We have long covered the smart home here at NJTechReviews, from smart locks to security cameras and full smart home setups. Regarding smart lighting there are several options, in the past, we have profile smart bulbs from GE Lighting. But the largest stakeholder with the most adoption would have to be Philips Hue. They were the original smart lighting company, with their connected Bulbs. Since then they have expanded with light strips and some unique products. However, here I will run through my first week with the Philips Hue Starter Kit.
The main difference other than price when it comes to Philips Hue would be the connectivity of the bulbs. Instead of Bluetooth or Bluetooth Low Energy, Philips uses a combination of ZigBee and WiFi for connectivity. This ZigBee connection happens between the bulbs and the Bridge. I went out and got the Philips Hue three-bulb starter kit, which includes the Bridge. This can be thought of as command central, and this hub gets connected to the network through wireless or a wired connection.
Setting up Philips Hue is a relatively simple process, they are traditional bulbs that will go into any conventional light socket. From there the bulbs will connect to the bridge which then gets accessed via the Philips Hue application from your smartphone. Via the Philips Hue app, available for iOS and Android, you the connect to the Bridge and have access to all the bulbs connected to it. The bulbs in the three pack starter kit are A19 bulbs that can do any color along with white.
My favorite thing about the starter kit would be that three bulbs can handle a full room or you can spice up a few rooms in a house. The application is super easy to use, and the preset scenes let you set a mood. Regarding integration with smart home ecosystems, Philips Hue does work with Home Kit from Apple. However, this offering as a whole is not entirely there yet; I will say Philips did add in Siri integration. It is a neat party trick, but more work needs to be down on both parts. It appears that Philips has done an excellent job of creating their application that can truly stand on its own.
Overall, my first week with the Philips Hue Starter Kit has been an enjoyable one. The setup was straightforward and intuitive, plus there is no real hookup required. As of right now, I am giving this a preliminary 4 out of 5-star review, just regarding the overall category. I will be giving the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Generation 3 Starter Kit a full review in the coming weeks.