A 12V power adapter
  • A set of orange calibration squares
  • Two isopropyl surface prep pads
  • The installation guide and owner’s manual

Installation and Calibration

Govee ColorSense Camera

It’s important to note that this strip is designed for televisions 65 inches and up. Smaller televisions, unfortunately, need not apply.

Govee has created an in-depth installation video for these lights, so I won’t talk too much about individual installation steps. Though, in summary, you’ll clean the back of your television and attach the LEDs using the adhesive backing and clips.

Then, you’ll set the light bars up in line with the screen on both sides, around 20 inches away. Next, place the camera either at the top or bottom of the television. Finally, attach everything to the controller, and then use the Govee app and the calibration squares to calibrate the unit.

GoveeSealedLEDStrip

You’ll need to place the orange foam squares at each corner and in the middle of each screen edge to use as targets for the calibration process. A tape measure will ensure you get the squares in the proper position.

You mustn’t press down hard on the squares when performing this action as the adhesive is a bit more heavy-duty than necessary. However, a light touch will ensure you can remove these squares without damaging your screen.

Image Gallery (2 Images)

Don’t throw them away when you’ve finished calibration, either. Instead, attach them to the card they came with and save them in case you need to calibrate the kit again later.

Another important thing to note is that this kit connects only via 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. That means if you’ve switched over to 5GHz in your home, you won’t be able to connect to your network.

Overall, the difficulty rating here is low to medium, as you will be wrangling with a large television. Aside from that, however, installation requires only a modicum of effort.

The Govee Home App

Image Gallery (2 Images)

Controlling the kit is done primarily via the Govee Home app. While you can use Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, the app offers much more finite control.

With the app, you can toggle individual elements of the kit on and off. For example, you can turn on music syncing, adjust the light saturation, create custom scenes, start a light timer, adjust brightness, and even control the six segments of the light bars.

Image Gallery (2 Images)

There are also pre-set effects and two modes–dynamic and calm–for the intensity of the color response. In addition, when using the sound detecting feature of the app, you can choose to either have the light bars respond, the backlight respond, or both.

AccuratecolorrepresentationGovee-2

Using the app is intuitive, though I would say that it does tend to disconnect from the lights regularly. These disconnects make things frustrating because you must wait to change settings after the connection has been lost. Fortunately, the app reconnects automatically, even when the device is off.

One major thing that is incredibly annoying is the constant ads that show up on the top of the main screen of the app promoting other Govee products. You can click to remove these ads. But any time you close then reopen Govee Home, they reappear.

Download: Govee Home for iOS | Android (Free)

How Does the Govee Immersion Kit Perform?

JamesHirtzGoveeAnycubic

Most people using these lights will fall into one of two camps: gamers who want to enhance their gaming experience (and avoid a little eyestrain) and TV watchers who wish for more immersive entertainment.

Keep in mind—these camps aren’t exclusive. A lot of users are going to fit into the middle of the Venn diagram. That means they’ll go back and forth between gaming and TV watching. That’s why, when it comes to performance, we’re going to talk about both. We’ll also discuss the music mode of this kit as it might be important to some users.

GoveeImmersionKitOUATIM

Watching TV With the Govee Immersion Kit

For typical movies and TV, the Govee Immersion Kit has a few flaws. First, the kit tends to stay red at times, despite the colors displayed on the screen. While that’s not always the case, I did notice that movies like Once Upon a Time in Mexico only changed from the red/orange color palette when the movie got significantly dark.

Granted, in a few scenarios, the orange and red colors were picked up with extraordinary accuracy. However, these instances weren’t consistent. A close-up of Antonio Banderas’ face, for example, echoed the reds of the lighting in the scene but was framed by purple and green–even though neither color was represented on screen.

TVceptionOUATIM

When watching something like Letterkenny, the bright red background seemed to come out of nowhere. The same was true for YouTube videos. I found color representation added to the ambiance, but again, it was hard to determine what the Govee kit was sampling from.

There is probably a complex technical explanation of how the camera’s ColorSense algorithm chooses the palette but using this system shouldn’t require knowing how the sausage is made. Instead, it should work in a manner that makes sense based on what is on screen.

Govee Immersion Kit Red Letterkenny

For me, using the Govee kit while watching TV did enhance the experience a bit, but it wasn’t so mind-blowing that it gave me the fizz. If anything, there were times when I found the color variance distracting. Even after playing with brightness and saturation settings.

