These days there is a myriad of choices in the smart lighting category, highlighted by the Philips Hue products. Most of them offer some pretty interesting control, as far as color and smartphone functionality, but can also cost a pretty penny. In my search for something similar and more cost efficient, I came across these Vansky USB powered LED light strips for a fraction of the price.

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Now personally speaking, I don’t require my very own disco living room or multi-colored night club desktop office, but it would be nice to add a bit of atmosphere here and there. Vanksy’s Bias USB lighting strips are made up of a thin band of LEDs with an in-line controller for various settings, and capped off with your standard USB connection. This makes it great for showcasing your computer monitor, under the desk/other furniture, or even behind an HDTV.

They feature 20-different colors and various light settings including solid colors, strobe or cycling colors. So you could actually have an epic dance party with these, just like with Philips Hue, but with about 15 million less colors. Along with the color selection, the in-line remote also takes care of the speed options and overall brightness. Even though it is powered via USB, there is a handy on/off switch when you don’t want to use it. And it comes with a wall charger/power supply so it can be used in areas where there isn’t an available USB connection or if your TV’s USB jack doesn’t supply enough power (at least 1A)

Vansky Bias USB Lighting Strip-2

As for actually installing the thing, it is very easy. There are white guidelines directly on the LED light strip to show where it can be cut if needs be (it is about 47-inches long). With the included 3M adhesive, you just stick it on just about any surface (be sure to give it a quick dusting though), and you’re ready to go.

The LEDS are rated to last up to 100,000 hours and it ships with a one year warranty/45-day money back guarantee. So at under $25, it is worth a try in my opinion. It also comes with some extra 3M adhesive if something goes wrong or you end up moving it a few times.

Ok, so this is certainly not the most high-tech solution for multi-colored lighting, but for me it seems to do the trick. Again, I don’t need/want direct smartphone control or to turn my living room into a night club, so there’s no need for me to spend Philips Hue money here. The Hue light strip goes for almost $80. You also don’t need to worry about Wi-Fi connections etc. Having said that, I think the Hue products are quite good and the smart home integration/HomeKit is definitely a draw for some. It just happens to be a bit overkill for my personal uses.

The Vansky Bias USB Lighting Strip goes for $22.99 Prime shipped on Amazon, and carries favorable reviews. Satechi makes a few options as well, one slightly less expensive (and a little cheaper looking), along with a Bluetooth model for about double.