When it comes to intelligent, interconnected lighting solutions, the Philips have established themselves as one of the benchmarks of smart lighting with the Hue system of lights and accessories.
Enabling the user to control color, timing, and intensity of lighting through an accompanying app on a smartphone or tablet, Hue is looking to revolutionize the way we use and think about light within our homes.
One of the major draws of the Philips Hue range of products is the compatibility they offer with a whole host of other home control devices such as Amazon Echo and Samsung SmartThings, allowing for an interconnected experience and a more complete smart home experience.
So at the most basic level, Philips Hue allows you to bring some pretty neat features into your home lighting environment – from unwinding in the evening or hosting that killer party, to setting the scene for a romantic dinner date – all from the convenience of your smartphone or tablet app.
There are also a ton of IFTTT recipes which can be set up to play ball with the Hue family, for example blinking the lights to let you know when you’ve received an email.
What we particularly love on this front is the fact that Philips has made the Hue system so friendly to integration with other systems, meaning this kind of functionality open to a whole load of future developments as your smart home scene expands.
In terms of getting started, the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Bulb Starter Kit is an excellent entry point for setting up your new smart lighting rig, coming complete with three LED smart bulbs as well as the Hue Bridge – a hub that connects directly to your router, and acting as the intermediary between your WiFi enabled smartphone and the Hue bulbs which utilize ZigBee.
The hub ultimately forms the center of your Hue setup and this of course means physically connecting the box somewhere in your house. This is a requirement not shared by other smart lighting solutions such as LIFX (which is purely WiFi based) or iLumi bulbs (which operate using Bluetooth).
Both of these alternative options come at a slightly higher ‘per-bulb’ price tag than the Hue however, so there’s ultimately a bit of a trade-off to be made between price point and functionality.
Setting up Hue is a simple affair once the Bridge is connected to your router and your first bulbs are installed – just install the free iOS or Android app onto your phone, sync the app with your setup and you’re good to go.
The Hue app itself is relatively intuitive, providing a selection of preset white and yellow lighting options for your more everyday situations while also offering what Philips refers to as ‘recipes’ for specific color tone choices.
If you’re not particularly taken with any of the available presets, don’t worry, you’ll have 16 million colors available to choose from.Learn more about Philips Hue here