Yeelight’s M2 smart light came out of nowhere at the end of last year, with a low price (for RGB smart lighting) and the convenience of Google’s seamless setup. That means no third-party apps or services, no external hubs, and no long tedious process to get things working. In fact, this is almost the perfect Assistant-connected smart bulb. The only bummer is how dim it is in warm white lighting modes.
Design, installation, what’s in the box
The Yeelight M2 is your usual multi-color smart light. That means it’s a tiny bit longer and more flared than the stereotypical A19 lightbulb shape that many white-only smart lights follow, though it has the same E26/27 base. The design can limit receptacle compatibility in some circumstances or make the bulb stick out slightly in particularly shallow lamps or sconces. However, that won’t be an issue 99% of the time.
Installing the Yeelight M2 is trivially simple. Anyone who can swap a burnt-out lightbulb can install the Yeelight M2, and it’s no more difficult than other smart lights. Though keep in mind the length if your light receptacle is cramped or unusually shaped. Following that, the software setup process is also easier than other smart lights — more on that later.
If there’s one hardware disadvantage, though, it’s brightness. Although the bulb is bright in cool/blue-tinted lighting modes, flip things to a warmer color and brightness drops significantly. Personally, I find that to be a deal-breaker, but we’re told it’s actually an intentional decision on Yeelight’s part. If you stick to cool white for general illumination, you won’t run into the issue.
One thing I should note: Although the bulb is dimmable in terms of the Assistant-based controls, if you try using it in a dimmable receptacle, it won’t work as expected, flashing wildly at certain levels, if it functions at all.
In the box, you get the bulb, and that’s about it. It isn’t especially well-cushioned in there, but since it’s not glass, it’s not likely to be an issue.
Setting up the Yeelight M2 is astoundingly simple. Thanks to the magic of seamless setup, all you need to do is physically install the light in a receptacle, flip it on, and fire up the Google Home app. From there, it’s just a couple taps to find the light and assign it to a room. There’s no linking any third-party service, no other apps to sign in with, and you don’t even have to mess around with Wi-Fi settings. It’s even simpler than setting up a Nest smart speaker and telling Google your default streaming services for the ten-thousandth time.
Because it’s Bluetooth, it does require that you have a Google smart speaker or display nearby. A full list of supported hub devices is on this support page, but it includes both the original Home Mini, Nest Mini, the Google Home, and Google’s smart displays. As noted in our review of the C by GE smart bulbs, that means these lights won’t work with third-party Assistant smart speakers, Alexa speakers, or other hub systems. You’ll need to make sure you’ve got speakers in range wherever you use these bulbs — up to around 60 feet, depending on your setup. The lights will pair to the closest device available should you have more than one.
Even if you run into issues during setup (as I did setting up one of my two bulbs), the process to fully reset the bulbs and try again is similarly simple: Turn it on and off at two-second intervals (i.e., two on, two off) until a color cycle indicates a reset, then just try again. I only ran into the one bulb setup issue, but that’s not unusual for smart home gadgets in my experience.
Once everything is configured, the Yeelight M2 appears with its given name inside the room it’s been assigned in the Google Home app. You can control it from the app, from your smart display, with your voice courtesy of the Assistant from your phone or smart speaker, or even in the new Android power menu smart home controls. They can be bundled together in groups, configured as part of routines, and everything else you expect from Assistant-compatible smart lights.
Unlike the C by GE bulbs, we’re told the Yeelight M2 can’t create its own mesh network to extend range for bulbs to connect to distant Nest smart speakers or displays, but the range should be good enough on its own if you have a few around the house.
Because it connects directly to your local smart devices, controls for the Yeelight M2 are also a little faster than you’re probably used to, presumably because they don’t have to bounce out to an external service first. That means asking Google to turn the Yeelight M2 on or off should flip the digital switch a bit faster than most of your other smart lights.
Should you buy it?
I can easily recommend the bulb with one major caveat: If you are going to use warm white settings for lighting, stay away. While brightness in the cooler white temperatures is good, if you’re like me and you prefer orange-tinted lighting at night, the brightness in those modes is very, very dim. I’m not a fan of the antiseptic white look, and my whole house is kitted out in a warmer temperature experience for nighttime comfort that blends better with the wood tones and other accents inside it. “Cool” temperature lighting just looks bad in my house. Because of that, these bulbs are outright useless for me.
Both of these photos were taken with identical camera settings (ISO 400 F/4.5 1/15). The difference is even stronger in person.
Yeelight tells us this difference in brightness between the various white temperatures is even intentional, and that customers “expect lower brightness” for warmer lights. I call shenanigans, and it’s a single setback that essentially ruins the product for many customers. I just hope it’s something that can be addressed with an update should the company change its mind.
If and when that issue is fixed, these lights will be serious contenders for our Most Wanted award — especially with how fast and easy they are to get working courtesy of seamless setup. But that warm white brightness issue is a big enough drawback for some to consider skipping this otherwise great Assistant-compatible smart light.
Buy it if
- You want inexpensive Assistant-connected RGB smart lights
- You don’t want to deal with a separate hub-based lighting system.
- Ease of setup is paramount.
Don’t buy it if
- You plan on using warm white lighting modes — they’re too dim.
- You don’t have a Google smart speaker or smart display.
Where to buy
We’re told the Yeelight M2 will be available in the US on Amazon by January 25th.