Thanks to my brother-in-law who works in Philips, I received a Hue 3-bulb smart lighting kit for review. After he saw my review on the TP-Link Wi-Fi Bulb, he wanted me to share my opinions on them.
Philips are the veterans when it comes to lighting solutions. The Hue Connected Bulb series have improved over several generations, but this is the first time I am trying them, partly because of price, something Philips stands by to differentiate from the entry-level competitors.
Instead of going into the technical details and listing down the features, I will just give a quick overview of how this product is different from other smart bulbs.
Philips smart bulbs require an additional device to control all the bulbs. Many other brands do not require this, and rely on apps to control the lights. But as I find out, the bridge makes connectivity and control across bulbs faster. The Bridge is also the brains to support hundreds of third party apps, including smart home systems like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home.
Multiple Bulbs Effect
There are many inexpensive smart bulbs that lets you control over home network, but Philips Hue A19 does much more. Its selling point is putting all the bulbs in a single room to create a “scene” featuring multiple colour tones coming from each bulb. This caught me by surprise when setting up the bulb as I thought the bulbs are for different rooms. I wonder why the bulbs need to be so bright – up to 800 lumens – if they are to be used in the same room.
But as I found out, the brightness is quite low for other hues like blue and red, which are the essential colours for creating unique scenes like Savana Sunset, Tropical Twilight, Arctic Aurora. It is quite a feeling to have these bulbs conjure positive moods, which reminds me of my June staycation at Hotel W Singapore Sentosa Cove.
Third Party Apps Support
When you pay for Philips Hue, you pay for the ecosystem of products, apps and capabilities. The Philips Hue app can let you group the lights based on rooms, set actions and timer to manage the lights. For instance, it turns on the lights when I return home, and turns off when I leave.
With third party apps, mostly requiring purchase, you can sync the lights with music and videos, or create mood effects like thunderstorm. I tried “All 4 Hue” app which offers free limited features. I particularly love the ability to trigger light actions based on smartphone events. For instance, the selected lights flash if I receive incoming messages or calls. This is a brilliant non-intrusive way to notify me without turning up the ringtone.
Philips Hue lights can be controlled with other physical products like motion sensor and light switches which all talk to the Hue Bridge. This allows access of the wireless lights instead of opening the smartphone apps, though voice-activated systems like Google Now or Apple HomeKit makes control a lot easier.
After trying out Philips Hue, I realised that smart lights are more than just remote activation of lights. It has many other capabilities left to the imagination and creativity of the individual. This starter kit is a teaser of things to come, provided you are keen to embark in the road to connected home automation. Retails at S$289, available at Philips authorised resellers and Lazada.