The latest accessory to connect to the Philips Hue line is a motion sensor that can not only turn on the lights when you enter the room, but also activate certain scenes depending on the time of day. Here’s how to do it, and have your drive-activated lights ready to go in just a few minutes.
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What Makes Hue Motion Sensor Better Than Other Motion Sensors
While you can use third-party motion sensors with your Philips Hue bulbs using a variety of services, the Hue Motion Sensor ($40) makes it easy to turn your Hue bulbs into spotlights in your home. In addition, the hue motion sensor can work much more efficiently than any other third-party motion sensor: it can detect if it’s evening and turn on dim lights, for example. Or, if there is a lot of sunlight in the room, it can automatically turn off the motion-sensitive lights so that it is not superfluous.
You can also create different scenes in the Philips Hue app and assign them specific time frames throughout the day. The motion sensor can even turn off the light after a certain amount of time that no movement is detected, from one minute to one hour.
How to set up the hue motion sensor
To set up the Hue motion sensor, start by opening the Philips Hue app on your phone and tap the setup icon in the top left corner of the screen.
On the next screen, click Accessory Settings.
Click on the round plus button at the bottom right corner.
Select Hue Motion Sensor.
Then, remove the plastic strip from the Hue Motion Sensor Unit. This requires a bit of tugging, so don’t be afraid to pull hard. Once this is done, wait a few seconds and make sure you see the orange LED blinking slowly. If so, click on «Blinking LED» at the bottom.
Select which room you want to associate with the motion sensor. You can select more than one room, but no more than three rooms, to avoid connection and latency issues.
Then you will place the sensor in the room where you want it, preferably the motion sensor part has a wide view of the room, especially the entrance. The motion sensor is standalone, but it comes with a wall mount if you want to keep it off the floor or tables. Once you’ve found a place to do this, tap «Got it» in the app.
The next screen will explain the default settings that the motion sensor will use. Don’t worry as you can easily change them when you set up the motion sensor. Click «Done» at the bottom.
Your tint motion sensor will now appear in the list of other tint accessories you have. On this screen, you can also quickly enable or disable the motion sensor at any time by pressing the toggle switch to the right.
By clicking on the motion sensor in the list, you will see the settings that you can customize. On this screen, you can choose which rooms you want to work with the motion sensor, as well as how to turn on the lights depending on the time of day. Therefore, if night falls, the motion sensor will turn on the light in dim conditions compared to other times when you can turn on the light at full power.
The tint motion sensor even has an ambient light sensor so it knows if it’s bright enough in the room so it doesn’t turn on the lights unnecessarily. And of course, you can also choose how long the light stays on after it detects no movement in the room.
Unfortunately, you can’t just tell the motion sensor to turn on the light. Instead, you need to assign a scene to it, so if you haven’t created scenes in the Philips Hue app yet, you need to do so first.
Hue motion sensor is by far one of the best motion sensors you could use with hue lighting. As we mentioned earlier, you can use third-party motion sensors so they can communicate with your Hue lights via SmartThings or IFTTT, but the functionality is nowhere near as good as the Hue motion sensor.
Unfortunately, it’s not HomeKit compatible, so it can’t control other SmartHome-like devices, such as turning on the smart plug when motion is detected. This is obviously not a big deal for Android users, but Apple users may be disappointed by the lack of HomeKit support.
Other than that, the hue motion sensor works a lot more than I expected, so you can be sure it will be very useful, especially in rooms where the light switch might not be in the most convenient place.