Govee Christmas String Lights review: stylish smart holiday lights for economizing Yule-lovers

They’re clever and fun too

Govee Christmas String Lights on a small tree during testing
(Image: © Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

TechRadar Verdict

The Govee Christmas String Lights may be the best-looking smart Christmas lights that came out this year, and they’re also the most affordable of the bunch. There were some design decisions here that may be an issue for some users, but overall, they’re beautiful with bright and vibrant colors. They’re also very responsive, have high waterproofing for outdoor use, and are a lot easier to put up than traditional string lights.

Pros

  • +

    Beautiful rope design with LED beads

  • +

    Bright and vibrant colors

  • +

    Affordable

  • +

    Very responsive to app control and voice commands

  • +

    IP65 waterproof for outdoor use

  • +

    Easier to put up than traditional string lights

Cons

  • -

    Clear string is very noticeable, especially on a green tree

  • -

    Harder to randomize bulb placement

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Govee Christmas String Lights: Two-minute review

The Govee Christmas String Lights seem like a dream come true if you’ve grown tired of dealing with the nightmare that is the annual putting up (not to mention taking down and putting away) of the dreaded Christmas string lights.

For many of us, the holiday season is the joyous time of the year, even for those who don’t celebrate Christmas. But the tradition of putting up the tree – and all your holiday decorations, if you’re the type to go all out – is not all merry and bright. At least when you get to the part where you’re putting up those lights. Dealing with tangled string lights, bulbs burning out, and constant snagging may ruin the vibe and put a momentary damper on your holiday decorating merriment.

Govee Christmas String Lights on a small tree during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Not having to stress out about all that is the goal, and the Govee Christmas String Lights may just be an ideal solution. Govee opted for a twisted rope design with embedded light beads here – there are five individual wires or conductors, each of which is encased in a clear cable jacket, that are then twisted together in a rope-like manner, resulting in a string that’s about 4mm thick. In addition, instead of the traditional LED bulbs and sockets that jut out from the string, Govee opted for tiny light beads – embedded throughout the length of the string are 100 square lamp beads (200 if you get the 20m version), resulting in an elegant and unique look that I found attractive. 

Govee Christmas String Lights on a small tree during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

More importantly, it means that you no longer have to deal with the bulb sockets snagging or getting caught on the string or each other. In fact, the whole thing is less likely to snag and much easier to untangle – though you still have to deal with the string occasionally twisting in some parts. Taking the string lights down and putting them away is also a breeze. The lights even come with a plastic reel so you can just neatly coil them up and store them.

A couple of important things to point out here is that because this Govee string light doesn’t have that traditional design, it comes with minor disadvantages. Since the light beads aren’t jutting out, they won’t give you a randomized light placement effect. When wrapped around a tree, these lights naturally follow the spiral arrangement of the string. I don’t mind it much personally. However, I know that a lot of people prefer the former so it’s worth pointing out. 

Another disadvantage is that because of the clear cable jackets used, these string lights won’t blend in, especially if you have a green tree. That means that they will be very noticeable and may affect the overall look you’re trying to achieve.

Govee Christmas String Lights on a small tree during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Most traditional string lights give you 250 light bulbs for a 20m version that’s best suited for 6-foot Christmas trees. So you might be disappointed that you’re not getting as many light bulbs on the Govee Christmas String Lights, but I honestly do not think you’ll notice the difference. Plus, I found the light beads to be incredibly bright and vibrant, with the clear cable jackets also helping reflect their light, even if it’s only less than a centimeter on either side of each light bead.

Govee Christmas String Lights on a small tree during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

There is a control box with a power button that doubles as a reset button when you hold it down for 5 seconds and a mounting tape in the box if you’re seeking a more permanent setup. These lights may be designed specifically for holiday decorating, they’re great for year-round use as well if you want to light up your porch, your bedroom, or your garden, for example. It’s an addition that can come in handy from time to time, but seeing as these are smart lights, there’s almost no need for it.

