Govee AI Gaming Sync Box Kit Review: A Promising Future for RGB Lighting

  • 8 min read
  • May 06, 2023

 

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Govee has become a go-to source for smart and immersive lighting, and the AI Gaming Sync Box Kit drives home the company’s ambition for the industry. In its current form, the kit may seem limited, but at its root, I think it’s a wonderful proof of concept for the AI-driven future of RGB lighting.

I was never big into accent lighting until I was introduced to Govee with the Envisual TV Backlight T2. Since then, my home has become a veritable showroom for LED displays, with monitors, televisions, and desktops being adorned with some semblance of adjustable illumination. I thought Govee’s impressive degree of customization in its Govee Home app was about as good as it would get, then I had some hands-on time with the AI Gaming Sync Box Kit. It gave me an unexpected excitement for the future of RGB lighting in the gaming space.

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With everything included in the kit, you can create an immersive, AI-driven display while playing your favorite games. Unfortunately, as well as the kit works, I feel like I’m part of an early round of testing as there are constraints in terms of compatible titles. However, as with other Govee lights, the Govee Home app makes up for any limitations with a surprising amount of personalization and the freedom to create responsive AI effects.

Govee’s AI Gaming Sync Box Kit could have been a throwaway gimmick, suitable for a minuscule niche market of gamers. The intensity and accuracy of each component, though, are well beyond what I expected, and the DIY element puts you in full control of your Govee setup. We always hear the phrase “immersive gaming,” and Govee defines the real-world aspect of it well by making your immediate space part of the experience.

Here's What We Like

  • Very responsive and bright
  • Makes gameplay more dynamic
  • Easy to setup
  • A lot of customization

And What We Don't

  • Very expensive
  • Limited game library
  • Takes up a bit of desk space
  • Govee app can be tough to learn

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A Simple Setup, A Big Payoff

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The AI Gaming Sync Kit comes with a few more components than most Govee products, such as the box that makes the AI portion possible. Additional to the light strip, which is compatible with 27- to 34-inch monitors, the kit also comes with two standing light bars. It’s these two that really bring the display to life, casting a brilliant glow on whatever surface they’re turned toward.

Setup is a breeze, so long as you have a spare HDMI port on your PC. You’ll route one from the sync box to your primary monitor, then a second from your desktop or laptop to the sync box. The light strip and two bars all connect to the box, as well, creating a nice collection of five wires, including the power cable, to manage. I was able to tuck most of it behind my monitor, so there’s not a big unsightly mess.

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Once all plugs are in place, the sync box is your hub to turn the display on or off, so you want that as front and center as possible. Don’t worry, it illuminates as well and adds another element to the Govee aesthetic.

When everything’s powered on and set to a standard white, it can be quite harsh. However, that’s a testament to just how vibrant the light bars are. The light strip is more of a modest glow to accent the main attractions, which really come to life once you start making use of the system’s AI.

And here is where we get to both the AI Gaming Sync Box Kit’s strongest and weakest points. I love everything that the AI can do, and it really adds another layer to the gaming experience, but you really need to like playing “Overwatch 2,” “Valorant,” “Apex Legends,” and/or “League of Legends.”

Stellar but Limited Initial Support

  • Output: HDMI 2.0
  • Display Compatibility: 4k @ 60Hz, 2k @ 144Hz, 1080p @ 240Hz
  • Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
  • Control Methods: Govee Home App, Amazon Alexa, Google Home

The launch selection of compatible games is very small, which may render this kit useless for many. It’s a shame because what the AI kit does for those games is pretty spectacular, so it will be interesting to see how and when Govee expands the library. When I spoke to a representative at CES 2023 in Las Vegas, there was mention of more titles to come but no indication as to what’s on the docket.

Chaotic shooters and fast-paced competitive games are likely to be the target, so you should expect “Fortnite” and possibly even “Halo Infinite” to pop up at some point. There may even be room for games like “Dead by Daylight” and future releases like “Gears of War.”

It will be interesting to see how Govee integrates more titles and if much of the lighting schemes will carry over. For example, how many different ways can the two light bars signify that you’re healing? The green light filling up more of the bar as my character replenishes health seems like it would (and should) be the standard for most titles.

The Tech Behind the Magic

I was pleased with how responsive the AI is to the onscreen action and how fluid everything is while hooked up to the sync box. That’s due in part to the 1080p, 240Hz compatibility, which keeps things moving smoothly. If I need to heal, the moment I hit that button, the light bar responds to what’s happening on screen. When I die (and I do so frequently), my wall is painted in a vibrant red.

