Coloured lights are a great way to immediately spruce up any room—an easy splash of colour to match any situation. Controllable RGB lighting goes a step further by allowing the look of those lights to be immediately changed, and reactive lights do one better again by changing on the fly to what's around them. When it comes to PC gaming, a kicking RGB setup is like the bright and tasty cherry on top. For some, an unwanted distraction. Others a nice touch of flair. And for some of us, the secret reason we really ordered the sundae in the first place.
Reactive RGB lights are some of the coolest when it comes to gaming and entertainment setups. Having them set up behind a screen allows you to paint rooms with the colours of the current scene, helping to immerse you in a piece of the environment. It's a great addition to the experience, but it can also be a very expensive one. A lot of the better known brands charge an arm and a leg for their RGB services, but there are much cheaper offerings on the market.
Govee is one such brand offering more budget friendly options for RGB lighting setups. Many of their offerings include those made specifically for gaming or TV—the kind that go around the back of a screen and are specifically designed to react with on-screen content.
One of these setups is the Govee DreamView G1 Pro gaming light, that comes with an LED light strip for the back of a monitor, as well as two tall side lights, and the camera and control unit. This is all in a pack for $180 (but it's currently on sale for $160). That's a complete back of monitor desk setup that works entirely independently at a pretty decent price.
Lighting: Controllable RGB
Screen mirroring: Yes, with camera
Sound response: Yes, with 3.5mm
Accessories: Two light stands, one RGB strip for back panel of monitor
The first point of note is that while it isn't difficult to set these lights up on a monitor, you will need to do some checks first. These lights only work with flat back panels which is stated on the Govee website. I was surprised by how many monitor screens I have that these would not be compatible with due to the back portions not really allowing the light mounts to work. The flat backed panel that I did have worked easily, but it would have been a complete non-starter for about half the monitors in my house.
Once installed some calibration is required that has to be done through the Govee smartphone app for iPhone or Android then connecting to the lights by Bluetooth. Again, it's a fairly easy process, but given these are likely to be used with PCs, the lack of a desktop app is a little disappointing. There are extra calibration options in the app like white balance and saturation, which you're also definitely going to need to play with.
This is because the way the Govee lights work is by using a camera mounted on top of your screen. Because it's gathering the data via a visual sensor, that means there are bound to be problems. Different screens show light a little differently on some angles and it's impossible to really get the colours dialled in to perfection. The lights are also just staggeringly bright, which is excellent, but may also need to be turned down which can also be done in the app.
On my screen I struggle to have the lights not see black, or most dark colours, as red. I've played with the white balance and saturation to try to mitigate this but it's still not completely fixed and now everything else is a bit too blue. It's less noticeable on bold colour changes but still can occasionally make a huge difference. Sometimes transitions between colours can also be stuttery, as it feels like the camera catches up. For general vibes and nice bright colours it's perfectly fine, but in a budget device like this you won't be getting perfect colour replication.
But the camera setup also has some good sides. There are a surprising amount of apps that block screen reading software, often including things like Netflix and some games which can make them periodically not work with some programs. Plus a camera pointing at a screen allows you to use this with anything playing, that includes consoles that may not be otherwise compatible. Other RGB lighting products may get around this with expensive pass-through boxes, but a camera pointed at a screen isn't a half bad solution either.
Overall the effect is really quite good, though certainly not as nice as more expensive offerings, but I don't really think that matters. The colours can be a bit off sometimes but for the most part they're still adding a really cool cyberpunk glow that matches your experience, well, close enough. They can easily light a room, and the two light stands can be positioned nice and fair apart to help you do that. The downside is you do end up with quite a few cables that can be difficult to manage.
Still, it's a very complete, if slightly budget, setup that does a lot to enhance a gaming room, and you don't really notice the cheap feel unless you're really looking for it.