GE Cync Smart Light Strip Review: Too Expensive for Your Eyes

GE's Cync Full Color Dynamic Effects Smart Light Strip coiled up, with RGB lights on.

GE’s Cync Full Color Dynamic Effects Smart Light Strip is a mouthful, but its name is perhaps the most impressive part of this line of diffused 16 million color LEDs. A large, diffuse LED strip that you can easily adjust the length of is held back by a ho-hum controller app – so I’m not really sure there’s any point in buying GE lights when you can get others just as a nice-looking mood lighting solution that costs half the price (or less).


GE’s Cync Full Color Dynamic Effects Smart Light Strip is incredibly bright; no question there. And the color effects you can invoke through the Cync companion app are fun, but the whole package costs too much for the basic features you get. You’ll be able to get a good looking simple glow for your closets (or parties). However, the “special effects” you can pre-select (or customize) seem pretty limited for what you’re paying for this light strip. And while its hard plastic exterior does a great job of diffusing the light (so you don’t go blind), it makes bending this light strip at angles difficult. You’ll probably want to cut it off and reattach it, which you can do, but only so much.


  • Mark: GE
  • Integration: Alexa, Google Home and HomeKit
  • Hub required: No
  • Reactive music: Yes
  • Multiple color option: Yes
  • Color range: 2000-7000K
  • Color composition: RGB (16 million colors)
  • Length: 16 feet
  • Brightness: 1,600 lumens (max.)

  • Very very bright
  • Beautiful diffused lighting from the hard plastic exterior
  • A simple application to set up and use the light strip

  • Very expensive for basic light strip functionality
  • Difficult to turn around corners (unless you cut the strap)
  • The app doesn’t offer nearly as much lighting customization as others
  • Possible connectivity issues with other smartphone platforms in the long run

Buy this product

GE Cync Full Color Dynamic Effects Smart Light Strip

Price and availability

GE's Cync Full Color Dynamic Effects smart light strip winding up the stairs

GE’s expensive Cync Smart Light strip is commonly available in two different configurations (indoor and outdoor) and two different sizes (16 or 32 feet). However, the indoor version of the LED strips is strangely limited to just 16 feet. The 16-foot indoor version we’ve reviewed regularly retails for $90, while the 16-foot outdoor version will set you back a whopping $180, nearly the price of a brand new set of smart lighting from Phillips’ Hue line — true, bulbs, not a string of LEDs, but still .

GE sells a variety of light strips, so when shopping, make sure you choose the correct “full color” version that is a “smart light strip” or you may accidentally purchase the wrong product. Both indoor and outdoor lights support 8-foot extensions, typically ranging from $45 for the indoor version to $80 for the outdoor version.

Design, hardware, what’s in the box

GE's Cync Full Color Dynamic Effects smart light strip coiled up, white lights on.

The Cync Smart Light 16-foot strip has a simple yet effective design. Inside the box, you’ll find a string of LED lights coiled into a circle, waiting for you to untangle them and get to work. I didn’t count every LED on the 16-foot strip, but you get clusters of white, amber, and RGB LEDs running the length of the strip. The first two are used whenever you want a daylight look or pre-generated color temperatures ranging from cool white to sunset. The final LED is used for any RGB colors or light strip effects.

One of the things I liked most about the design of the Cync Smart Light strip is the diffused plastic that covers the entire strip from end to end. While it’s very difficult to bend the LEDs sideways around objects (especially if you’re trying to turn 90 degrees on a wall), it gives the incredibly bright LEDs a nicer glow.

Speaking of, GE claims the LEDs reach up to ‎1,600 lumens in total brightness. In a real-world context, they can be bright enough to irritate your eyes if you look directly at them for a short period of time. The diffusion plastic is, I would say, absolutely necessary. Even then it only does so much; I’d strategically place these lights in an area where you won’t be constantly catching the LEDs out of the corner of your eye, unless you don’t mind constantly adjusting the brightness (or you don’t mind setting it up as part of any scenes you create in the companion Cync app.)

Powerful cube for GE Cync Full Color Dynamic Effects Smart Light Strip

The light strip plugs into a separately connected power adapter, which has two buttons for quickly scrolling through twelve different presets. You can access all of these presets from within the app as well, but the hardware button won’t let you cycle through any custom scenes you’ve created. Although it was annoying, the adapter emits a high-pitched whine that is noticeable in a quiet to normal room whenever the LED lights are set to pure white.

The whistling decreases as the color temperature increases. At first I assumed the light strip I was checking was malfunctioning, but I did a little research and I’m not the only one experiencing this problem with Cync light strips. It is very irritating if you are sitting near said lane.

