Bluetooth connection stays strong for up to 50 feet (15m)
Acts as a visual notification for incoming messages
Issues with the music section of the app in version 1.6 makes it cumbersome to use what is arguably the selling feature.
Perhaps you've already seen our review of the Dotti LED display from Witti Design. Meet Notti, Dotti's "sibling". Notti is a softball sized, asymmetric crystalline shaped, opaque white smart lamp that can glow any color. Much like Dotti, the lamp can integrate through an iOS or Android app and provide colored notifications for the user's various services. It can also act as an audio visualizer, pulsing its light in any color in time with the music. We've spent a bit of time with Notti, and people react well to it when we show off the features, but there are a few things we wish it did a little better.
At the most basic level, Notti is a lamp; it does a very good job at its primary function of throwing off lights. Though it's small and the light has to come through the opaque shell, the Notti does a fairly good job of creating enough light to see. In a completely dark 10' x 10' room the lamp gave off enough light to be able to clearly see the faces of the other people with us, and more than enough light to read by close to the lamp itself. Considering that the Notti runs off a battery recharged with a micro USB cable, we kind of want to take it camping with us - although the price point makes us a little reluctant to do that.
The app to control the lamp is available from iTunes for iOS and Google Play for Android. The lamp connects to the users device via a Bluetooth connection, although it doesn't need the connection to keep giving off light. If the user sets the lamp to a certain color, or cycle of colors, then turns off the Bluetooth, the lamp will keep the light show going until it runs out of juice or is turned off with the "W" shaped button on the front of the base. We quite liked having it cycle through all of its colors randomly, although the setting to have it cross-fade between two colors is also fun.
The app provides three other features: alarm clock, notifications, and music visualizer. The alarm clock is set with a particular color and time. When the time arrives the phone starts to play a soft song and gradually brighten the lamp to the color chosen by the user. The alarm song is set by the app, and there's nowhere to change it. Unfortunately, we're a pretty deep sleeper, and the alarm wasn't very good for waking us up, but we did use it to good effect to remind us when to stop working and go to the gym. The "notifications" feature works similarly, when one of the apps Notti connects to gets a notification, the lamp will flash a particular color. One of the apps is Facebook, and we can't recommend Notti as a notification device for that. We don't know about anybody else, but our Facebook feed is very active, so basically all the Notti did for most of the day was flash royal blue. Using it as a visual notification that we had a phone call or text message worked better, this is probably because we have trouble remembering to take our phone off silent mode.
The music feature is the coolest and also kind of the most disappointing part of the Notti due to improvements that need to be made to the app. The lamp can act as a visualizer for music being played on the connected device. Notti will flash in time with the music in any color or while cycling through the colors randomly. The user can even change the colors on the fly with the selection wheel, that's pretty cool. Unfortunately, to use the lamp the music must be played through the Notti app. When we tapped on the song selection in the Notti app, we were presented with our iTunes music and playlists stored on our device, but we couldn't add a playlist whole. We could only create a new playlist in the Notti app by selecting individual songs.
The downside of this is two-fold; firstly, there's no way to edit the playlist in the Notti app. Once a song is selected, it can't be de-selected or moved in the list, the user can't even see the list. Secondly, the playlist isn't saved anywhere. Even while the user is listening to a current playlist, if they tap the songs button again they will be presented with all their songs with no indication of which songs are already in the queue. This also means the user will have to make the playlist fresh every time they go to use Notti as a visualizer. All that being said, having a multicolored crystal looking thing flashing in time to our music was pretty cool - we look forward to the day Witti addresses these issues with the app.
Ultimately, we think Notti is a cool little toy. It's compact, mobile, and gives off a good amount of light. We think it would be a blast to take with us camping to use as a lantern, the ability to adjust the color of the lamp isn't just good for sweet musical light shows, but we could also turn it to red for late night trips to the bathroom allowing us to see without wrecking our night vision. According to the documentation, the battery is good for over five hours of continuous light, or 750 hours on notification mode.
The lamp has an MSRP of $60 and is currently available for that directly from Witti or from Amazon. Considering the amount of hardware, design, and development time that must have went into the lamp and its app, we can certainly understand that price. However, if we're spending our own money, we'd wait for it to go on sale.