Govee lights have been making it easier for me to achieve my dream of creating the most exciting and immersive smart lighting experience in my entertainment area. When looking for an excellent smart light, there are many choices out there. However, if you are trying to find a way to make your next movie or gaming session truly pull you in, that list of choices is much shorter — but the Govee Flow Pro light bars aim to top that list.
The Govee Flow Pro light bars are designed to add some ambiance to your TV or gaming monitor. While backlighting is nothing new, lights that react to what is happening on the screen are far less common — especially at an affordable price. But that's what you get with these smart LED light bars, thanks to the ColorSense camera that analyzes the action on the screen for the lights to mimic. But, how well does it work? Let's talk about that.
Govee Flow Pro
Bottom line: If you are looking for a way to make your entertainment area more immersive, then the Govee Flow Pro light bars are the way to go. Just keep in mind that if your TV is over 45-inches, these may be too small to give you the full effect you're looking for.
- Easy setup
- The companion app is full of options
- The ColorSense camera creates an immersive TV experience
- Excellent color vibrance and saturation
- Cheaper than many other options
- Color gradients aren't as evident due to the light bar size
- Camera can take away from the aesthetics of your TV
- Light bars are too small for large televisions
Govee Flow Pro: Price and availability
The Govee Flow Pro launched in October 2020 for $73 on Amazon and the Govee online store. Since then, the lights have had a few sales but are currently selling for $80 at both Amazon and Govee's own website.
Govee Flow Pro: What's good
I have been using Govee in my living room set up for a while now with the wonderful Lyra Corner Floor Lamp, and I've previously added backlighting on my TV with a few different smart light options. But I took it to the next level thanks to the Govee Immersion TV backlight.
Since I knew what was possible from Govee's LED lights from the other products of theirs that I've used, I had high hopes for these light bars. The Flow Pro uses the same camera and a similar control box as the Immersion light strip I already have. However, because the Flow Pro light bars are two individual units, there are a few differences in how they operate.
|Specs||Govee Flow Pro|
|Dimensions||10.47 × 3.31 × 3.31 inches|
|White Color Range||2200k - 6500k|
|Smart Assistant Integration||Alexa
When you open up the Govee Flow Pro package, you get the ColorSense camera, a control box, power cable, and two light bars tethered together by a cable. You also get two methods of setting up your light bars. One is a stand attached to the bottom of the bar so you can place the lights on your entertainment center. The other option is a clip that attaches to the light bar and sticks to the back side of your TV with a 3M adhesive patch.
I decided to stick the Govee Flow Pro to the back of my TV along with the control box. I chose to attach the ColorSense camera to the bottom of my TV so it would be hidden from view by my soundbar. After everything was set up, it was time to calibrate the camera with the Govee companion app on my phone.
The camera calibration process is relatively simple, and you get to see what the 2MP camera sees when sending lighting information to the light bars. The process involves placing the included orange foam in specific locations on your TV screen base on whether you have the camera on top of your television or on the bottom.
Once the squares are properly placed, the camera will take a still image. Then on your phone, you'll have a set of adjustment points to help ensure that the camera captures the action on your TV best as possible. After you're satisfied with the ColorSense camera calibration, you can remove the foam pieces, and it's time for the fun to begin.
The ColorSense camera does a surprisingly good job reproducing the colors onscreen to the light bars considering the extreme angle the camera is working with.
Opening the Govee companion app lets you really dig into all of the possible options for these lights. Because the light bars are equipped with Govee's RGBICWW LED strip, the light bars can be divided into zones of different colors. This allows for fun gradients and better immersion when viewing content on your TV. Also, the vibrance and saturation of color that the Govee Flow Pro offers are just plain fantastic.
The companion app offers a lot of different modes for the light bars. You can customize each bar individually by choosing from a rainbow of colors to a full range of white temperatures. Each bar has six zones that you can an individual color and brightness of. Govee also has a section of recommended color schemes where you can choose from various options in the categories of style, scene, and color matching method to get the perfect lighting.
If you prefer to use a preset scene Govee has curated for you, there are twelve options there with choices like Reading, Candlelight, Aurora, Bloom, and more. Some of these offer colors that change and move to create a calming or energizing environment. To get the lights really going, sync the them with some music and pick from four different color schemes to see the light bars dance to your favorite tunes.
Of course, these lights really shine when they are utilizing the ColorSense camera to react to your television. In Video mode, you can choose Full screen or Split-screen where the light bars will match their color reaction to each other, or vary from each other, depending on what you prefer. There are two options within the Video mode, and that's Movie or Game. These two options affect how the light's brightness and color switching speed react to what the camera sees on the screen.
The effect that you can get from these lights when using the Video mode is impressive. The lights do a great job of helping to bring whatever is on the screen to life. Using light to extend what is within the frame of your TV onto your walls helps your eyes do a better job of taking in the information they see, such as color, contrast, and more. Putting lights on the back of your TV, instead of in front or above, is known as bias lighting.
