Innr Lighting Flex SL and GU10 spot Review

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Special thanks to www.beaumotica.com for sponsoring this review post.


Introduction

I recently came across a new Dutch lighting company which created a complete connected lighting proposition based on Zigbee Light Link, the same protocol used by Philips Hue.

Unlike Philips, Innr Lighting focus is on white light and dimming only. They offer quite a wide range of products with spots (track mounted), recessed downlights, lamps and strips. In fact, their portfolio is quite complementary to Philips Hue, making it attractive for those who want to extend their smart lighting installation while maintaining Hue compatibility.

Background

Two products of their portfolio more specifically caught my attention, their track system and GU10 perfect fit lamp. Indeed, while we are still settling in our new house, we still have a few areas where lighting needs an upgrade. Our guest room is one of those for which I planned to install a track system in front of the wardrobe. I did not initially think of installing a connected lighting system as I did not know any product that would fit the bill but once I found out about the Innr solution I decided to give it a try. Additionally, I also installed in the ceiling the Lirio Dolium surface mounted light spot with 2 GU10 lamps. I like the simple design of this range and have a few of those spots around the house.

While it would make sense for me to use Philips Hue GU10 lamps, 2 things stopped me from doing it:

  • The Philips Hue GU10 lamp is not perfect fit and actually bigger than a standard lamp and therefore does not fit in the Lirio Dolium spot lights.
  • While I fancy the colour changing options, I don't feel it's a must for every room, especially in a guest room. The cost of Philips lamps is therefore not attractive for this application.

Innr, proposing a perfect fit GU10 lamp, I could simply add two of those in my guest room and connect them along with the track system to my Philips Hue bridge.

The Products

Flex SL 110 spots

This track mounted spot exists in two versions the DL (fixed - downlight) and the SL (adjustable) and with three different light beam options (narrow 18°, medium 25°, wide 45°), you basically have all the options you need for accent lighting or more general downlight applications.

It works on low voltage DC power which means the Spot Light Kit comes with a power supply along with the track and three spots. The form factor is very compact with a neutral modern design. This product is more compact than eye catching and blends very well on a white ceiling.

Here are the specifications:

  • Wattage: 6W
  • Lumen: 250 lm
  • Beam angle: 25°
  • Lifetime: > 25,000 hours
  • Colour temperature: 2700K (warm white)
  • Colour Rendering Index: 90-95 (above 90 is excellent)
  • Replacement wattage: 25W
  • Tilt angle: 60°
  • Swivel angle: 2 x 180°

GU10 spot RS 122

Behind this complicated name lies a very classic GU10 LED spot which can replace traditional halogen spots for energy savings. Of course, in this case the spot can be controlled in brightness with the Innr app and bridge combo or, as I plan, with the Philips Hue bridge and app. As noted previously, this spot has a perfect fit form factor meaning it can be installed in most downlights or surface mounted spot lights whereas the Philips Hue GU10 model due to its longer size cannot fit all fixtures.

The specifications:

Photograph Philippe Regnier

  • Wattage: 5W
  • Lumen: 350 lm
  • beam angle: 36°
  • Lifetime: > 25,000 hours
  • Colour temperature: 2700K (warm white)
  • Colour Rendering index: 80-90 (Above 80 is good, over 90 is excellent)
  • Replacement wattage: 35W (halogen)

Specifications are good and what you should expect for a LED retrofit solution.

The Innr smart solution

Although not tested, it's good to know the Innr smart system is based on the BG 110 bridge and Innr app. Additionally, you can use their RC 110 remote control if you don't want to rely only on the mobile app to control your lights. I must say I find this remote from a different time and would trade it for a Philips Hue Dimmer Switch or Tap any day. Regardless, the portfolio is quite complete and could be appealing to users not interested in colour changing solutions as an alternative to Philips Hue.

Another interesting solution from Innr is their online LightAdvisor solution. It works a bit like the Ikea configurator at first but you actually get a full light plan taking into account 4 layers of lighting requirements (general, accent, task and decorative). The way it works is that you first select a room layout and then drag furnitures in according to your room configuration. Once the drawing is finalised you can generate your own light plan that will give you recommendation on the type of fixtures to use and where. It can really help people who have limited lighting knowledge.

The tool is still in Beta with few glitches and non translated words here and there but it's usable. Regardless, thumbs up to Innr for providing such tool to their customers.

Innr LightAdvisor

Price and availability

  • Spot Kit SL 110 M Kit including 3 x SL110 spots, 1 x power supply, 1 x Track PT 100: EUR 199,95
  • Spot Flex SL 110 (adjustable), Medium Beam 25°, warm white 2700K: EUR 49,95
  • Track PT 100, 1 m track (2 x 50cm): EUR 29,95
  • GU10 Spot RS 122, 36° Beam, warm white 2700K: EUR 19,95

Products are sold from their website (in euros) or through a growing network of retailers mainly in the Netherlands so far but I understand they are now extending to other countries such as the UK and Germany for instance. For more information go on their dealer webpage.

