Used to be, the most customisation you could squeeze out of your lighting was how warm or cool you wanted it to be. Not anymore. With the Philips Hue home lighting system, you can control every light in your house down to its colour saturation, and brightness — right from your phone.
Philips' app-controlled mood lighting system.
People for whom On and Off are insufficient.
Plug the bulbs into their respective sockets (either spreading them around the room in multiple lamps or concentrating them in a single fixture), plug the gateway into a spare port on your wireless router, install the Hue app on you iOS or Android device, connect the app to the gateway and you're all set.
The app (at least the Android version that I tested) comes with 17 pre-loaded "scenes," each a colourful image with a trio of pins that sample the underlying colour and adjust each bulb's output and brightness accordingly. You are also free to create custom scenes of your own with an image you actively capture or ones from your photo gallery. Philips also offers additional scenes through the app as well. You are also free to adjust the colour of each light individually using a colour wheel if none of the pre-loaded scenes suits your taste.
Each bridge supports up to 50 light bulbs, so you could theoretically control every light in your house directly from your phone.
The lights and the phone that controls them must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network, and the app will ensure that connection every time the phone wakes by popping a No Connection error message. Every. Single. Time.
And while the "same Wi-Fi" requirement is good for preventing digital intruders from messing with your lights, it makes remotely turning my lights on and off while out of town an impossibility. This system definitely needs a timer function.
- The lights will revert to their neutral just-out-of-the-box colour if you turn the light switch that controls it off and back on. Helpful when you stumble upon a garish combination of colours and need to reset.
- Sign up for a Hue account and you'll be able to share custom scenes with other Hue users as well as mirror your personal collection across all of your devices.
- I want this to be able to sync with the movie I'm watching and adjust the lighting colour to match the on-screen scene.
Depends on how much you want to recreate the Willy Wonka-boat scene in your foyer. Nearly £180 to start and £50 a bulb after that is tough to swallow. But the Hue system is insanely cool and, in the hands of a skilled interior designer, could be used to turn every room in your house into a light-flooded canvas.
• Bulb Output: 600 lumen
• Bulb Type: LED
• Bulb Weight: 7.2 ounces
• Connectivity: Wi-Fi
• Bulb Dimensions: 5.3 x 4.2 x 2.8 inches with an A19 socket base
• Price: £180 for the starter pack (3 bulbs and the gateway), additional bulbs are £50 each.