Review: Elgato Avea Flare Portable Mood Light
We've reviewed plenty of Elgato home products — most recently the Eve Energy Switch & Power Meter. Most of Elgato's offerings are HomeKit-compatible, but not the company's Avea Flare Portable Mood Light ($100). Avea Flare is a white plastic light. It's battery powered and charges on a wireless base. Elgato claims that Flare can get 8 hours of use on a single charge, and the portable light is also IP65 water-resistant, so users shouldn't be afraid to take it outdoors. The light is used with Elgato's free Avea app, which lets users change Flare's colors and adjust vividness and brightness on the light, and any other linked Avea products.
When not in use, Avea Flare looks like a big white gumdrop, or an egg — it’s plain, with a nearly seamless look, and it’s made of plastic. This enables the whole lamp to light up with a chosen color when called upon (which is when it turns into a big glowing gumdrop). It’s 8.7” tall and its base is about 5.4” wide. On the bottom of the light are two buttons — power, which obviously turns the light on and off, and mode, which can be held in to cause the light to fade out, for some reason. A small metal stand is also on the bottom, but it can be tucked away. The design doesn’t offer much wow factor, but it’s also minimalist enough not to be much of a bother in any setting.
The Avea app allows users to quickly call up a number of scenes, with names like “Caribbean Sea,” “Cozy Flames,” and “Northern Glow.” These scenes will cause the lamp to cycle through a number of similar colors. Users can adjust brightness and vividness within the app. If you don’t want the colors to change, Avea’s app also offers seven solid colors. There’s also a wake up light option, so users can program Flare to turn on at a certain time. The light can turn on in conjunction with a song or sound from a user’s iOS device, which makes for a nice alarm experience.
Flare is easy to use, which is a definite bonus. Users shouldn’t feel intimidated when buying this light, as colors and color scenes are laid out in a simple list within a basic app. You should be able to get to the color or scene you want within a few seconds of turning on the light and the app. We did find Flare could be a bit flaky when switching colors frequently, however. Sometimes the color would seem a bit off from what we expected, or the light might be slow to adjust. It was rare, and likely an app issue, but unless you’re quickly switching through all the colors and scenes, it shouldn’t crop up. An Apple Watch app is also available.
Keep in mind that Flare is marketed as a mood light for a reason. It’s not going to illuminate a great deal of space, especially outside, so don’t expect a bright, shining lamp. But it provides enough light to be effective at what it aims to do.
Avea is an effective portable mood light with an app that’s easy to use. It also feels pretty durable, and its water resistance is a plus. However, for $100, users might be expecting something a bit more impressive. And they certainly might be expecting something with HomeKit compatibility at this point.
If you already have an Avea Bulb or two (sold separately for $40), Flare makes sense, as it can work in tandem with the bulbs to add to the mood lighting, while still having use as a portable lamp. Those who only want an easy plug-and-play portable lamp may be satisfied with Flare regardless, though the price is a bit high, and other lighting options can do more.