Installation

There is nothing special to say about the GU10 spots as it's a pure GU10 retrofit solution, I just swapped the lamps and that was it.

Photograph Courtesy of INNR LIGHTING

The installation of the track is of course a little more demanding although Innr made it a very simple DIY solution. The track and spots are really lightweight which means that you could potentially use the preinstalled double sided tape on the back of the track to fix it to the ceiling. Now in my case, the ceiling as a rough concrete surface which means the tape does not offer enough grip to be safely installed. Innr recommend in such circumstances to use screws on each side of the track. Having 3 meters of tracks to install and knowing that the track is coming in 50 cm modules, it meant I needed to drill 12 holes in my concrete ceiling. I chose to skip this painful option and to use an adhesive mastic instead which made the installation secured, fast and easy.

The spot simply clicks on the track and slides for optimum positioning. They also swivel and tilt (SL model) to aim at the exact location you want. To hide the power cable that connects the track, I simply used a white PVC cable duct which makes the installation discrete if not perfect (it's retrofit after all).

Once everything was properly set, I powered on the lights to check that they were well connected and functional. In this case, without being connected to any system they will simply act as a normal lamp powering on at full brightness. The only point to notice here is that once powered up the lights briefly blink twice to indicate that they are entering their discovery mode for the commissioning procedure (see next chapter).

Commissioning

To commission your Innr lights you need to follow precisely their instructions as it does not work like classic Philips Hue lights. Indeed, when using Philips Hue lights you can install all your lights, power them on at once and then start the search for new lights in the app. In the Innr case you need to search new lights one by one which makes the procedure a little more cumbersome.

I therefore removed the spots from the track and uninstalled one of the GU10 lamps. I launched the Hue app, went into the "Settings" then "Light Setup" and eventually pressed the "+" button in the bottom right corner. At this point you need to be close to the light switch that controls the power of the light, start the "Search" and immediately power the light ON. You need to follow this exact timing as I noticed it won't work if you wait too long for instance. Also, once your first light is discovered, you can power off and install the next one. If you are fast the Hue app will still be searching for lights but you have to wait that the search ends otherwise it won't work. Once the initial search is over you can then trigger another search and again power cycle the second light installed. If like me both lights are part of a single luminaire, it doesn't matter if the first light also reboots as it's already part of the network.

Moving on to the track, I basically used the same procedure and simply disconnected the power supply jack to perform power cycles. If you have many new lights it takes a while but it only needs to be done once.

Operations

Your new Innr lights are now added to your installation and appear in the app, whichever one you use (many 3rd party Hue apps are available). You can control them individually or program light scenes. Remember that the Innr lights are similar to the Philips Hue White lights and only offer brightness control to dim up and down.

In my case, I added a Philips Dimmer Switch in the room to control the lights as I don't expect my guests to download the app when visiting. This dimmer switch makes a really nice partner for the Innr proposition. I invite you to read my full review of this product (click here).

Connection issues with large scale installations

I did run into an additional issue which has to do with my setup this time. It could be that you face the same problem so I'll explain what happened. Basically my Guest room is on the 2nd floor (concrete floors) while my bridge is located on the ground floor in the electrical cabinet.

Searching for new lights didn't work at first and this was due to a poor connection to the upper floor. Testing an already commissioned Philips Hue light on that floor confused me because I was able to control it just fine with the app. The problem is that although the Zigbee protocol works as a mesh network, there was no route in the mesh that could properly access the last floor but the bridge which is really powerful was able to control the light anyway. During commissioning, the bridge sends commands but it needs to receive information back to validate the pairing, and this was not working. I brought the bridge upstairs which allowed me to commission the Innr lights with the procedure explained above but I still had connection issues with the Dimmer Switch that would be often not reachable.

In this kind of situation you have to strengthen the mesh if possible by installing a device in between which will enable a route to the remote location. An alternative option is to try to change the Zigbee channel in the settings of the bridge. Indeed, it could be that your environment is polluted with a lot of Wifi signals and it could randomly impact the reliability of your network. By changing the channel in this specific case you can dramatically improve the quality of your network.

Conclusion

From a hardware point of view, I found the product finish to be of quality and in line with the price range it sells for. The light quality and specifications are also satisfying and blends very well with the rest of the Philips Hue lights. The design is nice, discrete and should be easy to integrate. The commissioning of the ligths was a bit more complicated than Philips Hue but again you only do it once.

Combining the Innr solutions to a Philips Hue system really offers a lot of options and is probably the best choice as Philips ecosystem is more mature and offer more interesting switches. That would be my recommendation although I cannot fully judge the qualities of the Innr bridge and app solution without properly testing it. I just so much rely on switches in my house that I would not want to go back at this point.

Let me know what you think about this new proposition and have a look at their website to find out more about Innr Lighting.

 


Special thanks to www.beaumotica.com for sponsoring this review post.



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