That is, apart from its built-in mic. This mic allows for the lights to react to ambient audio, which is fantastic for syncing them to whatever music or movie is playing through your speakers. It’s a fun feature that I use quite often.

Govee Christmas String Lights on a small tree during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Of course, the easy setup is not the only reason to get these lights. Just like the rest of the lights in Govee’s catalog, the Govee Christmas String Lights have the same functionalities as the best smart lights on the market including app and voice control, scheduling, and a slew of customization options. That adds to their ease of use even more. Think about it: no more having to bend down and unplug or manually switch off your Christmas lights when it’s time for bed; you can simply set it to turn on and off at specific times of the day or when your smart speaker detects a person’s presence in the room. Or just ask Alexa to do it.

What's more, Govee has mastered the smart home functions of its lights so whether you're using voice commands or the app to control these lights, you can rest assured that it'll respond accurately within a fraction of a second. 

Before you can take full advantage of their smart functions, you do have to connect it to the Govee app as well as your Alexa app. While that is one more step, doing so is easy as pie since the Govee app makes it so. Because the app immediately detects the lights as soon as you plug it in, all you need to do is follow the steps on the app. Once it’s connected to the app, the Alexa app will automatically detect the string lights as well and ask you whether or not you’d like to add it to your device list.

Govee Christmas String Lights on a small tree during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Not to play favorites here, but the Govee app is probably my favorite smart light app of all. It’s so easy to use while offering a slew of features, from the music sync I mentioned above and the long list of light scenes to letting you create your very own light scenes and color schemes. It’ll also let you set brightness, set up timers, and use the Music DreamView feature to sync the Govee Christmas String Lights’ lighting effects with all your other Govee smart lights for an even more immersive experience.

Because these are, first and foremost, Christmas lights, these have Christmas-themed light scenes that aren’t available on other Govee smart light sets. Among those scenes are Christmas Tree, Sled, Christmas Gift, Candy Cane, Christmas Eve, Santa Claus, and Christmas Gift. If none of these appeal to you or are a good match for your holiday decorations, however, I recommend taking the time to design your own via the app’s DIY module. 

Combining these customizations with its other smart home conveniences makes the Govee Christmas String Lights an incredibly versatile smart home device that takes your holiday decorating to a whole new level. Thanks to them, it’s finally time to retire your old, and at times infuriating, Christmas string lights and make your holiday decorating an even more enjoyable experience.

Govee Christmas String Lights: Price and availability

  • How much is it? From $59.99 / £59.99 (about AU$90) 
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where is it available? Available in the US and the UK 

The Govee Christmas String Lights are more expensive than traditional string lights, many of which you can find for under $20 / £20 / AU$35. However, next to other Christmas lights with smart home functionality, they’re the slightly more affordable option. Coming in two lengths, they will set you back $59.99 / £59.99 (about AU$90) for the 33 ft (10m) option that’s best for Christmas trees 4 feet (1.2 meters) and shorter, and $89.99 / £89.99 (about AU$135) for the longer 66 ft (20m) that’s ideal for trees 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8m).

In comparison, the 66-ft (20m) Nanoleaf Matter Smart Holiday String Lights retail for $119.99 / £119.99 (about AU$180) while the Philips Hue Festavia String Lights of the same length cost a hefty $219.99 / £109.99 (about AU$330).

The Govee Christmas String Lights are now available in the US and the UK. However, they’re not available in Australia at the time of writing.

  • Value: 4.5 / 5

Govee Christmas String Lights: Specs

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Here are the specs for the Govee Christmas String Lights
Govee Christmas String Lights
Designed for:Indoor and outdoor use
Connectivity:2.4GHz Wi-Fi + Bluetooth
Voice command compatibilityAlexa, Google Assistant
Lumen output:Not specified
Lifetime up to:Not specified
Light color:RGBIC
Wattage:15W
Dimensions:66 ft (20 m) / 33 ft (10 m)

Govee Christmas String Lights on a small tree during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Should I buy the Govee Christmas String Lights?

