Philips Hue. What is this expensive light element that I see in Home Depot and Bestbuy? What does it do? Why is it so much? What is going on???? In my previous post about this project, I mentioned that I got a starter kit with the A19 bulbs and a Google Home. This post is specifically just about the Hue platform. What it does, what it doesn’t, how, etc. While up in PA, watching and being able to voice control lights was an amazing thing. I wanted some of that in my life. There are options galore out there, but the risk is the same as so many other areas of life: Does it work with what I have? Does it last? Is it easy to use?
Looking at Hue, the first thing I noticed was the price of pride – its the most expensive thing on the shelf. Now, in some areas…. like sugar, you can get the same thing for less. In electronics, how ever, I’ve learned that the poor man pays twice and not all things are manufactured at the same spec. This is important when choosing what you’re going to rely on in the sense of technology. So, yes, while costly, my trust in the product is reflected via the price. Also, I have one co-worker that swears by these things. If he likes them, then there could be something to it.
The starting point was the hardest. I recommend a kit, but the kit that suites me best doesn’t exist. The kit is great because it has everything you need to get started, and are actually preconfigured for the bulbs it comes with. Perfect. The kit that most suited me was the one that has 4 of the A19 bulbs, that changed color. I want these all over my room, every where. They’re a typical socket, so they’ll work any where, even the bathrooms. Well, almost any where since my ceiling fans take these stupid candlerella bulbs. How annoying, right? More so that I can’t get a starter kit with the hub and 3 or 4 of those in a kit. Even the candlerella bulbs are $25 each. Ouchies. I bite the bullet, and get these things set up. Instructions in the Hue kit were simple, the hub has a nice wall mount feature, but must be cabled to the network. I put mine in the closet under the stairs – so that it can see from the middle of the house. The router will be going there soon, too.
Once we’re connected, adding the lights is easy. It already knows about the 4 lights it came with and it picked up the little lights just fine. The app is pretty simplistic, you can control one light’s color/temp and brightness. Or you can control them as a group. There is also a feature called scenes, where it coordinates all lights in one group to a specific light them.This is one of my favorite features, since it auto-creates and seems to detect what lights should do what. You can also buy apps that allow the lights to flicker and rotate colors in sync to music. Very neat, but I’m not ready to go there yet.
Soft greens, purples and reds really help set the mood when you’re wanting to get some private mommy time going. Being able to start that from the app or your smart assistant, with some planning, makes date night so much less stressful. Also, being able to see enough to not trip over junk in the floor but not having lights so bright that it wakes the kids in the room next to yours is a huge plus. One of my favorite things about these lights, also, is that I can control the color so that the yellow wash of normal lights is gone and tuned more to a natural daylight temp – great for make up time.
At the end of the day, about $250 was spent on just this lighting portion of the project and its unlikely that it will stop there.