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Have you ever wanted your own customizable neon sign without the hassle and cost? What if you could make any design in minutes and change it up any time? Using the new flexible RGB LED light strips by Twinkly, that is now possible.
- 6.5ft Customizable LED Strip
- Several pre-made effects and animations, or make your own
- Connects with Google Home, Alexa and Razer Chroma
- Brand: Twinkly
- Integrations: Google Home, Alexa, Razer Chroma RGB
- Hub Required: No
- Music Reactive: Yes
- Multicolor Capable: Yes
- Create your own Neon-like sign
- Flexible material allows for building very complex shapes and designs
- Completely customize each LED zone
- Hiding the power cable can be tricky
- 6.5ft can be a little short for some designs
- Mounting can potentially damage your walls
Twinkly Flex other
RGB LED light strips have been a great way to add pops of color or accents to your rooms and home by mounting them behind desks, TVs, shelves, and other out of sight places. The new Twinkly Flex is looking to take this a step further by making the lights take center stage. They don’t just add color, they become pieces of art.
Flexing on the Old
"Traditional" RGB LED light strips can be picked up for really cheap now. I’ve probably used at least ten different kits of various lengths and smart connectivity options. Nowadays you can find 50ft strips options with Wi-Fi which can pair with Google Home and Alexa for less than $15. So at $100 and only 6.5ft long, what makes the Twinkly Flex so special? Turns out they have a couple of cool features which allow you to deeply customize their physical design and their lighting patterns.
Unlike more generic, white-label LED light strips, Twinkly has been making other RGB LED lights for some time, with their string lights being most popular. The Flex uses the same smartphone app and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity features which allow you to make adjustments down to the individual LED node if you wanted. These RGB strips are made of 192 LEDs contained in a flexible white tube. It also features a long white power cable with an inline controller.
If you're not that creative or just want to get these lights set up and working quickly, you can use the included mounting templates and select from a wide range of pre-installed or downloadable color effects to apply. Perhaps most important, these LED strips are housed in a white tube that disperses the light evenly giving it the ability to show seamless color, meaning you can't make out the individual LED nodes like you can with traditional strips. This allows the Twinkly Flex to actually look like a neon sign as opposed to an LED strip. This is a great kit to put in the background if you're a content creator or if you want to bring your own custom design to life.
Although thicker than those more traditional LED strips, the Flex is actually able to conform into very complicated shapes including tight circles and sharp angles. The Flex can be installed and used in more creative ways to make nearly any shape or design. Mounting is relatively straightforward, however, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you either want to minimize potential damage to your walls or want the most flexibility to change up your designs later, I've provided a few suggestions which can help.
The kit includes mounting hardware with both straight and angle plastic clips which allow the lights to hold the desired shape on your wall or surface. In the box, you'll find 16 total clips (12 straight clips and four 90-degree clips).
If you're looking to make more complicated designs with several bends and angles, you may want additional clips. The back of the clips (the sides that attach to the wall) have a flat surface that allows you to adhere to the included double-sided 3M foam tape. In my experience, however, this only works well if you want to permanently attach the brackets to your surface. I made the mistake of thinking these were easily removable similar to other 3M tape. I found that out the hard way when I tried to remove these in order to do a new design.
The clips also have a small hole allowing you to attach them using the included nails. This will be much easier to remove, but will still leave holes in your wall if you want to switch it up.
If you want to completely avoid damaging your walls, I found an alternative mounting solution. Instead of mounting to the wall, I used a poster board. Once the Twinkly Flex is attached to the board I used 3M poster tape to attach the board to the wall. In addition to giving me the flexibility to move the lights when I want to, it also helps frame them as though it was a painting or poster.
You’ll also find two A2 sized fold-out sheets which have two design templates on each side when fully unfolded. You can choose between a cactus, a heart, a musical beam note, and the word love in cursive. These designs show you the layout for where the mounting hardware needs to go. Even if you decide against using any of these designs, it gives you a good idea of how to use the clips and might help inspire your own design.
My other concern with mounting the Flex is the white power cord that you then have to strategically try to hide. If you place the lights dead center on your wall, you'll have a relatively long strip of power cord feeding down your wall and along your baseboards or floor to wherever the nearest outlet is. As someone who really likes to minimize exposed cables, this made me really wish the lights could be battery-powered.
Pairing & Customization
Using its clever smartphone app, aptly named Twinkly, you can pair the light strips to customize the colors, brightness, speed, effects, and animations.
Once you've successfully paired the lights to the app and connected it to your Wi-Fi, you’re then prompted to point your phone’s camera at the design you created. During this process, the lights will flash different colors for a few moments allowing the app to map where each LED node is. I found this to be very accurate. Even with more complex designs which had some overlap, the mapping process worked well. By mapping your design the preset effects to will start and end in the right place, and you can customize it further if you'd like.
The app includes plenty of presets to choose from ranging from the more simple like breathing, strobing and single colors, to really creative ones like country flags, snakes, twinkles, sparkles, and snow.
Additionally, there are more presets that can be downloaded and applied from the Twinkly Effects Store. These are all free and take only a few moments to download and apply. I found the selection here to be more than enough. If you're really creative, though, you can fully customize any part of your design with any effect you want. As mentioned earlier you can get as detailed as you want here. That said, I was happy just using those presets and switching between them.
Google Home, Alexa, and Razer Chroma RGB integrations are supported. I was able to add these to my Google Home account quickly. At this time, however, it appears you can only control its color, brightness and turning it on or off. Setting custom modes or effects does not seem to be available.
Performance, Quirks & Value
While the Flex is going to look the best in darker rooms, it still gets plenty bright in daylight too. As a studio backdrop, this works really well for me. I love being able to make any design I want and then being able to customize it with a wide selection of effects. You definitely won't grow bored of these any time soon.
That said, the somewhat difficult mounting (if you don't want them permanently attached to your wall), and the lack of a built-in battery does hold this back a bit for me as it limits where and how I want to place these. Furthermore, 6.5 feet can feel a bit short at times when I want to try out more complicated designs. While you can pair multiple Flex kits together, there is no way for them to physically connect and use the same power cord.
Another quirk is that the built-in controller only seems to allow you to turn on the lights and change the modes, but not actually turn them off. If for whatever reason you can't access your smart home controller, your only real option to turn this off is to actually unplug it from the wall.
Currently, there aren't many other LED light strips like the Flex on the market. While the Twinkly Flex is relatively expensive, it does offer very unique features and customization that no other products have. With some planning and a little creativity, you can create truly one-of-a-kind pieces of art.