Yes, you can control the most recent Philips Hue smart bulbs with just your smartphone…
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The most flexible and powerful lighting system, Philips Hue may be the smart replacement your house has been looking forward to.
Top quality white, temperature changing and colour lightbulbs
Outstanding ecosystem of apps
Large selection of add-on lights
IFTTT recipe support
Plastic remote controls
Can’t save colours or temperatures easily
Review Price: £49.00
Warm white, temperature changing and RGB bulbs
IFTTT, HomeKit, Amazon Echo and Google Home support
Android and iOS apps
Bayonet, screw and GU10 fittings
What’s the Philips Hue?
If there’s one name that synonymous with smart lighting, it must be Philips Hue. Using its colour-changing bulbs and iphone app control, Hue was the first product to essentially show what could possibly be finished with smart lighting. As times have changed, so has Hue. The machine now supports Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings, and it has its selection of switches and motion sensors, too.
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The effect is that the Philips Hue system is currently extremely powerful and flexible. It doesn’t have problems with the same limitations as its competition either, namely having less control options: in case you have a guest, you don’t want to inform them that there’s no light switch plus they need to use an iphone app or their voice? Most of these additions make it an outstanding time to revisit our review, with updated information, like the latest addition, Philips Hue Zones, which enable you to control sets of lights, either in the same room or across different rooms, say turning on all lights upstairs. It’s an addition which makes Hue better to control.
Philips Hue – Design and build
As with a whole lot of smart lighting systems, Philips Hue has generated the dimming capability and intelligence into its selection of bulbs. While this makes the bulbs just a little heavier than dumb LED models, you can still fit Hue bulbs into regular light fittings. This implies no wiring and the lights will be ready to be used anytime, provided you be sure you leave the physical light switch fired up. Be cautious, as Hue isn’t appropriate for dimmers, so you’ll have to switch these out for standard on/off light switches.
Philips has the most suitable choice of lights out of any system, with GU10, E27, E14 and bayonet fittings available. There are three colour options for every, too. Cheapest will be the White bulbs (from around £15), which are warm white models and so are dimmable only.
The next phase up will be the White Ambiance bulbs (from around £25), that may have their colour temperature changed from 2200 to 4000K (warm to cold). I really like these bulbs, with them at my desk to supply bright light throughout the day to greatly help me concentrate, and a warmer more relaxing light during the night.
Finally, top quality may be the White and Colour Ambience (from around £50). These bulbs can do everything the other kinds can, but also offers you a selection of 16m colours.
It doesn’t end there, with Philips also selling the flexible and expandable LED Lightstrip Plus. You can stick this around your furniture, providing you a selection of 16m colours. I’ve got one around my desk, with the strip giving off a delicate glow that helps me work; and it looks pretty cool, too. Additionally, there are a variety of lamps from which to choose, too, which simply plug right into a mains socket, although you need to use the brand new Philips Hue Smart Plug to regulate a dumb lamp.
Most Hue lights don’t look excellent, but there’s a fresh selection of Filament bulbs, which are made to look like a vintage fashioned bulb. They look fantastic when switched off, and are particularly suitable for installation where you have fancy light fittings where in fact the bulb is an integral portion of the look.
When fired up, you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference between these and a genuine vintage bulb. All the bulbs certainly are a warm white (2100K) and provide dimming only capability, making them less flexible compared to the Hue Colour bulbs. Ultimately, it’ll come down to the decision: would you like fancy lights or would you like good-looking bulbs? There are three Filament bulbs to decide on in various shapes, obtainable in E27 and B22 fittings.
Until recently, all Hue bulbs were Zigbee only. Making that system work takes a Philips Hue Bridge and at least one bulb. That is why, you could be better off investing in a starter kit. These begin from £59 for a set filled with a Bridge and two White lights, but you’ll pay more if you wish the temperature or colour changing bulbs or a kit that is included with a light switch. Be sure you choose the newer square Bridge, as this is actually the latest model that’s appropriate for HomeKit; the older circular Bridge isn’t.
However, recent bulbs are actually Bluetooth compatible, too. Allowing you control up to 10 bulbs directly from your own phone using the Hue Bluetooth app, or even to hook up the bulbs right to a Google Assistant smart speaker or Amazon Echo. You don’t quite get the entire selection of features and you can’t use the accessories in Bluetooth mode, therefore i recommend investing in a Bridge.
Philips has done a high job with the Hue system. Each of the lights are rigidly constructed and also have that real feeling of quality that I’d expect from a high-end lighting system.
Philips Hue – Features, App and control
With a fresh system, the initial step is to create the Hue Bridge, which just plugs into your house network via an Ethernet cable. Once connected, just turn up the Hue iphone app (Android or iOS) and follow the on-screen instructions to discover your Bridge. Once connected, you can include your bulbs, again by following simple instructions. Added lights could be ordered into rooms, which also become groups: you can change all lights on or off in a single location quickly, for instance.
At this stage, you can learn to control Hue using the software alone. Philips spent some time working hard to improve its app, so that it is faster and better to use than when the machine launched. Now on version 3.0, the iphone app has been tweaked and updated, so that it is better to use. At its simplest, the software enables you to turn lights on or off, or utilize the slider to create the dim level. It’s a remarkably responsive system, with the lights changing settings near-instantly.
So far, so excellent, but for each and every light, you may also dive in and change more complex settings, including using the color picker to improve colour or temperature. By default, the Hue software groups all lights in an area, in order to change all of them to the same colour or temperature. But, you can tap an organization and drag individual lights out, controlling them individually or creating sub-groups. That way, it’s simple to get your lights working how you want them. For instance, you really should