Gaming With the Govee Immersion Kit

While television performance wasn’t spectacular, gaming was a different story. After setting the system up with my PS5, I jumped into Warzone for a few rounds of the new Ghosts of Verdansk game mode. While picking up ground loot and collecting enough cash for my loadout, I found the Immersion Kit changing to creepy purples and ghostly blues.

Purple Warzone

Based on that experience, I began to see some redemption for the setup that I hadn’t felt when just watching TV. But I wouldn’t be a thorough reviewer if I didn’t try a few more games to see if the performance was similar.

PinkNoMansSky

So, next in the queue was No Man’s Sky. Again, I found this game to take full advantage of the Govee kit. There was a point in the game where, surrounded by pink flowers, I was utterly taken aback by how gorgeous the landscape plus the immersion lighting looked. It was stunning, and I am excited to use this kit for all my future No Man’s Sky gaming sessions.

Finally, I thought I’d relax by swinging through the streets of New York with Miles Morales. Again, the Immersion Kit’s lighting kept up with the fast-paced color changes and the night and day shifts within the environment. Even my spouse, who is not a gamer, mentioned how cool the atmosphere looked with the addition of the Govee product.

For me, gaming is where this kit shines. So, if you own a PS5 or a dedicated gaming rig with a large display, then you shouldn’t hesitate to spend your cash.

Music Mode

While gaming and television are the two main categories of use here, there is also something to be said for the music mode of the Immersion Kit. When using it, the lights will respond to the beat of the music on your television.

While this might be great for some living room dance parties, the seizure-inducing flashes of light brought me back to the early 2000’s rave scene. You may enjoy this feature, but I can’t see using this lighting setup for music on its own.

Pros and Cons of This Ambilight Kit

MacheteCigaretteGovee

Pros

If you’re looking for an Ambilight setup that is easy to find and costs significantly less than something like the Philips Hue Sync Box, the Govee Immersion Kit Wi-Fi TV Backlight + Light Bars is a decent piece of kit (no pun). Gaming performance is top-notch, and the app control is enough to give you an upgraded experience.

RGBIC colors are rich, and brightness and saturation can be adjusted to suit your personal preference. Setup is easy, and once you’ve calibrated the kit, it’s almost entirely hands-off unless you want to play with your settings. Television performance is a bit lacking, but it does get things right most of the time. If you can live with that, then you’ll enjoy this kit.

Finally, the Govee Immersion Kit Wi-Fi TV Backlight + Light Bars is well-built and of higher quality than many less-expensive options currently on the market. The LED strip is silicone protected as well, which makes me feel like the system will last for a long time.

Cons

From a practical standpoint, this kit does best when placing the light bars around 20 inches away from either side of the TV and in line with the screen. But, if you have your TV mounted on the wall, there is no way to mount the light bars as well. Of course, you can purchase an adapter to mount them to the back of your television, but that sort of defeats the purpose.

Additionally, if your television isn’t mounted to the wall, but you don’t have 20 inches of room on either side of your screen, then you won’t get the best effects of this system. My TV sits on a Crate and Barrel stand with only a few inches on each end, so I used a couple of foldable TV trays to position the lights for this review.

I also found that the control box doesn’t stick very well to the back of my TV. I have a 65-inch Samsung curved display with a slightly textured rear panel. Even with the 3M adhesive provided by Govee, the control box falls off if I try to stick it to the back surface.

Lastly, this isn’t a wireless system, despite what the images on the box infer. You can hide the wires, and there is space in the light bar stands to help, but if you’re using this system, plan on there being some wires between the television and the light bars.

Repairability

OrangeNoMansSky

You can replace both the LEDs and the light bars if they happen to break, but you aren’t going to be able to repair them. This system isn’t designed to be taken apart, and if it breaks outside of the 1-year warranty period, you’re better off just replacing it.

Should You Buy the Govee Immersion Kit Wi-Fi Backlight + Light Bars?

For us, the Govee system delivers best for gamers. If that’s the case, and you use a 65 inch or larger television at your main battle station, then go nuts. But for movies and regular TV viewing, the color accuracy falls a bit short. When the kit gets it right, though, it does look cool.

On the other hand, the app is ho-hum (especially considering the ads), the music mode is gimmicky, and the need for a unique positioning of the light bars in relation to the screen means that this kit is only going to suit a limited number of home theater setups.

That’s a lot of compromises. But I’m sure there are much worse ways to spend $150.

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