GE's Cync Full Color Dynamic Effects smart light strip wrapped around the door frame

I appreciate that Cync throws you a lifeboat if you want to segment your strip (or bend it around a sharp corner) by providing an extra adapter in the box for just that purpose. Cutting the strips is fairly easy if you can see the “cut here” line across the 3M tape decorating the back of the light strip.

Once you’ve done this, it’s easy to attach the segments to the included adapter, giving you a little more flexibility to place the light strip where you need it most. You also get some brackets that you can nail to the wall if the 3M tape doesn’t do a good enough job of attaching the light strip to a particular surface. Due to the weight of the light strip itself, you may need them.

Software and performance

I’m not the biggest fan of GE’s Cync app. Connecting the light strip to my home network (2.4GHz only) was simple enough and I’m glad I don’t have to deal with adding another smart hub to my network to communicate with the lights. However, once you get everything up and running, the app is incredibly basic.

Switching between colors is pretty easy, but if you want the light strip to do something smarter, I found its “effects” and “scenes” to be too simple for an expensive light.

When creating a new effect, you choose one of nine basic effect categories – such as pulsing, flashing, wave colors, etc. From there, you can choose which colors to use for the effect (which you can randomize or set in a certain order), edit the total desired brightness and set other additional parameters such as the time for which you want the fade. be between different colors or how long each color should last in your scene. You can theoretically view different categories of effects while creating them, but this feature only worked sporadically.

That’s all well and good, but it looks more like you’re just editing preferences than really creating custom effects. And while the presets listed are probably fine for most people’s needs, they’re no better than what you’d normally find on much cheaper light strips.

I much prefer the customizability found on the Govee RGBIC light strips that come with it lots of more presets in the companion app. You can fine-tune individual segments of the LED strip and even sync the Govee light strips with your desktop PC (via Razer Chroma). If you really want to wow your friends and family with your lighting setup, I’m not sure the (much more expensive) Cync light strip is up to the task.

Intelligent light strip Cync Full Color Dynamic Effects shining behind the TV

The Cync Smart Light Strip also has the basic ability to respond to music with a built-in microphone. It’s no better than most smart light brands I’ve played around with. Sometimes it catches a beat; sometimes not. Even more annoying, however, is that the only real effect the light strip provides is a rather annoying flash of brightness in the beats. The colors of your LED strip won’t change, so you can’t do something neat like flood your LED with a wave of colors based on what you’re listening to. Your strip will just pulsate in addition to whatever normal effect you chose to trigger. And it is done.

Another annoyance I experienced with Cync is that you can’t adjust the brightness of the effects after you’ve started them. This means that the app’s preferences will be as clear as any GE designs unless you create replacements. And you’ll still be left with the brightness you originally configured.

I would much prefer the ability to adjust the LED brightness (or at least set the maximum) independent of any effect running on the tape, especially since the LEDs can be so sure, some presets can be jarring. This adds unnecessary steps and extra configuration for when you need less of a “bright sun” and more of a “mood lighting” feel.

The app can sync with Alexa, Google Home and HomeKit, meaning you can control the light strip (including trigger effects and scenes) with your voice. I haven’t had any issues using it with Google Home, but I’ve seen a few reports that connecting the Cync app to these smart home platforms can be messy, requiring you to remove and re-add it to restore the ability to control the lights with your voice.

It’s hard to say whose fault it is, but you’ll want to try it early in your time with the Cync Smart Light Strip in case you have to return it due to connection issues.


GE's Cync Full Color Dynamic Effects Smart Light Strip curled with RGB lights on

There are plenty of other light strips on the market that you can buy, from the super cheap “hardware color and effects remote control” options that will probably set you back $10-$20, to the very expensive Philips ones. The Hue Lightstrip, which costs $180 for just six feet of light.

At $90, GE’s tested Cync Smart Light Strip is too expensive for its limited features, especially when a smarter alternative like the Govee RGBIC strip lights can do even more for less than half the cost of a similarly sized GE Smart Light Strip.

Should you buy it?

Cync Full Color Dynamic Effects Smart Light Strip wrapped around the door frame with a red and white look

Given the basic functionality it offers, I’m surprised GE’s Cync Smart Light Strip costs so much. Sure, its diffuse lighting is nice to look at. It’s easy to cut and reattach the LED strip to suit the needs of your space, and I certainly can’t deny that the lights are Clear. However, apart from its basic functionality, there is not much you can do with the light strip.

The scene presets are fine, but nothing fancy, and while you can customize your own effects, the Cync app isn’t as robust a tool as what you’ll find on cheaper rival light strips that look just as good. If you’re outfitting your room (or rooms) with fun LED lighting, save your money and buy better (and longer) strips from someone else.

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