Elgato’s Avea Flare is a novelty item, but a fun novelty item. Whether it’s US$99.95 worth of fun, only you can decide.
The Flare is a portable mood lamp that looks like an ostrich egg (it’s 8.7 inches tall, six inches in diameter, and weighs just over a pound). Made of thick white plastic with a matte finish, its bottom is a flat base designed for placing on the floor, a counter, or any other flat surface. On the bottom of the Flare are a circular series of tiny rubber pads for grip, a metal induction ring for charging, and two rubber buttons. The Power button turns the light on and off, while the Mode button cycles through different brightness settings.
About that induction ring: the Flare doesn't have to be plugged into a power outlet after it’s been charged charged by placing it atop the circular induction base. Of courser, the base itself must be plugged into an outlet. The Flare uses a built-in lithium polymer battery that lasts up to eight hours when fully charged. And it will stay on indefinitely when it’s perched atop the charging base
The appeal to Apple fans is that you can control the Flare’s ambience with your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch via a free app that you can download at the Apple App Store. It uses Bluetooth, so you need no additional gateways or bridges.
With the Elgato Avea app, you can connect to the light with Bluetooth to choose the scene you want and to control the brightness, saturation, and vividness of the scene. The app remembers your settings for each scene for the next time you turn it on. What’s more, if you connect more than one Flare, they’ll automatically coordinate their lighting to create an even more immersive atmosphere.
There’s a choice of 10 different dynamic lighting scenes —including Fairy Woods, Caribbean Sea, Candy Land, Magic Hour, Mountain Breeze, Cherry Blossom, Sunny Field, and Calm Provence — that range from subtle (Caribbean Sea) to garish (Candy Land). For something a bit more basic, you can also select from a number of primary colors lighting moods.
You can also set up a wake-up alarm that slowly turns on the Flare to simulate a sunrise, as well as connecting it to a variety of alarm sounds. Unfortunately, you’ll have to set the alarm every night.
With its compact footprint, you can lug the Flare pretty much anywhere you’d like. It has a water resistance rating of IP65, so you can even place it beside a swimming pool.
Unfortunately, the Flare doesn’t work with Apple HomeKit, a framework that allows control of compatible home automation devices through iOS and Siri. The Home app in iOS 10 lets you securely control any "Works with Apple HomeKit” accessory. You can also organize your accessories by room, manage multiple accessories at the same time, control your home with Siri, and more.
Also, since it’s a mood lamp you can’t use it to light an entire room. You simply use it to set a specific mood.
It’s pretty cool, but, as I said at the beginning of this review, only you can decide if it’s cool enough to fork out 100 bucks.
The Avea Flare works with: the iPhone 4S or later; the iPod touch (fifth generation); the iPad mini or iPad (third generation or later) with iOS 9 or later; and the Apple Watch, with watchOS 2 or later.