Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit: Smarter Lighting

Getting started with smart lighting for your home.

If you are new to smart lighting or smart home living in general, Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit is a perfect choice. The Philips Hue was first introduced in 2012; it was the pioneer in smart home products it was still the dark ages of smart home technology, so to speak. Amazon is only an online seller with Kindle devices, and Google is just a search engine. Echo smart speakers that have Alexa voice technology is still a dream, and the Google Home device is nowhere in sight.

A visionary in smart home technology, Philips indeed has ushered in an era that is transforming homes. Smart home technology can be found in many of our everyday things that make our lives more connected than ever.

Now years later, we are again putting the spotlight on the smart home pioneers, Philips Hue. It was at the forefront of smart light bulb technology. Five years ago the Wi-Fi-enabled LED lighting system that Philips has were innovative and new, but now they are the gold standard for lighting systems.

There are three distinct product lines from Philips light bulbs based on the colors the bulbs emit. It includes the white and color ambiance, the white ambiance and the white bulbs of varying sizes. For the purpose of this review, we will concentrate on Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit, which is the least expensive bulb in the lineup. These bulbs are the same as your one-color incandescent bulb but are ideal for those who want to adjust the brightness in the room depending on the time of the day.

There are many reasons why Philips Hue is at the top even if there are other brands that are introducing the same technology. They are easy to set up; you can easily operate them and does not lose its consistency all throughout.

The best thing about Philips Hue is its versatility. With the three choices in the product line up, you can go for an expensive option with more features or the least expensive option but has the coveted technology that you are looking for a smart home. In all these options, you will have the dimmable feature, and it can be remotely controlled with the Hue app.

Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit: The Review

Fortunately, the color-changing bulbs are not the only option available in this lighting ecosystem; it also has the Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit. Since it is a starter kit, the package contains a pair of compatible white bulbs and the Hue Bridge. As the name suggests, it only has one color, but you can program the bulb to turn them on and off. They can work with the third-party integration services like the rest of the new smart lighting systems.

These third-party services include Amazon’s Alexa, Nest Learning Thermostat, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, and many others. With all these exciting features, it is no wonder that Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit is necessary for those who are dead serious about connected lighting.

The Setup

Your 10 watts Philips Hue light bulbs are ready to be installed in any standard lamp, ceiling or fixture because they are about the same size of an average incandescent or fluorescent bulb; the only difference is the flatter head.

This starter kit comes to the small square bridge that must be connected to a router with an Ethernet cable. You need download the Philips Hue app that is available on both iOS and Android. If you follow the steps on the setup, you will discover through the app each of the bulbs. You can name them and indicate their location. One bridge can accommodate a maximum of 50 bulbs.

We just hoped that there was Wi-Fi connectivity for the bridge because our homes are already tied up (pun intended) with so many wires. The size of the hub is no big deal since you will stow this away. There are three status lights available on the Philips Hub that indicate it is powered on, connected to the internet and connected to the router. It is easy to connect your bulbs to the Hub; it can even recognize each of the bulbs serial number when you enter them.

The App

Because they are the first smart LED makers in the market, it took some time for Philips to modify their app and you can see this when you have Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit. The home screen of the app will give you the top-level view of the rooms in your house. In addition, it will give you information whether the lights are turned on. Using the app, you can control the lights. You can turn it off and on in each room and control the individual lights.

The app has Routines section which lets you schedule the times when you want your lights to be turned off or on in selected rooms. As a sampler, if you turn on the ‘only after sunset’ option, which is helpful during the summer months, the ‘vacation mode,’ on the other hand, will have your lights randomly turned off and on as if you are actually home. The geofencing option is something to love because it triggers the leaving home and coming home routine depending on your phone’s location.

Let’s talk about the bulb

The Philips Hue White LED lights are good on its own right. It puts out about 800 lumens when in full brightness. In an ordinary household without smart technology, this is equivalent to a 60W incandescent. They are also effective as it draws only about 9.5 watts of power.

philips hue white led starter kit

The wide and nice shape of the bulb extends beyond the normal heat sink, which composes the bottom half. This gives an omnidirectional and nice light output. It can illuminate downwards useful when you are using it as a bedside lamp for reading.

Smart-Home Compatibility

In all the smart lighting systems out there, Philips has the most extensive compatibility with other smart home systems. It will work with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTT, the Nest Learning Thermostat, Samsung SmartThings, Comcast Xfinity Home, Logitech and more.

philips hue alexa in kitchen

Smart Lighting at its Best

The Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit dims exceptionally well without the real dimmer switch. In fact, it can go all the way down to 0.9 percent of brightness, which is its minimum setting. This is about seven lumens. Because it uses a built-in dimming smart and not the conventional switches, you need not worry about flicker and buzz.

Aside from the Philips Hue apps, you can also control them physically with the Philips Hue wireless dimming remote as an option. This has a wall-mounted holder and can control up to 10 bulbs. You can also hook up with third-party integrations like with Alexa, the voice-activated VA of Amazon Echo or Siri.

Specifications

  • White bulb color
  • 120 Voltage
  • 9.5 Wattage
  • LED type of bulb
  • 800 Luminous Flux

Pros

  • Compatible with a ton of smart-home systems
  • The app is very comprehensive
  • Dimmable
  • Expandable using accessories like Hue Dimmer Switch, Hue Tap or Hue Motion Sensor
  • Hub can control up to 50 bulbs without slowing your Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Require the Hub to operate
  • Hub is wired
  • The light color is untenable.

CHECK OUT THE PHILIPS HUE ON AMAZON

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do the bulbs last?

The bulbs can provide over 50,000 hours of lighting, which is approximately five years.

Why is it taking long for my Hue lights to respond?

When you set the brightness, light state, etc., the light will not respond immediately because the transition time by default is about 400 milliseconds. If you want the light to respond quickly when there are any changes, you should set the transition time to zero milliseconds.

How many commands can you send per second?

You can send roughly 10 commands per second for lights, for group commands you can send them one per second.

How can I make sure that my app has access to the bridge?

The bridge can securely access apps using the whitelist. To add an app to the whitelist, you need to request the bridge to do so by creating a user command in the Configuration API and press the push linking button. This way you can securely access the Hue system and prevents the apps without permission by push linking.

Final Verdict

Philips had not rested on its laurels when it became a pioneer in the smart home technology because it did not only continuously develop the smart lights but also the app and the ecosystem that is supporting them. With the price of Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit, you are not only getting your money’s worth but also the ability to connect to a wider spectrum of lights.

The bottom line is that the Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit is an excellent start to buy if you want a rock-solid and smart lighting platform in your home. It is the most affordable too. We give this lighting system 4 out of 5 stars.

philips hue light in house

CHECK OUT THE PHILIPS HUE ON AMAZON

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