To test just how much the lights will detect, I turned on the “Sound Effects” feature, which causes the lighting to respond to sound cues. You’ll need to play with the sensitivity a bit because they pick up even the slightest of noises, and they can get pretty frantic when you’re firing off an assault rifle or machine gun.

The AI control box itself doesn’t look like much. In fact, you could easily mistake it for an HDMI switch, but it works wonders to bring this whole display together. That, of course, and the Govee Home App.

Govee Home App

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For so many smart home applications or lighting kits, the accompanying app is often the worst aspect of it. That doesn’t really change with Govee, though it’s more a matter of taking the time to understand its complexities than it being impractical or prone to malfunctioning.

Through Govee Home (available for iPhone/iPad and Android), you have full control over the sync kit, from turning on the “AI Identification” mode to setting a stagnant color scheme. There’s also a timer, a robust effects lab, and even the option to connect a room full of Govee lights to create a responsive movie-watching experience. The dynamic app has so many different features that it’s likely you won’t touch on at least one of them, especially since the focus here is the AI functionality.

That is actually the easiest feature to manage, as you simply turn it on and select the game you’re playing. You can edit the preset light responses, but Govee did a really good job assigning appropriate reactions. When you stray from the AI on the app, you can get a little lost, though the ample customization puts you in complete control of your lighting.

A Glimpse at the Future of Immersive RGB

It’s difficult not to get excited at the prospects presented by this AI-enabled unit. Once Govee secures more licenses (which, I assume, is part of the issue) and is able to implement many more games, the AI Gaming Sync Box Kit’s value is going to be unquestionable for those that appreciate RGB lighting.

I can imagine an integration with Twitch with an extension that allows players to control a streamer’s lighting or serve as an instant notification system for donations and messages. There are a number of possibilities that promise a bright future for the sync kit. Of course, it’s all speculation, and sometimes having a bright future is a major pitfall when the opportunity is overlooked.

I’m airing on the side of optimism for this one, though. Govee hasn’t let me down yet.

Make Your Whole Room Glow

With Govee, you’re able to create entire scenes with a number of its available LED lighting strips and kits. With the AI kit, I’m using the Govee RGBIC Neon Rope Light for Desks. It syncs directly with the AI Light Box Sync Kit and either mimics or complements the pattern while playing. If I had more lighting setups in my office, like the Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels, I could link them all together with Movie Watching DreamView through the Govee Home App.

The compatibility between Govee devices is a good sign for the brand’s future, especially since they link up easily and work well together. The light bars, the monitor strip, and the RGBIC desk strip all respond in unison to really brighten up my space.

My biggest gripe with this interconnectivity is that Govee products aren’t super cheap. The setup I’m working with would cost just under $400. Unfortunately, if you’re a gamer into accent lighting, it’s easy to be allured by Govee’s lineup.


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Govee RGBIC Gaming Lights for Gaming Desks

Easily add immersive RGB lighting to your desk.

Should You Buy the Govee AI Gaming Sync Box Kit?

First, you have to ask yourself how much you like “Overwatch 2,” “Valorant,” “Apex Legends,” and “League of Legends.” If the answer is “not at all,” the Govee AI Gaming Sync Box Kit may not be the best choice for you right now. For its high price tag, you will get a very cool lighting display, but you won’t be able to use the core feature—its AI.

If you do enjoy playing those games, then you’re more in line with who Govee is targeting. The lights are vibrant and responsive, and if you’ve ever wanted to have more of a visual aid accompanying the action unfolding on screen, the kit is worth having. Seeing my health fill in real time on my desktop is such a cool touch, and it very much appeals to the side of me that enjoys small details.

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I’ll admit, it didn’t take long for me to grow tired of seeing red illuminate my office, but that’s a skill issue and has nothing to do with the AI light kit. However, if I did want to change it up and make the “defeated” light yellow, the Govee Home App gives the option. There may just be a learning curve until you figure out how to customize the lights for each compatible in-game action.

Govee’s AI Gaming Sync Box Kit is for such a specific audience, but that audience is going to eat it up if they can get past the price. I did not expect the AI or even the sound sensors to be as responsive as they are, to the point where even as I type this review, the warm white light of the two standard bars flickers with each key click.

As it stands, the AI Gaming Sync Box Kit is a very fun gadget that feels like it’s in some sort of beta. Once Govee fleshes out that compatibility list, it will feel more like a finished product for a broader audience.

Rating: 9/10
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  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana

 

Price: $255

Here’s What We Like

  • Very responsive and bright
  • Makes gameplay more dynamic
  • Easy to setup
  • A lot of customization

And What We Don't

  • Very expensive
  • Limited game library
  • Takes up a bit of desk space
  • Govee app can be tough to learn

Original Article