Top positive review
An awesome product with a lot of customisation
30 December 2016
This product is absolutely excellent.
I had been thinking about getting a Philips Hue starter kit for a few years now but the high price always made me put the idea to bed. This year though I thought I'd treat myself as with the new generation 3 bulbs included which give richer more accurate colour and the new v2 bridge box that supports iOS Homekit, Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Home it felt more worth it than ever, plus the price has come down considerably too.
I have to say I was not left disappointed. Hue really is amazing, the light these bulbs put off is incredibly atmospheric which is to say they have a huge range of bright and accurate colour capabilities.
If you've ever used cheap or early LED's in the past you're probably used to them having limited colours or being able to accurately portray the colour you've selected. That just isn't the case with this Philips Hue kit, the generation 3 bulbs are so accurate to what you select.
As I mentioned above, the Hue system put me off in the past due to the price but it's easy to see why they're expensive, the quality is there, these are by far the best LED's I've ever seen in person.
The Hue system is really easy to setup, put the bulbs in your sockets, turn the light switches on, plug the bridge in to an electrical outlet and into your router/switch with the provided ethernet cord and then install the Philips Hue application on your phone.
Once you open the app it'll ask you to scan a bar code from the starter kit box inside, once you do that using the camera on your phone it'll add the bridge box and your three starter bulbs and then you can specify what rooms the bulbs are in and give them descriptive names (ceiling light, desk lamp etc) and you're done.
You can then control the lights independently by setting the colours manually from the app or by providing an image to create a lighting "scene" where different lights take on different colour aspects of the image you provide. You can also specify scenes or specific colours using your voice via Siri, Alexa, Google Home etc
Personally I'm using an iPhone running iOS 10 so I can control my Hue lights using Siri, it works perfectly on both the iPhone and Apple Watch. I can say things like "Set bedroom ceiling light to Blue" or "Set desk light to Cyan" and Siri will do it instantly, it really has no delay if Siri was able to transcribe what you said accurately. This functionality with Siri does not extend to macOS so you cannot use Siri on macOS Sierra to control your lights, Siri integration only works on devices which have Homekit right now which as of this review includes only iOS devices like the iPhone and by extension the Apple Watch.
You can also purchase a Dimmer Switch for the Hue system which is what I did, it allows you to obviously dim the lights but also turn them off and on and change scenes. I highly recommend you get one of these as it adds convenience not having to talk with a virtual assistant to use the lights or to open the Hue app. Of course you can still control the lights using a normal on/off switch for the electrical socket but you may want more control than that which the dimmer affords and it can be set to control multiple lights simultaneously which is perfect for a room with lamps and ceiling hue lights.
WHITE LIGHT QUALITY:
One of the things some friends asked me about the Hue bulbs is how well do they reproduce a warm white light like how an incandescent light does. I can tell you that it produces white light quite perfectly to my eyes. It can do the very paper-bone almost blue toned white light and it can do the very warm yellow white light and everything in-between. You have full customisation over the whiteness of its whites like all the other colours it can produce and it does so very well and brightly. I have zero concerns about using these bulbs for normal lighting.
Hue uses a communication system which you as programmers can tap into. I'm a software developer myself and it's really quite neat being able to program the lights to do specific functions. There are many apps available already that can control the lights and extend their functionality beyond what Philips provides but if you're a DIY type you can check out some 3rd party developer API's to talk with the lights using Python, Perl, C#, Java, C++, PHP or whatever language you write code in on github.
- Brilliant Colours
- Incredibly Bright
- Impressive iOS Integration
- Easy to Setup
- Highly Extensible
- Lots of Compatible Accessories
- I can't think of any real negatives, they're expensive but it's easy to see why, the price is warranted.
This product is amazing. The way it makes your home look is incredible, it really changes the feel of a room. I am so deep into the Hue ecosystem now having bought not just the starter system but extra lamps to put the bulbs in, meters of the lighting strips to go around cupboards and of course the Hue Dimmers, we have three of those already for different rooms of our home.
The Siri integration is excellent, the quality of the bulbs is excellent. It's very easy to use and highly customisable. Philips has done an amazing job with Hue and with the latest generation bulbs and LED strips offering their best colour reproduction ever it's the perfect time to buy.