Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
Good System which works well but check compatibility and you NEED a router.
on 29 October 2015
Great Product must you must be aware of a few things.
Love the product and the way it works with the apps
Be Aware of the following:
1) You MUST connect this to you internet router for it to work. I discovered this by accident and just thought you plugged them in and used an App but this is not the case. Although this is not usually a problem I purchased these to use at a party and then was going to use them at home. This means I need to take a wireless router (no internet connection required) to the venue. App connects to your wireless network which is cabled to the Hue Bridge and that connects to the lights. - Philips don't seem to mention this on their website. - There website say "To control Philips Hue bloom, you need to have a Philips Hue bridge and install the Philips Hue app on your smart device. This way, you can enjoy the full connected experience. There are two ways to get a Philips Hue bridge. (1) You can get a starter kit that includes light bulbs and a bridge. (2) You can get a separate bridge and build your own Philips Hue system around it."
2) Friends of Hue replaces Living Colour system which is similar except you have a round remote which doesn't need the bridge and can be used separately. Apparently this can be connected to the Friends of Hue bridge by connecting the light to the remote and then to the bridge. There is also an older system I believe with the same name but doesn't have a round remote, this may or may not work although it is a few years old now and may not be on sale via Amazon.
3) If you buy two kits and have two bridges and want to use all the lights on one bridge I think you have to "un-pair" the lights from the second bridge. There is a lot about this on the web.
4) Philips explanation of this system via their website is appalling and I imagine many people have assumed that all the equipment is compatible (much of it maybe). Their naming of products is at the very best confusing.
5) The wires are hard wired into the lamp so threading a small cable through a hole in furniture or a desk is impossible. Unlike a mobile phone where you can unplug the phone these units do not allow this (old ones I believe did). This is a prime example of the stupidity of Philips as your light would be useless if the power pack failed and you may not be able to place the lights where you want them as you can't thread the cable through desk opening etc and place where you want it to be. (which is the whole point of the system). Cable length isn't bad but you may run into problems placing a lamp on top of a high cupboard etc and need to run additional mains extension cables. There was an opportunity here for Philips to have the items separate and sell you a special expensive additional thin wire but that would make the product easier to use and generate more money for them and make a more flexible system :)
One of my Living Colour Lamps still fails to connect to the remote although I am sure the phone support from Philips (which is good) will resolve this.
Overall a great product but you must understand what you are buying as Philips does their level best to confuse you through their pretty but lousy website (which has loads of missing pages). www.myhue.com is a good place for support however.
A Google search (Philips Hue) will take you to a promising Philips Hue website http://www.philips.co.uk/c-m-li/hue-personal-wireless-lighting but it only has broken links. Amazing how a multi national giant can screw things up so well.
It took me a few hours of searching and a call to Philips to try and understand the product family
Overall I love them and would give five stars if not for the issues above.
Update: A few weeks later.
Used them at my wife's birthday party and everyone was impressed. Even used the disco app and they changed as the music played. They aren't a replacement for a DJ's lighting but still good fun.
Got them back home and started installing them around the house. Got the living room wired fine and being controlled by the app. Wife loves them.
Tried to pair two more lights in the bedroom to be controlled by the remote and by the app. That's where things started getting problematic again. Now have the living room lights not working (on all the time), bedroom one works but isn't seen by the app now.
These are a great light when working but trying to configure them when you have a few lights is a NIGHTMARE. I came close to boxing 8 lights back up and sending back to Amazon but having seen how good they are am persevering with them.
So Philips you have a great product spoiled by a crazy implementation. I asked support why do people by the new lights when the old ones have a remote as well so you now get less for you money and you HAVE to use the app. The answer was the new lights aren't as good as the living colour ones. That's progress I guess, glad to know the R&D team are working well then :)
So it looks as though I now have to re-pair my lights again which are now installed around the room (20 mins job) so I'll remove them all, bring them to the bridge to pair again as the lights can't be found anymore. You can pair using a serial number on the lights (you need a magnifying glass to read the serial number) but I haven't got this to work yet.
It seems like I am dedicating my life to getting these working...
Update: 11-11-15 - Purchased a new Hub (The Square one) and transferred all my settings from the old one which was painless. I can now control all my lights via Siri on my iPhone which is great. I am using Living Colours and Friends of Hue (Iris and Bloom) and all work fine. The lights are very much bright enough but be aware you need 2-3 in a decent sizes room to get a great effect. The do transform a room completely and the ability to go from a "warm" setting to a "romantic" or just turning them on or off is superb. It was a painful journey but finally got there and well worth it. I have 5 lights in the living room and three in the bedroom (bedroom ones are controlled using the remotes).
Review Still 4 star but if I was rating the experience individually it would be 1/5 for Philips useless website explaining the system, 5/5 for the lights and 5/5 for the telephone support with Philips (no waiting in a long queue)
Update Dec 15 - The remote action of the lights works sometimes and the auto timer function did work fine until I moved one light into another room (as I was going away and want to use it for a security light) and it just stayed on.
I have also learn't that the Philips Hue uses a Zigbee system which allows other compatible lights to be used. However the latest software version will NOT talk to compatible lights. http://m.slashdot.org/story/304031
The problems I have had and there have been many configuration problems maybe down to a strange environmental issue at my house (although I doubt it).
My advice would be to look for other systems or just buy one light and try it as you can always return it. Regardless of the issues I have had nothing excuses the superbly bad website that Hue have although full credit to a third party in supplying a great website (although it shouldn't be needed)