Twinkly Candies Review – USB-C power makes these smart string lights much more versatile for holiday decorations

Twinly recently announced their latest range of smart string lights, the Twinkly Candies. These are available to buy now, with plenty of time to get them for either Halloween or Christmas.

These new lights come in two lengths and four shapes, including candles, hearts, pearls and stars.

Testing these in September, I haven’t had the opportunity to use them for Christmas decorations yet, but these will certainly be used this Christmas.

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Twinkly Candies Shape & Length Options

Twinkly Candies Review Candle shape - Twinkly Candies Review - USB-C power makes these smart string lights much more versatile for holiday decorations

Twinkly Candies have multiple product options.

You can get them with either 100 LEDs with a lighted length of 3m / 9.8ft and a total length of 6m / 19.7ft with an RRP of £50

Then there is an option for twice the LEDs/length with 200 LEDs at a length of 12m in total for £70.

Twinkly Candies then come in four different shaped LEDs:

  1. Candles
  2. Hearts
  3. Pearls
  4. Stars

Finally, you have an option of a green or clear wire colour.

Twinkly Candies Key Features

Moving on from the various shapes available, the Twinkly Candies have one big defining feature: they are powered via USB-C. This makes them much more convenient to use. For example, I can drive them from a portable power bank, so I don’t have to worry about being close to a plug socket or deal with the mess of cables quite as much.

These use the Twinkly Generation II controller, so the functionality is basically the same as all the other Twinkly lights.

  • Addressable LEDs which means each LED can be a different colour.
  • You can connect via Bluetooth or WiFi.
  • You can group lights together and create complex light animations.
  • They work with Alexa, Google, HomeKit and Razer Chroma.
  • You can synchronise the lights to music.

There are some differences worth noting compared to the other products:

  • They are only IP20 rated, whereas some products like Twinkly Strings are IP44.
  • The LEDs are only RGB rather than RGBW like some other options.

Twinkly Candies Specification

Design

Twinkly Candies Review USB C Gen 2 controller - Twinkly Candies Review - USB-C power makes these smart string lights much more versatile for holiday decorations

The Twinkly Candies use the same Gen II controller as other Twinkly devices. The difference here is that the power cable is USB-C rather than a Type G UK plug socket.

One criticism of the USB-C design would be that there is not USB-C plug socket included. The low power demand of these means you should be able to use them with any USB-C plug (or even USB-A with an adaptor). This is a trend we have seen with phone companies, I assume the logic is that it is to reduce waste.

The lights are separated into two strings coming out of the controller, and the sample I received used a clear wire, which I think should look nicer for anything other than decorating a Christmas tree.

I was sent the Candles, which are tubular pieces of clear plastic that just out from the string. This doesn’t look particularly impressive with the lights switched off, but they look much better when lit up.

Twinkly Candies Review Unboxing - Twinkly Candies Review - USB-C power makes these smart string lights much more versatile for holiday decorations

Twinkly App Features

Twinkly Candies Review Light Effects - Twinkly Candies Review - USB-C power makes these smart string lights much more versatile for holiday decorations

The Twinkly Candies has the same app experience as all the other Twinkly products I have reviewed. I am not overly keen on the app; it doesn’t feel as user-friendly as the likes of Philips Hue, but they make up for it in terms of functionality.

You have the basic controls allowing you to switch on/off, control the brightness and set a schedule.

You can then group up different Twinkly lights (which I wasn’t able to do with this review), and you can then map the lights.

Twinkly Candies Review Light Effects 2 - Twinkly Candies Review - USB-C power makes these smart string lights much more versatile for holiday decorations

Mapping is exactly what it sounds like: you use your phone camera to map out exactly where you have positioned the lights.

You then have an extensive range of effects, which eclipses anything Hue or others have. You can also create your own or download community effects.

The combination of grouping and mapping can be used to take the effects to the next level. All your lights can work in harmony to create complex animations and lighting effects.

Twinkly lacks things like motion sensors that you get with normal smart lighting brands, but you can still do this via the various third-party interactions.

Third-Party Integration – HomeKit & Home Assistant

The Twinkly Candies officially support Alexa, Google, Apple HomeKit, and Homey. You can also integrate them with Razer Chroma, and if you pair them up with a Twinkly Music Dongle, you can sync the lights with your music.

