The smart bulb market is growing exponentially with new models and even companies popping up from left and right. Today, however, we’ll take a look at the company’s starter kit, which puts smart bulbs on the map. Read on as we test the Philips Hue Lux launch and see if the trend starter really remains a sure buy.
What is Philips Hue Lux?
In 2012, Philips introduced the Hue, one of the first smart light bulbs on the market and by far the best known, sold and supported (both then, years later, and now). The key difference between the Hue line and the Hue Lux line is that the original (and still ongoing) line of light bulbs, lamps, LED strips, etc. (screen can), while the Lux line consists of plain white light bulbs with a warm white color 2640K.
In exchange for not changing colors, you also forgo a hefty chunk of the price tag. The Hue Lux starter kit (which includes two bulbs and a wireless bridge connecting your smart bulbs to your home network) will set you back $80, with each additional Lux bulb $20. Unlike the Hue kit, it costs $170 (which includes three lamps and a bridge), and each additional color change lamp costs $60.
If you’re not obsessed with the color-changing aspect of the entire plot, you can get the Bridge + six Luxes in white for just the same price as the color-changing Hue Starter Kit. Even if you decide you really need a little color-changing magic in your life, Philips’ entire range of smart bulbs are cross-compatible and you can add and subtract Hue and Hue Lux bulbs from your smart lighting system at any time.
In addition to saving a bit of money in the register, Hue Lux bulbs are also rated for a longer lifespan (25,000 vs 15,000 hours), they are slightly brighter (750 lumens vs 600 lumens) so it’s no surprise that the extra brightness gives a tiny increase in consumption. energy (9W vs 8.5W) and they are slightly more efficient (84% vs 71% efficiency).
Hue bulbs, Hue Lux bulbs, and standard Philips LED bulbs (no smart features) share the same flattened A10 style shape that looks like a standard light bulb slightly muted at the top.
Like WeMo Smart LED bulbs and many other smart bulbs on the market (like GE Link), the Hue line uses a ZigBee mesh network to connect all bulbs to a central bridge/hub.
How do you install and configure them?
Installing and configuring the Hue system is fantastically easy. The lamps in the starter kit are pre-registered to the bridge device, so setup is incredibly easy with no sync, reset, switch, or other steps required to establish a radio link between the lamps, the hub, and your network.
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Unpack the starter kit, screw on the bulbs and turn them on, then simply plug the Philips hub into an open LAN port on your home network (either directly on the router, or in the switch, or in the Ethernet wall socket that leads to the switch/router) and then power up the bridge. If everything is connected correctly (bulbs, ethernet to router/internet, and power to bridge), the three lights on the device will glow blue.
We admit we were initially a bit skeptical about the whole bit of Ethernet as one of the features we liked about the WeMo Smart LED Bulb system was that the WeMo Link hub was Wi-Fi based and the device could be connected anywhere place house. Despite our reservations about placing the light bulb bridge all over the wall at the bottom of the stairwell in the basement (two floors down where we were going to check the light bulbs), we found no placement issues despite all the layers of plaster, wood and the like between the bridge and light bulbs they worked just fine (and with an undetectable delay while doing so).
After installing the bulbs and powering up the bridge and connecting to the mains, there are only two steps left (one of which is optional). You will need a smartphone app to complete the kernel installation; You can download the official iOS Hue app here or the Android Hue app here.
With light bulbs and a bridge, start the app. When prompted, choose which Hue system you have (in the case of this review and if you follow at home, Hue Lux). You will be prompted to press the physical button in the center of the bridge. Right after you click the button, the application, bridge and light bulbs will be connected and you will see that your list of light bulbs looks like this.
By default, the lamps have generic names such as «Lux Lamp» and «Lux Lamp 1», you can change the lamp names to more user-friendly options such as «Night Stand» and «Kitchen» by clicking on the menu icon in the top left corner. corner of the screen and going to Settings -> My Lights and clicking on each bulb to rename them.
The second and optional step is to create a My Hue account. Press the menu button again and navigate to Enter My Shade. You’ll be prompted to create an account if you don’t already have one (or you can sign in using your Google credentials to verify).
After a simple email/password setup, you will be prompted to press the physical button on the bridge again to verify that you are the physical owner of the Hue Bridge, which will soon become linked to your My Hue account.