Bias lighting not only allows your eyes to better perceive color and contrast on your TV, but it can also help reduce eye strain. The Govee Flow Pro does an excellent job of translating what is happening on your TV and splashing it onto the wall behind your television for an overall better and more comfortable viewing experience.
If you aren't into the idea of a reactive TV backlight that will change based on what's happening on the screen but still want rich bias lighting — Govee has you covered. There are actually three versions of the Govee Flow light bars to fit different budgets and feature needs.
To get all of the smart features like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration, but without the camera, you can go for the Flow Plus for $65. Then there's the standard Govee Flow that gets you all the great features in the companion app, but only Bluetooth control for $50. The Pro combines all of the models into one package and adds the ColorSense camera for the ultimate bias lighting option.
Govee Flow Pro: What's not good
The Govee Flow Pro light bars have a lot going for them, but they're not perfect. One thing that Govee does very well with many of its LED light strip-based products, which at its core the Flow Pro is, are the gradients between colors. However, because these particular light bars are only 10.47-inches tall, there isn't much space along the light strip for those slight color variations to stand out.
Don't get me wrong, the Govee Flow Pro shows multiple colors, and it does a good job of transitioning between color zones. But it can be difficult to discern those variations when they're shining against a wall and trying to emulate what's happening on your TV screen because the light strips are so short. Am I saying that this makes for a bad experience? No, but it does limit the lighting effect to a significant degree.
While on the subject of visuals, the ColorSense camera isn't the prettiest accessory around. But then again, it really doesn't have to be. It's designed to interpret the images on the TV screen and transfer that info to the Govee Flow Pro control box to be sent off to the lights. However, it means that depending on how your television is set up in your home, the camera may stand out as a bit of an eyesore.
Like I said, with my setup, I'm able to utilize the option of placing the ColorSense camera on the bottom of my TV. Then because I have a soundbar sitting in front of my television, it does a fine job of hiding the camera. So if you mount your TV on the wall, the ColorSense camera is going to be visible no matter what. However, like the hole punch cut out on phones like the latest Google Pixel 5a, your eyes will likely get used to it and forget it's there.
This isn't necessarily a knock on the Govee Flow Pro itself, but more of a disclaimer. Govee says that these light bars are for TV less than 45-inches, and that is worth keeping in mind when considering this product. My television is a 65-inch TCL panel, and when using the Flow Pro with it, some of the lighting effects were lost as the lights were just too small.
Seeing the light surround the entire TV is part of the magic of immersive lighting, and on my television, that just didn't happen. Much like when woodworking or any other project, you have to have the right tool for the job. That includes appropriately sizing the TV with the bias lighting. So, if you have a TV larger than 45-inches, you may want to consider the Govee Immersion backlight instead.
Govee Flow Pro: Competition
When looking at options aside from the Govee Flow Pro light bars that aren't Govee branded, there aren't a ton of choices that offer the same set of features in a comprehensive package. One option in a similar form factor is the Philips Hue Play Bar. But these will be more in line with the Flow Plus or Flow standard; here's why.
I used these for a while with my TV, and they work very well within the Philips Hue ecosystem. You'll get good colors and a compact package. However, there are a good number of limitations when compared to the Flow Pro light bars. The Hue Play Bar will require you to have a hub for control, so that will be an added cost if you don't already have one. The lights can only show one color, cost almost double the Flow Pro, and won't interact with your TV. To get Philips Hue lights to react to your TV, you'll need to get the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box — for $230.
Another option would be to go with a multi-zoned LED light strip like one from LIFX. LIFX light strips are known for their brightness and excellent color saturation. The companion app offers a lot of fun effects for the light strip, and you can create your old scenes by "painting" the LEDs with colors. Unfortunately, however, there's no way to get the lights to mimic what's on your TV.
Govee Flow Pro: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You have a TV 45-inches or smaller and want reactive bias lighting for your TV.
- You want to have a more immersive lighting experience for your movies or games.
- You don't want to spend a ton of money for that movie theater experience for your home.
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You can't hide the ColorSense camera, and it will clash with your style.
- You have a TV larger than 45-inches.
The Govee Flow Pro light bars are an excellent and simple way to bring a more expansive experience to your television. The lights get bright and have excellent colors that do a great job of extending what's on your TV to the rest of your room. Just keep in mind that if you have a TV bigger than 45-inches that these lights may not give the best results. Also, if you want to maintain a clean minimal look to your entertainment area, the ColorSense camera may interrupt your aesthetic.
Am I going to continue to use the Govee Flow Pro in my main entertainment area? No, because I will be keeping the Govee Immersion Light Strip there. Will these lights be going onto the 50-inch TV in my gaming room? Yes. These light bars, combined with the ColorSense camera and the variety of customization in the companion app, bring more excitement and joy to everything that is on the TV.
If you have a TV that is 45-inches or under that you want to bring some added excitement to, then the Govee Flow Pro can get the job done with ease. From the immersion the ColorSense camera brings to the vibrant colors from the top-notch LED lights, at $80 — you can't go wrong.
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