Aputure Takes on Philips Hue and Nanoleaf with amaran RGB LED Strips

Aputure dipped its toe into general lighting with a smart light bulb it launched earlier this year, but its new amaran smart LED strips dive straight in and position the company as a competitor against Philips Hue and Nanoleaf.

amaran, which is always lower-cased, is an offshoot brand of Aputure — a company that has for years produced a variety of lighting products for photographers and filmmakers — and the new Bluetooth and WiFi-controlled SM5c are its first-ever RGB smart pixel LED strip lights that the company says are for content creators who not only want to light large spaces, but also want to “create an environment for fostering creativity and innovation.”

Amaran smart led strip

In short, they’re lights designed to add ambiance to a personal or workspace and also would work for those who want to add background lighting effects to live streams. That angle leans pretty heavily into a space that is currently dominated by the likes of Philips Hue and Nanoleaf, but Aputure amaran says it has put some unique features into the light strips that make them stand out.

The SM5c is a five-meter long (about 16.4 feet) LED strip. The “SM” in the name stands for smart, the “5” refers to the length, and the “c” references its color capabilities. The strip features 300 RGB LEDs and 100 pixels, which Aputure says can be customized with different designs and lighting effects using the Sidus Link app.

Amaran smart led strip

Amaran smart led strip

The company says the SM5c is the first RGB product instead of RGBWW and Aputure says its “advanced circuitry” allows it to simultaneously display more than one color and have pixel control capabilities. The 100 pixels can be independently controlled over five or 25 light zones, and the strip comes with 21 built-in pixel effects out of the box.

The whole strip includes a frosted diffusion layer over the lights which Aputure says creates a soft glow and reduces glare, making it better for direct viewing and for use on camera.

“The SM5c is mainly designed to be an effects light to create saturated colors, pixels, and effects. It is not designed to be used as a key light, fill light, on skin tones, or to create a white light effect, which existing Aputure and amaran lights that utilize the RGBWW chipset with white light reproduction are designed for,” the company says.

Amaran smart led strip

The SM5c also is the first Aputure light that has a built-in microphone in its external controller. It allows the lights to react to music and while existing Aputure and amaran products can create music effects by uploading audio clips via Sidus Links, the SM5c is the first product that can enable this feature natively via the external controller. The lights are also compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

The strip can be extended by an additional five meters with an optional SM5c Extension for a total of 10 meters of LED light without the need for an additional power supply. The two strip lights are connected via an 8cm header feeder cable which allows users to create one continuous light effect.

Amaran smart led strip

The Aputure amaran SM5c are available starting today for $89.

Image credits: Aputure