Witti’s Notti ($60) and Dotti ($80) are two new app-controlled lights that provide a number of features, ranging from visual notification alerts to mood lighting. Notti is simply a smart light, similar in concept to Incipio’s Prompt, which we looked at last year. Dotti goes in a different direction by providing an 8×8 LED grid to display 8-bit pixel art.
Both units are powered by an internal, rechargeable battery, and include a micro-USB port and a bundled cable that can be used to either recharge the device or simply leave it plugged in if you’re locating it near a power source anyway, but you’ll need to supply your own USB power adapter. Rather than simply throwing any old USB cable into the box, however, Witti has nicely bundled a white, flat USB cable that complements the design of the units. Battery life will of course depend on how often you leave the devices illuminated, but Witti promises up to 720 hours (about 4 weeks) of use in notification mode or 5 hours of continuous lighting.
Both devices go beyond simply providing basic notifications, however. Notti can be manually set to any one of 16 million colors, or to pulse through a variety of colors like a lava-lamp. A music mode can also allow it to shift colors with whatever is playing on your connected iOS device, and an alarm mode allows it to gradually brighten a room to wake you up. Notifications can be displayed for SMS and iMessages, incoming calls, email, missed calls, calendar appointments, and reminders, as well as for several third-party apps — specifically Facebook, Twitter, Whasapp, Wechat, Facebook Messenger, QQ, Line, Weibo, Skype, Google+, Instagram, Viber, and IFTTT. Individual colors can be set for each app to help you distinguish your notifications, and if you have more than one notification, Notti simply cycles through the different colors. The free Notti app on the App Store provides customizability for all of these settings, but otherwise unobtrusively remains in the background once configured. A button on the front of Notti allows you to turn off any static lighting settings, although it will still light up when notifications are received (and go dark again once they’re dismissed).
Dotti follows a similar concept, with its own companion app that allows you to build your own 8×8 icons to display as static images. Default icons are provided for all of the apps supported for notifications – the same list as for the Notti app. Dotti also provides a few other little novelty features, including a “Space Invaders” style animation mode (which can be customized to cycle through any series of your own artwork), as well as clock, music, and “dice” modes — the last mode allows you to shake Dotti to randomly display an image of a die side. Touch controls on the top of Dotti allow you to cycle through the various modes without having to reach for your iPhone, so once Dotti has been configured, there’s less need to load up the app.
In actual use we found both Notti and Dotti worked quite well at delivering notifications from an iPhone 6 Plus running the latest version of iOS 8. Notifications are delivered from the device over Bluetooth — we found that both devices were often flashing with notifications waiting for us when we walked in the door, presumably as the iPhone had connected and broadcast out the notification long before we were in sight of the actual light. Once a notification is dismissed or otherwise dealt with, Notti or Dotti transparently return to whatever mode they were previously in, whether it be mood lighting, animations, or simply going dark.
Both Notti and Dotti can be useful — and fun — accessories for people who want or need visual notifications, and they work well for this purpose. Most of us don’t carry our iPhones around in our pockets all the time, so flashing lights can be a useful way of making sure that you don’t miss important messages or reminders. While the price tag is a bit higher than competing solutions we’ve considered, we have to acknowledge that the additional functionality both devices provide at least partially justifies the higher price tag, making them both worthy of our general recommendation.
Company and Price
Compatible: All Bluetooth 4.0 iOS devices