Introduction, Specifications, Pricing & Availability
I remember hearing about the Philips Hue lighting system when it was first announced, and then again, when it was first released. I did not pay much attention to it as I remember it being an exclusive to iOS, as Philips had not made an Android application. At least that is what I remember from when it launched. It has been a while since then, so when I was over at a friend's house and he turned it on. I was instantly convinced.
As soon as he switched it on, the room transformed. It went from a normal living area to something I had not seen before. A complete personalization of his living room from his iPhone. Yep, I had to have one.
As soon as they were powered on, he began tweaking them, leaving me to my amazement. But it wasn't until my own kit arrived that I was truly blown away. Being able to personalize the lighting of your room from your smartphone is something I did not think I would need, but it wasn't until the Philips Hue system was enabled in my room that I was in love. Before we get into just how amazing I think the Philips Hue lighting system is, let's run through the usual specifications, pricing and availability.
The light bulbs themselves are normal E27 format, which means they will screw right into most current light fittings, but with my house having specific down lights, I had to go out and buy some lamps. I actually preferred the idea of having lamps, as I was able to place the Philips Hue lights wherever I wanted in my office.
Pricing & Availability
The Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting starter pack is available on Amazon right now for $199.95, with Prime availability, too. It's available right now for order, and should be available from select electronics retailers close to you. Double-check this obviously, as not all electronic retailers stock the Philips Hue systems.
PRICING: You can find the Philips Hue wireless LED Bulb [3 pack] for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Philips Hue wireless LED Bulb [3 pack] retails for $319.51 at Amazon.
Box Contents & Setup and Software
Philips package the Hue Personal Wireless Lighting system in a great looking box, which has a palette of colors to tease you with, thanks to a wheel on the right that goes through the various colors that the Hue system is capable of.
Here we have the front of the Hue box.
There's not much going on in the back, but we do see that it's compatible with the iPhone, and that it comes with three Hue Lamps.
Opening up the box, we can see on the left the color wheel and to the right the three Hue Lamps and the Bridge system.
On the top and bottom of the box, we have a look at what you get in the box.
Here we have the Bridge, which you're going to need to plug into your home network and then connect to it over Wi-Fi. The button in the middle will need to be pressed to sync it to your various Hue apps.
One of the Philips Hue Lamps out of the box.
The Hue Bridge, which requires power to the left, and an Ethernet cable to the right - both included in the box.
Setup & Software
Setting the Philips Hue system is easy, as you download the Philips Hue application (or many others available on the Google Play Store and iTunes Store), connect to your Bridge, and voila - personal lighting at your fingertips.
The setup procedure on the Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting system is incredibly simple and straight forward, as it takes less than 30 seconds to get it setup. Plug all of the lights in, download and then open up the Hue app, connect to your lights, which you're then prompted to press a button on the Philips Hue Bridge, and that's it. You're done.
Once you've connected to your Bridge, you get some serious personalization options. Let's take a look at the Hue app right now.
This is the opening screen, where you can select 'scenes' such as Sunset, Relax, Concentrate, Feet up or more. It doesn't sound like much, but when the entire room you're in changes with morphing light to these 'scenes' it changes the entire mood of the room.
You've got some options to play with, where you can select Scenes, connect to specific Lights, set Alarms & Timers, and more.
Connecting to specific lights is super useful, as you can change the brightness of an individual Hue Lamp, or turn them all on and off directly from the application.
Here you can set certain alarms and timers, where you can have the Hue Lamps turning on and off at certain times.
Once you start playing with the 'scenes' you won't stop - once you do tap a mood, where we've tapped Concentrate, it will instantly flick the Hue Lamps over to that mood. You can adjust the brightness of the Hue Lamps with this handy slider.
Lighting Up Your Life & Other Hue Apps
Lighting Up Your Life
Coming into this review, I didn't expect to have these feelings, but the Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting system has become a part of my everyday life. I have personalized times so that at 9AM I get the "concentration" scene, 11:30 enables "energize" and then at 7PM each night it goes into a "Deep Sea" scene. The ocean scene has all three lights going blue, which feels incredible when playing Battlefield 4 at night. At 11:45PM, I have all of the Hue Lamps turning off.
If I need some light at night when I'm working late, like I have been doing a lot of lately, I use another application called 'Hue Pro' which has a different set of presets, where I enable 'Deep Sea' which has two of the Hue Lamps going red, while the other turns blue. I find this is perfect for the darkness in my office, providing enough ambient light for me to see everything in my room clearly.
Here's a few snaps of my test bed from I was reviewing the Galaxy GeForce GTX 960 EXOC.
And again, this time with the beautiful InWin S-Frame chassis.
Other Hue Apps
The Hue system is very open, so there are countless apps that you can download and play with. The one that I found myself using the most was the Hue Pro app, which is very similar to the stock Hue app. Below, we'll have a look at the Hue Pro application and it's various features.
The Hue Pro looks better than the stock Hue application, where you can see each of the colors of the individual Hue Lamps before you enable the Preset.
In the Bulbs & Groups menu, you can turn the individual Hue Lamps off, or have them put into a group.
To the right of that we have Schedules, which I explained before. This is my personal setup.
At the bottom of the app, you can see that we have an option for a "Lava Lamp". Tapping this will have your Hue Lamps flowing through different colors, creating a very different experience than the stationary colors.
To the right, you can see there's a music option. Enabling this allows your Hue Lamps to morph to the feeling or sound of your music. This is an incredibly cool option for when you've got some friends over and want to create a totally unique look.
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
Totally Unique: The Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting system is one of, if not the most unique product I've ever used. It not only makes light personal, but it makes it enter the connected generation. I was able to go to sleep at night and turn the lights off in my office from the comfort of my bed.
Next-Gen Ambiance: The mood that the Philips Hue lights create for you is unparalleled. When I test AMD Radeon cards, I turn on the Hue lights to red. Testing NVIDIA GeForce cards? Green lights, thanks Hue.
App Selection: The application that Philips has is good enough, but the third-party apps are chock full of different options to play with. That's when things get really fun, is when you play with the various applications that are available for the Hue.
Expensive: Let's face it: $199 isn't cheap, especially when you only get three bulbs. If Philips were to bundle five Hue Lamps, it would be a better pill to swallow. However, once you have got them out of the box and used them for a few days, you come to really love it and that price fades into memory.
Here I am at the end of the review of the Philips Hue system, a product I didn't think would become such an integral part of my office. Not just my office, but also my lifestyle. I am now itching to buy more Hue bulbs to install throughout my house.
Ideally, I'd like to have them in most of my rooms. I have three of them in my office now, but I think another three would be better. Another 5-6 throughout my living area and dining room, 2-3 in my main bedroom and a couple in my daughter's bedroom. The option of controlling all of these lights in their own groups from within the apps is also another piece of that puzzle, as I can have them all on schedules, on top of having the ability to turn them on and off at a whim from my smartphone.
The Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting system is something that you will not regret purchasing, even if you were the type of person who thought they would never get such a kick out of purchasing lights. The Philips Hue system is just such a great product, it deserves your attention.
|Quality including Design and Build||95%|
|Bundle and Packaging||95%|
|Value for Money||90%|
The Bottom Line: If you're in the market to change the feel of your room, or multiple rooms, the Philips Hue is something you simply need to buy. It's a purchase you will not regret.
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