You can choose for the lamp to follow the natural sunrise and sunset times based on your location, which in most of the world changes a little day by day. Or you can set custom times in the app. I didn’t want the lamp’s sunset to begin at 7:30 pm every day, so I set my sunset to 9:30 pm. As night fell each day, the lamp would slowly reduce its blue light, just as a normal sunset does. It signals your body to start winding down and readying for sleep.
You can also set how gradually the lights fade in and out, respectively—up to an hour—and the brightness and temperature of the light. The lamp can be connected to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant if you’d like to integrate it into your smart home, but it isn’t required.
I did have some issues. Sometimes the light routine got stuck when I plugged in the lamp or turned it on, and I had to toggle one of the four “schedule override” settings on and off to get the lamp to enter its preprogrammed routine. These overrides let you set the light for a specific task, including sleeping, reading, relaxing, and working.
Using it outside your bedroom is also odd. Assuming you don’t live in a dorm room or a studio apartment, you’ll have to carry the Skyview 2 into your bedroom each night and plug it into a wall so that the sunrise function wakes you up in the morning. It won’t do you any good if it’s going through its sunrise routine in some other part of the house where you’re not sleeping. But then you’ll have to pick it up and move it into another room—an office, the living room, or wherever you spend much of your day—to benefit from its all-day light-shifting pattern and sunset routine. If you find yourself annoyed or slowed down by small tasks like that, it’s something to keep in mind.
The lamp itself is built well. The wide, metal base prevents it from tipping over from anything less than a good whack, and the light enclosure is so thick you could probably knock down bowling pins with it. The lens is frosted enough that I could look right at it without blinding myself. It also stayed cool to the touch, no matter how long it’d been on 100 percent brightness.
So, Did It Light Up My Life?
I enjoyed the effect throughout the day. It’s difficult to say whether I’m experiencing a placebo effect or the light really is helping, but emotionally, it was nice to have a bit of light variety throughout my day between sunup and sundown.
Cooping yourself up indoors all day under the same flavor of unchanging light from dawn to dusk is weird and unnatural. For folks in a room without a window, the Skyview 2 could be a godsend.
But at $449, it’s a pricey godsend. A Philips Hue A19 White Ambiance Smart Light Bulb costs $26 and you can screw it into any lamp and program it via the intuitive Hue app to mimic sunrise routines, sunset routines, and the shifting light throughout the day. And you can buy more than one of them. For this sort of money, the Skyview 2 should do more. For example, if it were bright enough to negate the need for other lamps in my living room, then I’d have a slightly easier time justifying the price.
You pay a premium for the Skyview 2. Does it work? Yes. You can create a similar effect with smart bulbs. But for a plug-and-go solution, it sure was a novel way of pretending that I lived in a bright and sunny apartment, if only until my time with the Skyview 2 came to an end.