2 stars means it's a 3 star product with a star off for 1970's customer service attitude (think late 1970's Wimpy Bars - I was 12 at the time) and that's all I can say about this system overall - not including the rediculous price which would take a half-star off to be honest. The concept is appealing and controlable dimmable 16 million colour lighting certainly caught my attention.
Good points: Each lamp is just about bright enough at an equivalent brightness of 53 watts tungstan lamp. The colour spectrum is excellent from the blue-white spectrum 'daylighting' effect to the soft and mellow yellows, reds, blues and so on. The ability to change your lighting effect to suit your mood, activity, and especially the time of day is particularly useful and enjoyable.
The bad points: Lack of information as to how to use/set up/control the system. It's clunky and not at all intuitive. There seems so little info from Philips. The andriod apps will only run on later versions and not 2.2 as I have on my Galaxy S but fine on my tablet. My main gripe is philips software which has no manual or even help screens. Premium prices but with so little customer support. Like a slap in the face; the software looses lamps which were previously visible to the system and suddenly lamps change from the set colour to a default white or seemingly to a colour previously associated with a different scene. Suddenly you can't turn off a lamp or it won't turn on!. I understand wifi limitations but all my lamps are within 21ft of my bridge and this system is designed to control 50 lamps with the lamps in contact with the bridge communicating with the lamps that are not. So why such agro I ask myself?
Customer services at Philips are polite but were 'laid back' to the point of indifference and often seemed to know about as much as I did about my issue when I called. It was 41 minutes of asking 'OK so how do I do that?!' Bear in mind they asked me to unsrew each of the four lamps, so you might need to get the ladder out etc, Record serial numbers of each lamp, enter it manually when the bridge can't 'see' the lamp and so on... and on - all the time Philips' agent not sure what screen I should be looking at on my tablet and even seemed to be getting a little impatiant when I couldn't retreive the damn things fast enough from their very high up holders!! They didn't seem to know the software very well and rarely offered any advice or insight on how to use the sytem, how it works, how to avoid problems, what's limitations it has etc i.e. any useful help.
I mean, I've quals with Cisco, attended commercial property lighting courses, got 2.1 B.Sc. commercial property qual, set up call centres - I'm not a beginner at computing/networking etc but Philips did not engender any confidence in them. On their own website 'meethue.com' - if you click on 'Buy more bulbs' button in 'My Lights' you get an error screen! It seems Philips can't even set their system to get your money properly.
My conclusion is that this system was rolled out before software bugs have been ironed out and competant service agents were trained and the price is eyewatering for a lamp that will last just 5 years (LED bulbs should last 10 - 25 years?). There are plenty of lighting solutions out there at a fraction of the price that will last a lot longer. Hue simply joins up your lamps more easily, if, that is... it works reliably. Definitley worst Customer Support experience in a long time. Don't spend your hard earned cash on this yet. Wait!
UPDATE: I've been contacted by Philips following my complaint. They confirm Hue has no help screens, no manual, no reference to learn about the system because the system is so simple for consumer operation it is not necessary!!! I wish that was the case :) Regarding the issues I have with the eratic operation of the system, they state Hue is susceptable to interference from other wifi scources transmitting on 2.4GHz. I live in a flat with several other wifi signals detected by my systems - with five wifi devices in my own home, so this might be the issue for me BUT does beg a few obvious questions given ALL my other devices work flawlessly. Perhaps this system is designed for those in detached dwellings in large gardens, well it explains the greedy pricing I guess. However the density of wifi signals here on the sea front in TN38 is hardly as bad as say, densly populated city centres. Philips attitude is 'live with it or return it - up to you (cos we don't give a stuff)'. Oh and range extenders are not an option and it was suggested I move all the lights to be closer to my bridge! Yes, what a great comment, cluster my fancy lighting system in a small group by the bridge, hmmm! That's not really the effect I was anticipating when I ordered this. For me it's a bit of a toss-up. Get into some cable re-routing and rearranging things/cover my whole flat in aluminium foil to block my 9 detectable neighbours-tho' I'm sure that would have no effect/disable my phone-tablet-PC-Laptop combo/bite the bullet and give up? Gawd, I've spent £229 on this so far... maybe I should just get some nice church candles from the pound shop...
UDATE TWO: Well, I've been using Hue for a few months now, using the proprietry Hue app as supplied by Philips. Ignoring Philips complete inability to 'support i.e. actually 'Help'' their customers with such a premium product my main issue seems to be Philips' own software wich is just not very good and interestingly doesn't deliver the user functionality it's advertising suggests - but is open scource. It seems Philips had a good idea about lighting but not the will or resources to produce a top product so produced the lamps & bridges with open-scource code so independants could spend the time and money to develop software to get the lamps to meaningful function. i.e. the customer pays an independant a small fee to get operating software while Philips draw in massive profits on the sale of designed obsolescence overpriced lamps - I mean, a 'World Leader' like Philips producing LED lamps with a five year life - probably an embarressment to Philips' engineers (NOT their accountants)and a joke to thier competitors who will soon produce massively longer lasting lamps at 20-40% of their retail value.
BUT Yes! The lamps mostly perform, mostly good colour control and brightness control. Mostly that is. You can't do much or even set decent colours with Philips own software. That is just an insult, feels like giving money to a pick-pocket.
CONCLUSION: (in my opinion) different apps work a lot better than Philips' own 'day-light robbery' sotware offering. It also explains their lip service to customer services as they only expect to deal with hardware returns as their 'accidentally-on-purpose' bad software is designed to force poeple to use someone else's code. Therefore why would they have to train (& pay) their own people to develop and support their own software when they know customers will rapidly move away to effective third party offerings. Seems all very cynical to me reinforced by Philips offer to get me called back by a Philips representative following my calls to customer support. These calls happened twice. On each occassion their rep. asked me to comment on how I thought they might improve the service to customers like me... they never showed any interest or inclination in actually helping ME or resolving MY ISSUES! Amazing in this day and age for such a 'future focused' company!
All the calls I had with Philips seemed to be to/from a Mediterranean call centre, maybe a cultural mis-understanding but if so, then bad training as their attitude was.. (plse see above comments.)
Like I say dealing with Philips is like being in a late 1970's comedy sketch about(insert your own swear words here...)'very poor' service... think Wimpy Bars, Woolworths of the time... et al.
When the system works, which is much much better with 3rd party software, it's great, but philips arogance and attitude make me think I will be buying much cheaper and longer lasting alternatives from elsewhere in future. Shame on you Philips.