Philips Hue Connected Bulb

28. března 2013 v 4:05 |  solar charger
Imagine a world where you can control every aspect of your home wirelessly from your smartphone. The Philips Hue Connected bulb brings that vision one step closer to reality, allowing you to wirelessly control your lighting. But it's not just about control, it's about customization. The Philips Hue app for Android and iOS is surprisingly powerful, letting you adjust intensity, set custom colors, color combinations, and schedules. There's an undeniable wow factor from the moment you screw in your first bulb, but there's also some genuine convenience and utility. Unfortunately, the system is prohibitively expensive at $60 per bulb or $200 for the starter kit with three bulbs.

The Hue bulbs are conical in shape, with a glass end and a tapered aluminum body that terminates in a standard light bulb connector. They feel more substantial than your typical light bulb, but are about the same size and virtually indistinguishable once screwed into a socket. Unlike fluorescent or incandescent lightbulbs, the Hue bulbs utilize LEDs. Philips rates the lifespan of each bulb at up to 15,000 hours, and despite the Wi-Fi connectivity, claims that each bulb uses 80 percent less power than a traditional incandescent bulb.

With each starter pack you get three bulbs and a wireless bridge. You can add up to 50 bulbs to a single bridge, but keep in mind that starter kit bulbs are permanently tied to their packaged bridge-that means you can only add bulbs to your starter kit using the single bulb packs.

Setup is simple and straightforward, and there's very little networking knowledge required. First you screw in your bulbs and turn them on-they'll light up without a wireless connection like any lightbulb. Next you connect the wireless bridge to your Wi-Fi router using the included ethernet cable. Then download the free iOS or Android app and follow the on-screen prompts for pairing the Hue bulbs and bridge with your phone or tablet. To control the Hue bulbs wirelessly, you must leave your power switches turned on. Keep in mind you can still turn Hue bulbs on or off using your regular light switch if you don't have your mobile device handy, but you just won't be able to adjust color or light intensity.

Using the Hue app, you can control and customize the color and intensity of each individual lightbulb. This can extend from simply turning lights on and off with your smartphone, or recreating a scene from your last vacation. Philips pre-loads a number of readymade "scenes," like a sunrise, or color profiles, like "relax," which can stimulate desired moods. Each scene is a real picture, and you can even upload your own photos to use with Hue. Selecting a picture brings up an overlay with icons representing each bulb. You can drag each bulb independently to any point on the picture, and the bulbs will then mimic the color of your chosen point. This all happens in real time, so you can watch the color changes and get exactly the tone and intensity you're looking for.

Preset color profiles were hit or miss in my tests. I really enjoyed the "relax" setting, which created a pleasant and dimmed warm light. The "energize" setting, on the other hand, made me feel like I was under the harsh fluorescent tubes of a drab office. You can also control each bulb individually, without using scenes or color profiles, so you can set an infinite number of color combinations and intensities. You can also label each bulb, and control which scenes apply to which bulbs.

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