I don’t use Apple HomeKit, but I can confirm that they integrate perfectly with Home Assistant, Homey, Google Assistant and Alexa.

For Home Assistant, they showed up in the auto-discovery, and I just had to add them. With Homey, I had to connect Homey with Twinkly by authenticating my account.

The wide range of compatibility is excellent, but I should point out that there appear to be no plans to make any Twinkly lights compatible with Matter.

In Use

The lights work exactly how you expect them to. The lights are split into two strings from the controller rather than one extra long length, which seems like a logical decision, making them a little easier to decorate things with.

The lights themselves are attractive, and the shaped design makes them a bit different from your generic smart LED string lights.

With the candles, it is basically just a tubular piece of plastic, which sounds boring, but at the top, it indents down into the tube to where the light reflects off, which does create a sort of candle effect, as it looks a bit light the lights is emanating from the top of the tube.

Twinkly Candies Review Candle Effect - Twinkly Candies Review - USB-C power makes these smart string lights much more versatile for holiday decorations

I probably wouldn’t buy these just because of the different shapes, but it is a nice feature.

It could be argued that the USB-C cable is a bit short, but I was easily able to extend this with a 2m USB 3.0 Extension Cable even though it terminated with USB-A. Even the USB port on my PC was able to drive them, which could be handy for anyone wanting to use these for an impressive battle station.

For me, the USB-C is a significant selling point as I can easily drive the Twinkly Candies with my Anker 737 power bank, and this reports a draw of 6.8w with an estimated run time of 10 hours. I suspect I’d get a bit longer as that would only be 79% efficiency for the 86.4 Wh power bank.

Because you can run these from a power bank, it is a little disappointing that the lights are only IP20-rated. It would be quite easy to protect a power bank from the elements, and these would make impressive outdoor Christmas lights.

Price and Alternatives

Twinkly Candies have a recommended price of £50 for the 100 LED length and £70 for the 200 LED length.

You then have options for a green or clear wire colour, and the shapes you can select are Stars, Candles, Pearls and Hearts.

Twinkly has a wide range of smart LED lights with various LED and length options. The below a couple of similarly priced options for the shortest length for the respective product:

  • Twinkly Dots – 60 LEDs – 3m – Requires plug socket – £70
  • Twinkly Strings (Multicolour + White edition) – 100 LEDs – Requires plug socket – £70

Twinkly have really cornered the market at what they do. There are a growing number of smart string lights, but nothing with the same level of features as Twinkly.

The Philips Hue Festavia are the best alternative option for Christmas Tree lights, but they have an RRP of £200 for 250 LEDs at 20m, whereas Twinkly Strings are half this price. Philips Hue lacks the mapping, grouping and complex effects of Twinkly. I do love the Festiva lights, though, but that’s because I am heavily committed to the Hue ecosystem.

Govee tend to be the best affordable brand for products like this. They have the Govee Christmas String Lights, which is 20m with 200 lights, for just £72 (which is not much cheaper than Twinkly)

Overall

I have been impressed with all the Twinkly products, and they are clearly a popular option for anyone wanting smart holiday LED lights.

Twinkly barely has any competition for products like this, which is likely why they are so popular.

Even though there are no other like-for-like products, Twinkly don’t take advantage of this, and I think the pricing of their products is fair for what you get. Not cheap, but not extortionate.

As for the Twinkly Candies, I am a big fan. I think the move to USB-C is a significant improvement, and I hope we see Twinkly roll out this change to their other products. It gives you much more flexibility for running the lights and, therefore, placement.  

The lights themselves are excellent. I am personally a bit indifferent to the shapes, but I can appreciate how the different shapes will be appealing to buyers and work well in different scenarios.

The candles feel quite limited to holiday usage, but I think the stars, pearls and hearts could be an appealing option for year-long smart lighting. They would make an impressive addition to a child’s bedroom.

Overall, these are superb smart lights for both holidays and year-round usage.

Twinkly Candies Review – 200 LED Candles

Summary

These are superb smart lights for both holidays and year-round usage.

Pros

  • USB-C cable makes these easier to place as you can use a power bank
  • Twinky app has extensive lighting effects
  • Good integration with other platforms

Cons

  • No USB-C plug
  • IP20 rating means you can’t use these outdoors

Last update on 2023-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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