Philips Hue White Ambiance Smart Bulb Starter Kit (4 A19 Bulbs and 1 Hub Works with Alexa Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant)

9.6/10 (Expert Score)
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9.6Expert Score
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Total Reviews:783
Philips Hue White Ambiance Smart Bulb Starter Kit (4 A19 Bulbs and 1 Hub Works with Alexa Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant)
PROS
  • 19 REVIEWS PHILIPS HUE
  • 6 REVIEWS APPLE HOMEKIT
  • 7 REVIEWS STARTER KIT
  • 13 REVIEWS HUE SYSTEM
  • 8 REVIEWS LIVING ROOM
  • 22 REVIEWS EASY TO USE
  • 11 REVIEWS GOOGLE HOME
  • 10 REVIEWS COLOR TEMPERATURE
  • 23 REVIEWS CONTROL THE LIGHTS
  • 14 REVIEWS EASY TO SETUP
  • 7 REVIEWS HOME AUTOMATION
  • 6 REVIEWS GOOGLE ASSISTANT
  • 23 REVIEWS LIGHT SWITCH
  • 12 REVIEWS COLOR CHANGING
  • 6 REVIEWS SEVERAL TIMES
  • 5 REVIEWS LOVE BEING ABLE
  • 3 REVIEWS MOTION SENSORS
  • 25 REVIEWS HUE APP
  • 27 REVIEWS HUE BULBS
  • 3 REVIEWS ECHO DOT
Philips Hue White Ambiance Smart Bulb Starter Kit (4 A19 Bulbs and 1 Hub Works with Alexa Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant)
Philips Hue White Ambiance Smart Bulb Starter Kit (4 A19 Bulbs and 1 Hub Works with Alexa Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant)

Description

Enhance your home with soft white lighting, controlled remotely wherever you are, Set timers and light schedules, automating your lights to make it seem like someone is home even when you are away

Top Positive Review


I bought my hue bulbs almost a year ago in an expensive gamble to improve my sleep quality. It was one of the best purchases I have ever made. My lights are programmed to match the white balance of the daylight outside, dim at night, and fade in before I wake up in the morning. I get tired at a normal time (around 10pm-12am instead of 2-3am), wake up more easily, and sleep better in between.

While the technology for these bulbs is not very special anymore and cheaper versions are widely available, I still caution others against budget options because software and connectivity issues remain common in other brands. Hue started off well when I bought the bulbs, and Philips has continued to update and improve on their software support since. Hue is also widely supported by third-party devices and software. Bargain smart bulbs are of comparable quality of light and colors, but if you plan to program your bulbs in any sense—turning on or off on a schedule or based on motion sensors, adjusting colors automatically, etc.—Hue is easily the most reliable option available right now. Worth the money to know that it will do what you want it to do.

Worth noting is the Hue Bridge component, required for use of most features. The bulbs connect to the hub via radio signals, whereas hub-less systems integrate by WiFi for each individual bulb. The hub can make the system seem bulky, but it comes with a few advantages:
– More seamless integration for multiple lights, room setups, etc.
– Better connectivity. Your lights will only disconnect if your internet is down entirely, since the hub is wired in to your network and radio signals from the hub will never have an issue reaching your lights.
– Hypothetically, hub-based systems are more secure since the user must be connected to the home network to access them. My lights are the least of my worries in terms of being hacked, but I suppose it’s still nice to know.
– I speculate that hub-less systems draw more power, which would ruin a lot of the appeal of energy-efficient LEDs.

