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Govee StarPal Pro Table Lamp Review

A Bowlful of Light

Christopher Coke Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

Govee is back again with its latest RGB lighting accessory, the StarPal Pro table lamps. These lamps take aim directly at Philips Hue Go Table Lamp, delivering portable ambient lighting at a significantly lower price — including white and warm white, so they can be used outside of your gaming den. We’ve been big fans of the Philips lamps since their release. Let’s see if StarPal Pros offer a competitive solution while also saving you a few dollars! 

Specifications

  • Current Price: $65.99 (Amazon
  • Key Features:
    • Unplug-And-Go Portability
    • DIY Effect Customization
    • 32+ Gorgeous Scene Modes
    • Music Sync Mode
    • Sleep and Wake Timers
    • Physical Button + App Control
  • Technology: RGBWW
  • Battery: 3350 mAh
  • Voltage: 100-240V
  • Cord Length: 4.9ft (1.5m)
  • Control Method: Physical Button & Smart App
  • Bulb Diameter: ‎6.1 inches
  • Bulb Diameter: ‎3.7 inches
  • Lumens: 350 

Govee has been the RGB lighting brand to watch for several years now, beginning with RGB lighting strips and in recent years expanding into a wide array of lighting products. We recently completed a giveaway following our review of the Govee Glide Wall Lights. Before that it was the Govee Flow Pro LED Light Bars, which mounted behind your monitor.  Before that was the Immersion TV Backlight, which used a camera to track what was occurring on your TV and translated that to dynamic, real-time RGB backlighting for your TV set.

Each of these products zeroed in on a competitor. The Glide Wall Lights took on the LifX Beam. The Flow Pro LED bars went after Philips Hue Play. The TV backlight challenged the DreamScreen and, ironically, the Philips Hue Sync system which came out after (though, in fairness, aimed to provide wide Hue lighting integration for a home theater versus one TV lighting strip). And in each of these cases, they left us wondering why anyone would pay full price for the big brands again. There were differences but they were generally minor and not worth fretting over while still being able to enjoy the core features those big brands sought to offer.

The StarPal Pro follows this same trend, delivering Govee’s vision of a portable RGBWW table lamp, clearly challenging the Philips Hue Go table lamps. Like the Flow Pro, the visual similarity to Go lamps is absolutely striking and clearly intentional. Like the Go, the StarPal is able to produce a full range of customizable RGB light, including scenes and animations. It’s also features dedicated white and warm white LEDs, so you can place these anywhere in your house and customize them to match the exact color temperature you’re looking for (2200-6500K).

As a “Pro” level Govee product, it also features smart home integration. If you use Amazon Alexa of Google Home, you’ll be able to issue voice commands and integrate it into your routines. If you don’t need WiFi features, Govee also sells a Bluetooth-only version for $42.99. Both versions can be controlled within the Govee app, which allows for full color and brightness customization, as well as the ability to engage themed color scenes and a cool music mode that could be useful for parties. The light also supports sleep and wake timers, which is great if you need some help getting up in the morning. 

Philips Hue Go Table Lamp (left) is smaller than the Govee StarPal Pro (right) but the actual diffused area is nearly the same
 

The light itself looks like a deep bowl of milky white, transforming the entire unit into a diffuser. This allows the light to be smooth and consistent. There’s also a foot on the outside of the bowl so it can be placed at an angle and project onto a wall. Inside the diffuser is an LED array capable out outputting 350 lumens. This isn’t exceptionally bright; Govee’s 9W RGB light bulbs output 800 lumens each, so you won’t be lighting a room with the bowls alone. As accent lighting in a dim room, they work great, perfect for ambiance in any setting and great for on-camera lighting in the background.

Each bowl also houses a 3350mAh battery. This is enough for about six hours of use at full brightness. You’ll want to plug them in when not in use as it did seem like the battery would drain even when they’re turned off (likely due to the wireless connectivity). When you need to plug them in, the five-foot cable made reaching the outlet easy in any area where they seemed appropriate to place for longer periods of time. 

I do have one gripe when it comes to charging, though: each light uses an AC adapter with a long charging brick. They’re long enough to block the adjacent outlets on a power strip and can’t be strung together to run off of a single adapter. Proprietary adapters have been a standard on Govee products, and I would love to see it transition its line-up to USB for ease of use.

Impressions

After a couple of weeks with the lights, I have to say that I’m impressed. They are flat out better than the Philips Hue Go bowls in virtually every way. They’re brighter, more vibrant, and throw more light. For photo and video work, the Hue lights would create bands, almost like scan lines because of the low refresh rate of the LEDs. These are completely absent on the Govee lights. 

StarPal Table Lamp (right) is brighter in both white and colored lighting modes. Notice in the red comparison shot how the camera clips, turning the Govee bowl white due to the increased brightness.

There is an interesting point to mention here: either Govee or Philips are misquoting the brightness of their lights. Govee’s Amazon page lists the output at 350 lumens. Philips’ Best Buy page lists the brightness of its lights at 530 lumens. The Govee lights are unquestionably brighter. It’s also possible that Philips may have done a silent revision of its lights at some point and my launch kit is less bright than what’s being sold now. I can’t say for sure either way. But the StarPal Pro was the brighter of my two lights, as you can clearly see in the pictures here. 

"Reading" Scene

I’m also a big fan of the customization options within the app. Choosing a static color (which will probably be what you do most of the time) is as easy as picking from a palette or color wheel. There are lots of Scenes for different lighting effects. The bonfire and candlelight effects is especially nice, if you want a bit of simulated fire or candlelight in your environment. There are also scenes suited for hosting parties with fun, energetic lighting, and even a music mode that will pulse with your tunes.

The one area where Philips still has the edge is in its app. The Govee app isn’t difficult to navigate once you’re used to it but it’s not nearly as intuitive as the Hue app. Govee has also been adding features regularly, such as the ability to group lights into rooms and apply different schedules and lighting. These features are very welcome and help provide feature parity, but definitely need some more time for refinement before they’ll feel as user-friendly. 

One prime example of this is if you happen to have two of these lights. You can add both lights to a scene and adjust their colors and brightness settings together. If you’d like to change individual settings for each light, you’ll need to back out to the main screen and click into each light individually. Hue, on the other hand, puts all of your lights on a single color palette, which makes independent adjustments much easier.  Given the rapid iteration Govee is making, however, I would expect this to become more refined over time. The app will also load the last setting you applied when turning on each light, so if you plan on keeping a single color, this will only be an issue the first time you’re applying settings.

Final Thoughts

Govee continues its roll through the lighting industry. At this point, if you’re not already deep in the Hue or LIFX ecosystems, there’s little reason to join. Govee’s roster of products answer the heavy hitters from the big brands for less cost and extremely similar features and performance. The StarPal Pro has officially retired my pair of Hue Go bowls. The RGB is bright, vibrant, and easily customizable, If you don’t mind taking the time to learn the app and finding space for the larger chargers, they’re absolutely worth picking up.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.
 
9.0Amazing
Pros
  • Bright and vibrant (outperforms Philips Hue Go)
  • Internal battery allows portable use
  • Can be grouped with other Govee lights into “scenes”
  • Smart home integrated (WiFi version only)
  • Well priced
Cons
  • Large charging brick
  • Battery drain when turned off


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight