Product review: Dyson Lightcycle Morph

A new light offering from Dyson is always worth getting out of bed for . . . or so we hope. We sent Chris Fordham along to cast his eye over this new tasklight. Chris offers his critique . . .

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I was chuffed when the editor, John Bullock, knowing my childlike love for products with beauty and innovation at their heart, asked me to check out a new desk light from Dyson.
Well whatever I have done to irritate you, John, I apologise profusely. I won’t do it again; I promise.

I absolutely love a well-designed desk light. A desk or table light can really transform a space. Almost any lamp can be used for simple task lighting. A well-designed light, those that stand out from the crowd, can do the practical stuff at the same time as contributing to the interior of your room, the very best examples of which are timeless.

Just as an example, take the AJ table, designed in the 60s’ by Arne Jacobsen. As popular today (perhaps even more so as it has aged), the product has a blend of functionality and visual comfort with a pleasing aesthetic.

Louis Poulsen Arne AJ Table Koebenhavns Universitet

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Or, as perhaps a more direct comparison to Dysons Lightcycle MorphTM, the 1971 Tizio Table Lamp from Artemide and Milan-based, German designer Richard Sapper. The luminaire can be set in any position, with balance ensured by a system of counterweights. This product was designed almost 50 years ago and became an instant design classic. Its form is revolutionary, minimalist and sleek; an icon of high-tech design in its day

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Fast forward from the icons of the past and here we are. So what is this ‘Lightcycle MorphTM’ desklight all about? The product is technically advanced, well-engineered and integrates an innovative passive cooling system for the LED light source that maintains its life (this is all starting to sound like an advert for the latest German sports car) .  

As with Dyson’s previous lighting product, the Lightcycle, the Lightcycle MorphTM gives users the ability to personalise their local lighting. The light produced can be made specific to the user’s age and geographical location, automatically adjusting intensity and colour temperature through the inevitable mobile app, or manually from the touch-sensitive controls which, In truth, are a little too small for comfort. The app is far more convenient. In addition, a motion sensor allows you to program the light to automatically turn off and on as you leave or return to your workspace.

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Alongside the lighting technology one of the main selling points, trumpeted by the product’s marketing department, is its multi-segmented arm, which means this product is super-flexible for aiming; the arm is also designed to magnetically locate the head onto its vertical stand, thereby creating a diffused glow for ambient lighting, a nice design touch.

And so; the Dyson Lightcycle MorphTM desk light. Honestly, my first impression, before even reading about the functionality, was that it looked like a bit of scaffold pipe, or one of those wooden rattles they used to use at football matches back in the 1960’s (ed.note: Ah, happy days!). If Henry Dreyfuss and Raymond Loewy were around, they would have had a mammoth job to restyle it. It’s just so damned ugly and it makes me angry that so little attention has been given to this basic element. What were Dyson thinking?

The whole idea around the concept of biodynamic lighting requires a multiplicity of products and usage; could you seriously imagine having these everywhere in your home? The fact it can adjust to lighting requirements at different locations in the country or world is a purposeless gimmick, and setting your individual light settings by age is great if you are alone in an empty space, but how would this work with more than one person in any room? Or more than one person using the light?

The marketing round this product is slick, obviously well-funded and thought-through and the technology is impressive. But how many better products are out there without the large price tag (retailing from £499.99)?

If you want control over colour temperature and intensity, my humble advice is to invest your money in some smart lamps like Philips Hue. These will give you all the functionality of the Lightcycle MorphTM, but at a fraction of the cost. With the money saved you can buy some quality desk lights that add something of beauty to your space and, moreover, can stand the design-style test of time.

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And, finally . . .

Editor’s note: altogether too hot-spotty for a desk light – if you ask me!
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