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Govee Christmas String Lights report card
ValueBeing the more affordable option, these smart Christmas lights are fantastic for economizing consumers looking to decorate for the holidays.4.5 / 5
DesignWith a unique clear twisted rope design with embedded light beads, these are not only attractive but also easier to handle.4.5 / 5
PerformanceIncredibly responsive to voice commands and app control, the light beads are also very bright and vibrant and capable of displaying over 16 million colors and a rainbow of lighting effects.5 / 5

Buy it if...

You want Christmas lights with smart home functionality

With its smart home functionality, the Govee Christmas String Lights offer the convenience of app control and voice commands. They can also be scheduled to turn on and off, customized to your color and light scene preferences, and set up routines.

You hate dealing with traditional string lights

Tired of dealing with traditional string lights in terms of setup and remembering to turn them on/off? These are so much easier to put up and manage daily.

You’re looking for highly customizable holiday lights 

Govee has an app that’s incredibly intricate so you can personalize the Govee Christmas String Lights to achieve the look you’re looking for. Not only that but Govee has a long list of light scene presets plus some special holiday ones to choose from if you don’t have time for customizations.

Don't buy it if... 

You prefer the look of traditional string lights

If you prefer the design of traditional string lights that look like the bulbs are randomly scattered all over your tree, you should go for the Nanoleaf or Philips option instead. The clear rope look on the Govee Christmas String Lights also means it won’t blend in.

You hate the idea of smart home devices

Not quite ready to jump on the smart home bandwagon just yet? I would skip these and go for traditional string or fairy lights instead.

Govee Christmas String Lights: Also consider

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Here are the specs for the Govee Christmas String Lights
Govee Christmas String LightsNanoleaf Matter Smart Holiday String LightsPhilips Hue Festavia String Lights
Price: From $59.99 / £59.99 (about AU$90)$119.99 / £119.99 (about AU$180)$219.99 / £109.99 (about AU$330)
Designed for:Indoor and outdoor use Indoor and outdoor use Indoor and outdoor use
Connectivity:2.4GHz Wi-Fi + Bluetooth Wi-Fi + BluetoothWi-Fi + Bluetooth
Voice command compatibilityAlexa, Google Assistant Apple Home, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThingsAlexa, Siri, and Google Assistant
Lumen output:Not specified 250 lumensNot specified
Lifetime up to:Not specified 10,000 hours15,000 hours
Light color:RGBICRGBNot specified
Wattage:15W18W14W
Dimensions:66 ft (20 m) / 33 ft (10 m)2 connected strings of 33 ft (10 m)65.62 ft (20 m)
Image

Nanoleaf Matter Smart Holiday String Lights
Robust and very customizable, these are more similar to traditional string lights in design and a better option if that's what you're looking for.

Image

Philips Hue Festavia String Lights
The priciest option, these also look more like traditional string light and are great if you're already invested in the Philips Hue ecosystem.

How I tested the Govee Christmas String Lights

  • I tested the Govee Christmas String Lights for a week
  • I used it on my little Christmas tree at home
  • I tested its performance and features using Alexa and the Govee app

While I don't have space in my apartment for even a four-foot Christmas tree, I did put up the Govee Christmas String Lights on the 1.5-foot tree that Govee had provided with the lights where it stayed during my week-long testing. During this period, I used the lights day and night to add a little holiday flair to my otherwise Christmas decoration-bare home. 

My testing included testing its smart home features, its response to voice commands and app control, and its ability to display the many light scenes available on the app. I also experimented with creating my own light effects and color schemes, making note of how accurately the lights would display them.

A big smart home fan, I've been a smart home user for a few years, with Philips Hue light bulbs being my very first smart home device. I've also been testing smart home devices, from smart lights and smart speakers to smart appliances like robot vacuums and heaters, since owning my first light bulbs.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

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First reviewed December 2023

Michelle Rae Uy
Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor

Michelle Rae Uy is the Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor here at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.