A few tips on making the most of these expensive gadgets:
1. The lights in general are left in the ON position on your light fixtures and controlled solely though software. It is annoying at best to have to control your lights with an app on your phone. This can be avoided by purchasing Hue’s dimmer switch, scheduling your lights, or integrating with a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa device.
2. Hue bulbs are supported by f.lux, a software that filters blue light from your computer screen at night based on your geographic location and your intended wake time. If connected to your Hue bulbs, f.lux will automatically adjust the white balance of your bulbs throughout the day. It transitions more gently than Philips’s built-in feature, and updates every 30 seconds so you can use the regular on/off switches on your lighting fixtures and your bulbs will automatically adjust shortly after (last I checked Hue bulbs will default to soft white when turned off and on again, regardless of what you have programmed). Also, f.lux is free!
3. Hue is also supported by IFTTT (also free), which allows you to program your Hue bulbs based on other devices or services you use. For example, my lights will blink to remind me that I have to leave for a meeting coming up in my Google Calendar. There are endless possibilities for these bulbs solely because Hue is supported by so many other apps and devices.

Top Critical Review


First the good: this thing has been rock solid reliable. I’ve not had to reboot the hub even once, and I’ve never tried to turn on a light and had it not work. At least in my house, I’ve found it runs just like everything is hard wired together, which is frankly critical for a product like this. Even when the internet goes down, the switch I bought still controls the lights without missing a beat, and I like that I can string together a bunch of table lamps in the same room and control them all, including dimming, with one master switch. I also like that I can set the color temperature of these bulbs, as I am one of those people that hates the overly harsh, blue light that makes you feel like you are in a hospital waiting room. These bulbs let me set a color that was warm without being too yellow, just where I wanted it.

Having said all that, now let me burst your bubble on this product a little bit. In the real world, nobody wants to go into an app on their phone just to turn the lights on and off. If you just take a second to honestly think about that, you will realize how patently absurd that is. Home automation is supposed to improve on existing technology, not go backwards.

So here is how you will use this product in the real world: You must buy the Hue light switch or switches to physically control the lights you want to automate. You will program those switches to control your lights, and once programmed, those switches will be how you interact with the system day-to-day, because you are not insane.

Yes, the first day you own it you will play around with various “scenes” in the app, and those will seem kind of cool, but the reality is that you will pick the one you like best, program it to your switch, and then probably never change what that button does, ever again. So if you want to do lots of different scenes and more complex lighting effects, you likely will want the round, hockey puck switch, not the rectangle switch that just allows you to select a single color setting and then dim or increase its brightness. The app is basically for controlling the lights remotely when you are away, programming the physical switches, and programming automated on-off times. Do not think of the app itself as your new light switch, that is just silly.

Now, there are definitely situations where adding this new level of control and customization to your lights is quite handy, but the very high cost of each individual bulb means you are probably not going to want to automate very many of your lights. You also have the issue that any non-standard bulb can’t be automated in this system, and even the candelabra bulbs they do sell are kind of ugly, with a big white base that will look really bad in many exposed fixtures.

So I don’t see replacing my kitchen lights, my hallway lights, light in the laundry room etc. with this. And even in places where you might otherwise legitimately want to add automation, you may not be all that excited by the bulb choices you get with this system.

Now, if you go into it with reasonable and modest expectations, you will not be disappointed. I have found that it can be a very nice upgrade, particularly in rooms where you are currently walking around every evening and turning on a bunch of individual table lamps today. And if you have a multi-purpose room like a home theater or a dining room where you’d like multiple, different light settings, it can be useful there as well. But no, it is not going to change your life, and it ultimately offers a modest set of useful features, for which you will pay a lot of money. This would be a no brainer to recommend at half the price. But it is a little harder to recommend given what they are charging for it.

Customer Questions & Answers


What is the ??California resident?? option under Style?
Answer: Due to California label requirements, some of our products are now available in two different types of packaging. Regardless, the product inside the packaging remains the same.

How do these compare to daylight bulbs?
Answer: They can be adjusted to as ‘white’ as daylight bulbs (6500oK) or as ‘yellow’ as early morning sunrise (2700oK). But they’re brightest at about 4500oK which is a little warmer than most daylight bulbs. In terms of overall brightness, they’re equivalent to a 60W incandescent bulb.

will hub work with color bulbs too?
Answer: Yes

Do you use both the dimmer and light bulb?
Answer: I control the bulb with an Echo Dot and can tell it to set the bulb to 100% or 50%, etc. I don’t understand why you’re talking about a separate dimmer.

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