TP-Link Tapo L930-5 RGBIC Light Strip Review vs L920-5 vs L900-5

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TP-Link Tapo L930-5 Review Rating

Summary

If you want a light strip with bright addressable RGB (and white) LEDs with excellent smart features, but can't justify the cost of Philips Hue, then this is your best bet.

Overall
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  • Overall - 90%
    90%

Pros

  • Affordable addressable RGB light strip
  • Excellent features within the app

Cons

  • Lack of Tapo/Kasa integration is annoying

The Tapo L930-5 was launched in the middle of 2022, and it is the first product to launch from them that can be integrated with Apple HomeKit.

Preview Product Rating Price
TP-Link Tapo Smart LED Light Strip, 5m, Wi-Fi App Control... TP-Link Tapo Smart LED Light Strip, 5m, Wi-Fi App Control... No ratings yet £34.99

Tapo L930-5 vs L920-5 vs L900-5

I have previously reviewed the affordable Tapo L900-5, which uses an RGB chip that only allows a single colour to be used on the strip at once. The L930-5, uses RGBIC and allows lights to be individually addressed, providing a full-colour ambience experience.

The L930-5 is a step up from the L920-5, with both of them allowing 50 separate colour zones. The Tapo L930-5 then adds extra white lights, which allows it to act as a general light. Then of course, this is the first product with Apple HomeKit support allowing you to control your light strip with Siri using Apple HomeKit.

Specification / Features

  • Zonal Color Control – make the most of 50-section addressable colour zones, to suit every mood or scenario setting.
  • Extra White LEDs – acts as general lights, strengthening the practicability of the colourful Wi-Fi light strip.
  • Fancy Lighting Effects – amuse yourself with well-designed animated lighting effects, available on Tapo App.
  • Music Sync – adds more vibe by emitting dynamic lights, parallel with the surrounding music beat.
  • Apple HomeKit Supported – control your light strip with Siri using Apple HomeKit.
  • Voice Control– compatible with your smart voice assistants, including Alexa and Google Assistant.
  • Surface Coating-stays durable, tidy, and complete, thanks to the high-quality PU coating on its surface.
  • Wi-Fi Connection – with a stable connection to your 2.4Ghz networks, it works well without hub requirements.
  • Easy Set-up – attach the Light Strip with 3M Adhesive on desired spots, connect it to Wi-Fi and configure it via app.
  • Power Consumption: 13W
  • White Light for Illumination

Set-Up

Like all Tapo products, there is no hub required for this light strip, it uses 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, and the set-up is identical for all the Tapo products. I had to connect to the open Wi-Fi network that was broadcast by the Tapo L930-5, provide my Wi-Fi credentials, wait for it to sync then update. All standard stuff for a smart home product.

In-use and app features

This is a normal style light strip, rather than the diffused/gradient styles from Philips Hue and Twinkly. Therefore you can trim the light strip down to the length you require.

The Tapo app is functional and easy to use, I am just not overly keen on the UI design, it looks a bit cheap and childish compared to the Kasa app. Functionally, there is little difference, and there is still no interoperability between products, even though it's the same company producing them.

Within the app, you can set it to a solid colour or select one of the predefined effects. There are only 17 predefined options, and it doesn't appear like you can download new ones (like Twinkly). With the colour selection, it is not as good as Hue, where you can select almost unlimited colours.

This has some unique features that you won't see on the Hue equivalent. There are options for custom colour painting and creating new lighting effects. It is a long way off the colour painting you can do with Twinkly, but it is a fun feature to have.

Similar to Hue and other products, you can sync the lights to the music that is played from your phone, which can provide a pleasant effect in social situations.

I am impressed at how bright this light strip can go. They don't make any claims for the RGB colours but state 1,000 Lumens. I wouldn't rely on it as the main light for a room, but it works well when used as the main light for mood lighting when I have friends and family around.  

I don't use Apple products myself, so I haven't tested this will Apple HomeKit.

Price and Alternative Options

Preview Product Rating Price
TP-Link Tapo Smart LED Light Strip, 5m, Wi-Fi App Control... TP-Link Tapo Smart LED Light Strip, 5m, Wi-Fi App Control... No ratings yet £34.99

The Tapo L930-5 has an RRP of £45 and is currently available on Amazon for £34. You can pick up the older L900-5 for just £16.

Amazon doesn't have the Tapo L920-5, and Ebuyer has it for £36 and Argos for £32, so you may as well just get the Tapo L930-5.

From a pure price perspective, Govee is the best option. You can get the 10m LED Lights for less than £20.

The WiZ Colour & Tunable Smart Wi-Fi LED 4M is available from Argos for £30.

At the time of writing, the Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus v4 is £69, but it is regularly discounted to around £55 and was £44 during Black Friday (the only time I pay for Hue products).

There is, of course, a big price disparity between Tapo, Govee, Wiz and Hue. For users like myself, you are not just paying for the hardware but the ecosystem, and that's why I am on Philips Hue. If you only want a light strip, then you may as well stick with affordable brands.

Overall

There is nothing to really complain about with the Tapo L930-5, it is an excellent light strip with plenty of features. The LEDs are brighter than expected in my kitchen, and the pricing is very attractive.

I have a few Tapo plugs, so I have become accustomed to this ecosystem, and I'd prefer to stick with it for cheap lights vs getting another app from brands like Govee.

TP-Link Tapo & Kasa End of Life

One thing worth noting, in the past, I have often highlighted my frustration with the Kasa/Tapo lack of integration and my general annoyance at having too many smart home apps. In April last year, I was told TP-Link Kasa was entering the end of life, and there would be a Kasa/Tapo integration by Q3 2022.

However, everything has gone quiet regarding this, and TP-Link Kasa has even launched new products, including smart thermostatic radiator valves (KE100). TP-Link has committed to Matter, and this could be where we finally start to get some interoperability in 2023.

Last update on 2023-02-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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