Philips were one of the first big companies to come out with their series of connected lights. Currently in their third generation, there’s more reason than ever to have smart lights in your house.
They currently sell three types of lightbulbs, the White, the White Ambiance and the White and Color Ambiance. All three products have smart control (including control via the internet), schedules and dimming. The Ambiance adds their ambiance, wake-up and well-being functions. Color obviously provides more than just white light, but also allows you to sync the lighting with music or movies.
The Hue products are based on the ZigBee LightLink protocol. The best Hue setup makes use of a central controller (also referred to as a hub or bridge) that connects to your Wi-Fi. You can then connect up to 50 Hue lightbulbs to the bridge and then use a cellphone app to control the lightbulbs. The Philips Hue system requires no additional wiring as the light bulb itself has the necessary wireless communication built in. The bulbs have a range of about 30′ – 50′, but each one works as a range extender, meaning you can control lights 300′ away from the hub as long as you have enough bulbs in between.
Besides the Philips Hue App, Philips offers one of the widest integrations, allowing you to control your lights in tandem with the following systems:
- Philips specific Apps and hardware (such as dimmer)
- Amazon Alexa
- Apple Homekit, including Siri
- Google Home with the Google Assistant (including OnHub)
- Logitech Harmony
- Samsung SmartThings
They do also offer some stand-alone products such as the Philips Hue Wireless Dimming Kit which supports up to 10 lights and does not require a bridge. The lights can be included into a hub setup at a later stage should you choose to upgrade.
Besides the different bulb products, Philips also offer the full spectrum of bulb forms, even selling compatible lightstrips.
Pretty much all the Philips products have a 4-star or higher rating from customer reviews. Where people have complained and given it a lower rating it is mainly due to connectivity and setup issues. It’s hard to diagnose these from customer reviews, but trying to get your hub to connect to Wi-Fi; your phone to install the app; the bulbs to connect to the hub; your app to connect to your hub; your app to integrate with Alexa; it can be a strenuous setup with lots of place for error. You should take solace in the fact that it’s a quality product from a good name, with support that wants you to get it working.