Gaming Hardware Reviews Smart Home

Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels review: should you put these on your wall?

Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels

Hexagonal light panels are becoming quite the aesthetic statement with gamers, or even just someone who wants to brighten up their home office.

The Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels review, as the name suggests, hexagonal shaped panels that slot together to make various shapes. Due to the number of LEDs they pack into each panel, they light up with a range of colours from across the spectrum. When a few of these are slotted together, accompanying software can put on a light display, which takes into account their positioning relative to one other.

One company selling these is Govee, with its Glide Hexa Light Panels. In the pack you get seven hexagons for £149.99 or ten for £189.99, although, at the time of writing, the ten pack £169.99 when purchased directly from Govee. Both pack sizes are available from Govee, and the 10 pack can be purchased from Amazon.

Get 8% off! If you buy directly from Govee, with this link, you’ll be offered a code to receive 8% off anything (or everything) from their online shop.

Unboxing

With each panel measuring 180 x 155 x 17mm, you can be pretty sure that a box of ten of them isn’t going to be discrete. It’s a large, heavy parcel when it turns up.

Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels box and contents

The box is pretty average in looks, with no particular attention paid to the unboxing process. Open up the front and the panels are stacked inside, each in a plastic bag and then separated by a piece of card. As the panels are made of plastic, I can’t see what these bags are protecting them from, as scratches are unlikely.

Inside the main box is a smaller one that contains instructions, cables (including extra ones), the power supply, spare sticky pads and a couple of items to help with installation. Many of these come in their own bags for no obvious reason. The power supply comes in two parts – the primary power block that goes into your mains socket, and then a “control box”, which is the brains of the system. This has a simple power button and microphone hole on one side and a large sticky pad on the other.

The installation items are a small spirit level and what Govee calls an “orientation device”. Essentially, it’s a zig-zag of plastic that will sit on one panel but provides something for the next panel to align against. When installing, I didn’t find this useful and, after a while, I stopped using it.

Overall, you get a good selection of items, including much-needed spare cables and pads, as well as useful installation aids, but there’s way too much unnecessary plastic packaging.

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Installing the light panels

Installing the panels is easy but takes time. Using the app, you’ll design how you want your panels to fit together. Once that’s done, it will guide you through putting up each one in turn, including details of where to plug in a cable in for each panel.

Each panel contains a slot for power and then a number of other ports, all at different angles, for connecting to the next panel in the sequence. The power supply goes into the power slot on the first panel and you’ll then use the many supplied connecting cables, pushing one end into the specified numbered slot on that panel and then the other end into the power for the next panel.

Once you’ve connected the cables for each panel you’ll use the pad on the back to stick this to the wall, which is a case of holding it in place, firmly, for 30 seconds. Repeat for each panel and you’ll soon have a pattern of tiles on the wall. You can connect up to 10 panels per power supply.

The following Govee video was incredibly helpful and will show you what I’ve tried to describe above, as well as a demonstration of the panels in use:

The panels feel very well made, but after assembly I found that one of my panels didn’t work. If you buy directly from the company, email the Govee support desk, provide your order number, and they’ll make arrangements for a replacement panel.

The Govee Home App

The app is the critical part of this product, as it’s here where you’re going to set the lights up and control them. Yes, third-party devices can be used (see below), but not to the extent that the app can. You may use Alexa to turn it on and off and adjust brightness, but it’s the app you’ll turn to when you want to adjust the patterns and the overall look.

My big problem with the Govee Home app is just how busy it is. I also have apps for Nest and Eve products installed on my phone and they do only what you need them to – control the products. In comparison, Govee Home has a store, news, even a “club” for users to get together and share their experiences. Here are a few of those screens:

It would be a lot better if Govee separated these “extras”, maybe into a second app, so that those who only want to control their lights can do so without distractions.

At least the app provides a lot of powerful options from controlling the lights. But it can often be difficult to understand how to achieve something and help is lacking – more assistance and fewer social options would be very much appreciated.

I mentioned previously that the control box connected to the panels has a small hole in it for a microphone. This can be used to synchronise the lights with music or sound in general. Within the app you can choose whether to use this microphone or the one on the device on which you have the app installed. With adjustable sensitivity, this works very effectively and is one of my lighting methods with these panels.

Otherwise, you can use a series of built-in scenes or set up your own colour patterns. Again, the latter is difficult due to cluttered screens and a lack of assistance, but persevere and you can produce some excellent results.

Here is a series of screenshots, from the iOS version of the app, showing various control mechanisms. The first one shows the audio synchronisation, the second shows manual brightness control and the third is pre-defined scenes.

Although over-complicated, the app is stable, which is more that can be said for many IoT apps, and the set-up process was a breeze.

Alexa and Google Assistant controls

The lights work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, with voice control available. There is no Apple Homekit compatibility, but there are plenty of alternative ways to control the lights, thanks the the API that Govee provides.

Lights like these often require Bluetooth or Wi-Fi; the Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels need both for local and wider control. The Wi-Fi connection, for example, allows full control of the lights remotely.

However you wish to control the lights remotely, whether via a Stream Deck, Homebridge (useful software that will add additional features to Apple Home) or whatever else, you’ll need your Govee API key. In the Govee Home app, head to My Profile > Settings > About Us > Apply for API Key. Complete the requested details and the company will email a key to you.

To give you an example, there’s a (unofficial) Stream Deck plugin available. Download the latest version, unzip the result and then run the file named com.geekyeggo.goveecontroller.streamDeckPlugin from the folder dist. Your Stream Deck app will install it and you’ll find a series of new Govee actions available. For each, you simply need to specify your API and which device you wish to use. I now have a rather splendid and easy to use power button on my Stream Deck, as a result.

Equally, running Homebridge on a spare Raspberry Pi, I’ve installed the Govee plugin for that and now have control of the lights from Apple’s Home app. Again, all that was needed was the API key.

Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels review verdict

The light panels are genuinely excellent – they might look like big blobs of white plastic but, when lit, you can see how good the lighting mechanism inside of them is. The back of each panel is translucent, so the light reflects offthe wall too, giving a glow that looks very impressive.

I thought installation would be painful but it wasn’t. It’s not something I’d rush, so give yourself plenty of time, but it’s not difficult. Even when I managed to place one a little too far away from the others, it was a case of pulling the panel from the centre section (that’s the bit that’s actually stuck to the wall), pulling away the sticky pad, replacing the pad and re-installing. And I did this with all cables still attached – each of the cables is made longer than they need be to make it easier to position, but they’re flexible and will fold under the panels.

I use HomeKit for my home automation but the third-party API integration means that I’m not resigned to using the Govee Home app alone. I’ve already mentioned that I’ve added it to Homebridge so that it appears on Apple Home, but I also have a Stream Deck button on my desk to toggle it on and off. I’m sure more automations are to come!

It was a shame about the amount of plastic in the packaging but, at the opposite end of the environmental impact scale, with all ten panels at full brightness, they draw only 9 watts.

Overall, my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. The lights are easy to install and the results are fantastic. All you need to bring is imagination!

Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels Review
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Ease of use
  • Value for money

Verdict

A great way to bring imaginative light shows to your walls, without hammering your electricity bills

Overall
3.8

Pros

  • High-quality hardware
  • A vast range of light options, which look fantastic
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and more via an API

Cons

  • Pricey
  • The app is confusing 
  • No Apple HomeKit compatibility

About the author

David Artiss

Currently working for a technology company based in San Francisco, David has worked in IT for nearly 30 years. He is a keen gamer and happily admits to being a gadget nerd too.

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