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Govee LED Strip Light M1
What we like
What we don't like
Govee LED Strip Light M1
Govee LED Strip Light M1 review: At a glance
- What is it? The Govee LED Strip Light M1 is an upgrade of existing Govee lightstrips that makes it the company's first product with universal pairing via 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 a 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 frequently offers substantial discounts. If you can find them, smaller kits should be cheaper.
- Where can you buy it? You can buy the Govee LED Strip Light M1 direct from Govee, and through various third-party retailers like Amazon.
- How did we test it? I tested a shorter, 2m/6.56ft version of the Govee LED Strip Light M1 for one week, paired with Alexa, HomeKit, and Google Home. The review unit was supplied by Govee.
- Is it worth it? The Govee LED Strip Light M1 is a bright and attractive lightstrip that pairs with all three major smart home platforms, but beyond Matter support and some Govee Home features, there's nothing special and you may encounter technical issues. That said, it'll do the job if you can find it at an acceptable price.
Should you buy the Govee LED Strip Light M1?
Although the Matter 1.0 spec first launched in late 2022, compatible smart home accessories have been slow to roll out. That’s especially true with lightstrips — in fact, the only other Matter-compatible strip on the market as of the M1’s launch is Nanoleaf’s Essential Matter model. That product also requires a Thread border router, so Govee’s Wi-Fi-based strip is a big deal.
After setup 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 taped to our test strip was so small that the Apple Home app couldn’t scan it. Without a physical copy anywhere else, the only options were to read the numeric code from that tape or pull a code up in Govee Home. I also had to switch from an iPhone to an Android phone to pair with Google Home, since Google has yet to enable Matter pairing on iOS. Even on Android, it took a few tries to pair.
The Govee LED Strip Light M1 generally behaves like you’d expect in paired platforms, including automation support and voice control. It doesn’t support platform-specific features like HomeKit’s Adaptive Lighting, but you do have standard control over brightness and (solid) colors. You’ll have to use the Govee Home app to trigger multi-color effects, the good news being that there are plenty of presets and full customization.
Govee’s lightstrip certainly delivers in output. While the company seems oddly loathe to share max lumen ratings, it gets as bright as you could want, and its color is both accurate and well-saturated. Visually, in fact, I preferred it to Nanoleaf’s strip which I also tested recently.
The Govee M1 is the only Wi-Fi lightstrip with Matter right now.
Unfortunately, a few things stop the Govee LED Strip Light M1 from getting a full recommendation. Above all are technical issues — aside from Matter quirks, the lightstrip occasionally lost contact with one or more smart home platforms during testing, despite my having an Eero Pro 6E router just inches away. I was able to force it to reconnect by unplugging the strip for a second and plugging it back in, but this made the Govee Home app or the included remote the most reliable control options, somewhat defeating the point of a Matter-enabled product.
It also suffers from its reliance on Wi-Fi. It’s noticeably slower to react than lights based on Thread or Zigbee, and of course, you’ll need a Wi-Fi router that’s both in range and not overly saturated with connections. Still, if you have a Matter controller (like an Echo or Google Nest speaker) but nothing that supports Thread, this is your only Matter-compatible option for now.
Lastly, I’ll note that I wasn’t impressed by Govee’s music sync options. You can only sync from your phone or the remote’s built-in speaker, and all of Govee’s sync patterns seem to assume you’re listening to high-energy pop, rock, rap, or EDM. When listening to genres like ambient or power electronics, the flickering caused by music sync initially made me think the M1 was broken.
What are the best Govee LED Strip Light M1 alternatives?
There are plenty of smart lightstrips on the market, yet only a few fit the bill of being both high-quality and supporting all three major smart home platforms. As far as pricing goes, note that all of the prices below are for strips in the six- to seven-foot range.
- Nanoleaf Essentials Matter Lightstrip ($139 at Amazon): The Nanoleaf Essentials Matter lightstrip requires both a Matter controller and a Thread border router, but with those in tow, you’ll get quicker response and the benefits of Thread’s mesh technology. We did have trouble getting Matter pairing to work with Google Home.
- Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus ($2319 at Amazon): This Philips Hue strip is decidedly more expensive, not the least because it requires a Zigbee-based Hue Bridge/Smart Hub if you don’t have one. Hue products are famously reliable though, and you’ll get Alexa, HomeKit, and Google Home support without Matter.
- LIFX Lightstrip ($279.99 at Samsung): The LIFX lighstrip is probably your best choice if you want a Wi-Fi strip that offers Alexa, HomeKit, and Google Home compatibility sans Matter. It does come with the downsides of Wi-Fi, and remains pricier than Govee or Nanoleaf’s options relative to length.
Govee LED Strip Light M1 review: Q&A
Yes. As with most smart lightstrips, the Govee LED Strip Light M1 has pre-marked cutpoints. You can’t reattach cut sections, 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 lightstrips for their reliability, though they are expensive, especially since they require a hub. There are other perks that might justify Hue, such as sync with Spotify or Razer Chroma.
The Govee LED Strip Light M1 does have Bluetooth for pairing, but it primarily connects via 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. You’ll also see the Govee Home app establish a Bluetooth link when you’re close by.
The Govee LED Strip Light M1 isn’t, but the company does make outdoor lightstrips. You’ll have to buy one of those for waterproofing.