Over recent years there has become a bit of a trend; a trend that shows no sign of slowing down. Yep, whether it’s your kitchen, your bedroom, your living room, your office, or your gaming cave, it has to be filled with light. But not just any old light, it has to be moody, atmospheric light. Light that sees you immersed in your activities ever more than before.
This is where the humble LED strip comes into play. Simple to install, easy to power, and capable of providing all manner of lighting opportunities, grabbing a strip of LEDs and ensuring your room of choice is lit up like Christmas every day of the year is par for the course.
Whether you like this current trend or not matters little, but I’ll be honest, I’ve fallen for it. I’ve got LEDs providing a little ambient kitchen glow, and I’ve got atmospheric colour changing bulbs in the bedroom for, well, um, lighting up the bedroom. But I’ve also had lights behind my main TV for Xbox One gaming sessions, with the brilliant DreamScreen delivering hues based on what is on screen at the time – at least I did until DreamScreen went under. Now though I’ve also got some KontrolFreek offerings, in the form of their Gaming Lights. And yes, they do pretty much as it says on the package. Although honestly, you could probably remove the word ‘gaming’ and just run with the ‘lights’ angle should you so wish.
The KontrolFreek Gaming Lights are a simple 9ft long strip of coloured LED lights, allowing you to light up your gaming station like never before. And as you would expect, KontrolFreek themselves push the whole colour psychology thing in order to make a sale here. It’s long been known that colour plays an important part in how we feel, and these lights can help change your mood; a red glow stimulating aggression, blue providing a sense of tranquillity, green improving your vision, purple adding a touch of sophistication to matters, and more. Personally, I’m not sure these really help me in this way, but for those who want to enjoy the atmospheric changes they deliver, the Gaming Lights cannot be faulted.
With 3M stickiness on the back of the LED strips, and breaks in the connections allowing you to turn corners at will, splitting the system down into bite-sized chunks, the KontrolFreek Gaming Lights do the same job as any other LED lighting system – stick, plug, play. It’s just these come with the KF branding front and centre. Other than that though, you could just as well get yourself down to your local DIY store and you’d be similarly sorted.
Powering the KontrolFreek Gaming Lights is a USB-A end that connects directly into any USB-A port that you may have hanging around. Whether this be through your TV, via your Xbox One, or plugged directly into your laptop or desktop setup, matters little – if it’s USB-A power you can give, the KontrolFreek Gaming Lights will glow forever more.
And when they do glow, they look good too, providing multiple light choices (eight in fact), a variety of snazzy effects, various brightnesses, and eight different speeds of cycle. It’s quite easy to choose one that you like as well, with a trio of buttons sitting in an in-line control unit, allowing you to dictate what you wish to see. The only real decision you’ll have to make – and pretty much stick by – is the placement of the Gaming Lights. Yes, that 3M backing is capable of being moved without leaving residue, but I’d not want to do it too many times.
The main problem though is that the control unit on the KF Gaming Lights has absolutely zero markings or signals to show which button does what. Whilst practice makes perfect, struggling around and hitting the three buttons in the hope that they do as you wish is an utter ballache. I mean, is it really that difficult to put some kind of symbol or lettering on the unit to ensure we know what button does what? Personally, I’d say that any such control scheme should be an absolute gimme, and without prompts or help it’s just extremely awkward to get used to the variety of lighting options that these allow.
It’s hard to knock the KontrolFreek Gaming Lights too much for this slight inconsistency, but then it’s also pretty tricky to hype up what is a simple strip of LED lights with KontrolFreek branding. In fact, using these feels very much like going down to your local football club, entering their megastore and purchasing some club branded chocolate. You don’t need to do it, and you can probably buy a better quality version much cheaper elsewhere, but still, the draw and temptation is always real. Just because of loyalty.
And that means that at the end of the day, for the $24.99 asking price, the KontrolFreek Gaming Lights aren’t going to break the bank, but when you can purchase similar lighting solutions at a much cheaper price, you’ll really have to be a fan of KontrolFreek in order to take a hit on these.
Massive thanks go out to KontrolFreek for providing us a set of their Gaming Lights for review. If you wish to pick them up for yourself, hit up KontrolFreek direct. Tell them we sent you.
Related: KontrolFreek Gaming Lights – UNBOXING AND FIRST LOOK