Laser-focused on delivering the best smart lighting system on the market, Philips Hue has made a concerted effort to usher in a new epoch of all-singing all-dancing light bulbs for your home. And they’re not messing about - you can literally overhaul your entire lighting system, operate it with your voice and alternate the colour of lights in ways you would never imagine. Life will never be the same again!
If you want to keep the cost down, the basic Hue White LED bulb shines with warm white light but the colour temperature is to adjustable. For ambient settings, the Ambiance range is much more exciting.
The Philips Hue White and Colour Ambiance bulbs have a 16 million colour span with brightness levels ranging from 2200k to 6500 - or in layman’s terms, twilight to natural daylight. You also have the option of 80-inch (and 40-inch extensions) flexible smart lightstrips for mounting round household objects such as picture frames and mirrors.
For fans of unique designs, the Philips Hue filament bulbs perform all the lighting functions as the Ambiance but have a cool design feature - you can see the filament which gives your home an antiquated Edison-esque feel.
If you’ve got a garden, the outdoor-ready PAR38 bulbs serve as awesome floodlights.
To set up your Philips Hue lighting system, you need to invest in the starter kit and install at least one bulb. The starter kit comes with the Philips Hue Bridge, the brains of the Philips Hue ecosystem. You can connect up to 50 lights and accessories from the hub.
Having to invest in the hub does bump up the cost to £59 (for V.3) and individual bulbs are prices £14.99 to £24.99 from Argos. Needless to say, the Philips Hue is the most costly smart lighting system on the market but it is also the most complete.
Set up is fairly easy but not as simple as the plug ’n’ play WiFi-enabled smart bulbs. The first thing to do is plug in the Hue Bridge hub. Straight-forward enough. Then you download the app. No problem. Next, wait until the app discovers your bulbs then assign the bulbs to rooms using the app.
Once setup is complete, you can get started creating a myriad of light settings, both with individual bulbs or groups of bulbs. You can time settings to turn on and off when you leave the house and return home, create moods such as energise, relax, morning lights and customise shades, create your own scenes by altering the brightness or colour from one light to the next, or use the hub’s choice of factory settings. And more. The choice of light settings is seamlessly endless. If you want party lights, you can even have party lights.
The Philips Hue is clearly the smartest bulb in the room but its also the most expensive. If you want a smart lighting system that easily beats the rest for robustness and completeness, the Philips Hue starter kit comes with more bells and whistles that you can imagine. You can also get hub-free Bluetooth versions.
On the other hand, if you can’t justify the hefty Philips Hue price tag, there are other smart bulbs that will perform many of the functions Philips Hue. Yeelight smart bulbs have as many colours but for half the price.