C by GE ultimate guide: Everything to know about its bulbs, switches and more

Your guide to C by GE's best lighting, hub and switch products

C by GE missing manual
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There's an absolute plethora of options out there as far as smart home ecosystems are concerned, and C by GE is one of the more ambiguously-named going.

That "GE" is the signifier that it's a subdivision of General Electric - this isn't your average scrappy lighting startup, not by a long shot.

Read more: The best smart lights 2020

It made its start with Bluetooth-enabled bulbs that didn't need a Wi-Fi network to get connected. Now, though, it produces the full gamut of smart home functionality, from switches to hubs and smart lights.

With an ever-growing range of products to choose from, we've collected the details you'll need to decide what options you'd like to go with. Keep reading to find out more about how C by GE's platform works, and all the devices it currently offers.

C by GE: How does the smart home system work?

C by GE's smart home system can be a whole-home setup, or could just be a bulb or two, depending on your needs and appetite. Its various products can all sync together via a smart home hub, including their own C-Reach hub, but their bulbs are also able to work via Bluetooth for less-connected use.

This modularity is really useful, and means that you can fairly easily pair C by GE products with whatever setup you already have, or build a new, cohesive one from scratch. Got a Google Home? C by GE has partnered with Google to make sure that one is more than enough to control many of its bulbs and switches through Google Assistant.

If you do go for the C-Reach hub, though, it can work with Google Assistant, Alexa and, partially, HomeKit. That HomeKit support took some time to arrive, and is so far only available on its bulbs. The big three manufacturers' smart home systems are all now at least in part accounted for with C by GE.

C by GE: The products

Moving through its range of bulbs to switches and more, C by GE is slowly expanding its range of products. Read on to see the products most worth knowing about.

C by GE ultimate guide: Your manual to the bluetooth smart home system

Full Color Smart Bulb

Buy now: cbyge.com | $29.99

The Full Color Smart Bulb is probably C by GE's most prominent product. Working with Google Home out of the box, and compatible with Alexa and HomeKit, it's a customizable smart bulb with a huge range of color options. You can save preset color scenes, and control individual bulbs or groups through the C by GE companion app, a straightforward and clearly laid-out app.

It connects via Bluetooth, as mentioned above, meaning that it's not dependent on your Wi-Fi network to function. However, this can make for a slightly more fiddly pairing process, and if you don't have a Wi-Fi hub to pair them with, you lose out on functionality and convenience like controlling them from outside your home. This applies to the bulbs below, too.

C by GE ultimate guide: Your manual to the bluetooth smart home system

Tunable White and Soft White Smart Bulbs

Buy now: Amazon| From$15.99

As you might be able to guess, these two models are the simpler versions of the Tunable Color Smart Bulb. The Tunable White model offers dimmable white light, and can be programmed to follow your sleep and wake-up schedule so that it's an unobtrusive part of your daily routine. It also has a range of tones within 'white', whether it's softer, sunset-style light or the crisp brightness of midday.

The Soft White version, meanwhile, is essentially your basic dimmable smart bulb – its tone and color can't be changed. The control is what makes it useful, though, and outside of color, it offers all the same scheduling, voice control and remote control functions you'd need.C by GE ultimate guide: Your manual to the bluetooth smart home system

C-Reach Smart Bridge

Buy now: Amazon | $49.99

The C-Reach hub is what can tie your whole C by GE system together. Plugging into any power outlet, it pairs with your bulbs to embed into a smart home system. Paired with a voice-enabled device, you'll be able to control all of your C by GE devices with your voice, activate saved scenes and more.

Because of the Bluetooth limitations of its bulbs, you really won't want to go long-term without a hub if you're stocking up on C by GE products, and the C-Reach is a good option if you're looking to stay consistent.

C by GE ultimate guide: Your manual to the bluetooth smart home system

Smart Plug

Buy now: cbyge.com | $28.99

Another easy way to expand the reach of your smart home is to use smart plugs, allowing you to control the power to any number of devices and fittings in your home. C by GE's solution is its Smart Plug, and as with its bulbs this allows you control through voice commands if you're all set up. No hub is needed to control the Smart Plug, so if you aren't interested in a full-home system you could easily just hook up whatever lamps or devices you like to gain an extra degree of control over them.

C by GE ultimate guide: Your manual to the bluetooth smart home system

Smart Switch

Buy now: Amazon | From $34.99

C by GE has a whole range of switches for you to pick from in the Smart Switch line. These span the distance between a simple on/off switch to a dimmer switch with motion detection, if you're looking for more intricate presets and control. If motion control would fall foul of wandering pets or guests, you can turn on a handy "do not disturb" mode to guard against accidental light-ups.

Bright ideas: The best smart switches for your home

Handily, if you have a C by GE switch paired with a C by GE bulb, you can still control the bulbs even if the switch turns them off. You can set up how many C by GE smart bulbs the switches control, without their needing to be wired together, and voice control through Google Assistant or Alexa doesn't require a hub.

Of course, you can also wire the switches in to normal, non-smart bulbs, if control without any added details is all you're looking for. C by GE says it's bringing HomeKit support to its Smart Switches soon, and we'll update this guide as and when that becomes the case.

C by GE ultimate guide: Your manual to the bluetooth smart home system

Sol Smart Light Fixture

Buy now: Amazon | $76

If the rest of the C by GE product line is conspicuous in its minimalism, and its desire to blend into the background of your home rather than scream futurism, the Sol is an outlier.

The smart light fixture has a distinctly science fiction look to it (maybe with a splash of Dyson desk fan thrown in). The light comes with Alexa built-in, and can easily act as your voice controller if you've got a range of C by GE bulbs at play. It's also got adjustable light tones and presets available, and can also give you visual indications of certain tasks, from timers to the weather.

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