There’s a lot to like about Govee’s lightstrip, especially the bright, colorful visuals, but occasionally the stage crashes and some of the case obstacles make you want to wait until more options are available.
Govee LED Strip Light M1 Review: At a Glance
- what is it? The Govee LED Strip Light M1 is an upgrade to Govee’s lights, the company’s first product to integrate universality through Matter. It works equally well with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit or Google Home, or you can simply rely on the Govee Home app.
- What is the price? Govee lists the 5m/16.4ft version of the LED Strip Light M1 for $99.99 in the US, £119.99 in the UK, and €119.99 in continental Europe, but often offers steep discounts. If you can find them, small kits should be cheap.
- Where can you buy it? You can purchase the Govee LED Strip Light M1 directly from Govee and through various third-party retailers such as Amazon.
- How did we test it? I tested a short, 2m/6.56ft version of the Govee LED Strip Light M1 paired with Alexa, HomeKit and Google Home for a week. The review section is provided by Govi.
- Is it worth it? The Govee LED Strip Light M1 is a bright and attractive line of lights that fits in with all three major smart home platforms, but other than Matter support and some Govee Home features, there’s nothing special about it and you might run into technical issues. That said, if you get it at an acceptable price, it will do the job.
Should you buy the Govee LED Strip Light M1?
Roger Fingas / Android Authority
Although the Matter 1.0 spec is set to debut in late 2022, compatible smart home accessories have been slow to roll out. That’s especially true with light mats — in fact, the only other material-compatible mat on the market since the M1’s launch is the Nanoleaf essential case model. That product also requires a Thread border router, so Govee’s Wi-Fi-based strip is a big deal.
After setting it up in the Govee Home app, I successfully used Matter to pair with Alexa, HomeKit, and Google Home, but there were some hiccups. For example, I started with HomeKit, but the Matter QR code posted on our test line was too small for the Apple Home app to scan. Without a physical copy elsewhere, the only options were to read the numerical code from that tape or decode it in Govee Home. I had to switch from an iPhone to an Android phone to pair with Google Home because Google hasn’t yet enabled Mater pairing on iOS. It took a few attempts to pair even on Android.
The Govee LED Strip Light M1 generally has the same features you’d expect from integrated platforms, including automation support and voice control. It doesn’t support platform-specific features like HomeKit’s Adaptive Lighting, but you have standard controls over brightness and (solid) colors. You have to use the Govee Home app to trigger the multi-color effects, the good news is that there are tons of presets and full customization.
Govee’s lightstrip definitely delivers in the results. While the company seems loathe to share high lumen ratings, it’s as bright as you’d like it to be, and color is accurate and well-rounded. Visually, in fact, I prefer it to the Nanoleaf Strip I recently tested.
Govee M1 is the only Wi-Fi lighting line with Matter.
Unfortunately, a few things stop the Govee LED Strip Light M1 from fully recommending. They’re mostly technical issues — aside from Matter quirks, the Lightning lost connection to one or more smart home platforms during testing, even though the Eero Pro 6E router was inches away. I was able to force it to connect by unplugging the pad for a second and plugging it back in, but this made the Govi Home app or the included remote the most reliable control options, slightly beating the Mater-enabled product’s point.
It also suffers from a dependency on Wi-Fi. It’s much slower to respond than Thread or Zigbee-based lights, and of course, you’ll need a Wi-Fi router that’s both in range and not overloaded with connections. Still, if you have a case controller (like an Echo or Google Nest speaker) but nothing that supports Thread, this is the only case-compatible option for now.
Lastly, I note that I’m not impressed with Govee’s music syncing options. You can only sync from your phone or the remote’s built-in speaker, and all Govee sync styles seem to assume you’re listening to high-energy pop, rock, rap or EDM. When listening to genres like ambient or power electronica, the flickering sound caused by the music sync initially made me think the M1 was broken.
Govee LED Strip Light M1 (16.4 feet)
Universal case combination • Bright and colorful • Relatively affordable
The M1 street light is Govee’s first ever smart light.
Govee enables integration with all major smart home platforms, including Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Home. Some special features are only available in the Govee Home app.
What are the best Govee LED Strip Light M1 alternatives?
Roger Fingas / Android Authority
There are many smart lighting lines on the market, but only a few are of high quality and support the three major smart home platforms. As for pricing, note that all prices below are for versions in the six- to seven-foot range.
- Nanoleaf Essential Light Line ($148.99 at Amazon): The Nanoleaf Essentials Matter light path requires both a Matter controller and a Thread border router, but with the drags you get the fast response and benefits of Thread’s mesh technology. We’re having trouble pairing a case to work with Google Home.
- Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus (€2199 at Amazon): This Philips Hue strip is quite expensive, not least because you don’t have a ZigBee-based Hue Bridge/Smart Hub. Hue products are notoriously reliable, and you’ll get Alexa, HomeKit, and Google Home support seamlessly.
- LIFX Lightstrip ($279.99 at Samsung): If you want a Wi-Fi strip that offers Alexa, HomeKit and Google Home compatibility sans matter, the LIFX lighting system is probably your best choice. Wi-Fi comes with its drawbacks, and in terms of length it remains more expensive than the Govi or NanoLeaf options.
Govee LED Strip Light M1 Review: Q&A
Yes. Like most smart lighting strips, the Govee LED Strip Light M1 has pre-marked cut-off points. You can’t reattach broken parts, at least not without soldering tools.
The longest base kit for the Govee LED Strip Light M1 is 16.4 feet (about 5m), but extension kits are available.
We recommend Philips Hue lights for their reliability, even though they are expensive, especially since they need communication. There are other perks that make Hue tick, like syncing with Spotify or Razer Chroma.
The Govee LED Strip Light M1 has Bluetooth for pairing, but it primarily connects via 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. You’ll also see the Govee Home app establish a Bluetooth connection when you’re close.
It’s not the Govee LED Strip Light M1, but the company does make outdoor lights. You should buy one of those for waterproofing.