Philips Friends of Hue LightStrips review: Putting an accent light on smart LEDs

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Usability: 7.0
  • Design: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Philips Friends of Hue LightStrips give creative lighting and home automation enthusiasts a programmable, flexible decorative lighting accessory.

The Bad These tiny LEDs aren't as programmable out of the- box as they could be, which hurts given their high price tag.

The Bottom Line Intended for owners of Philips Hue LED bulbs, these LightStrips, as frivolous as they are, succeed by opening up another connected lighting option.

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Have you ever felt like your Flag Day lights were missing something? Perhaps your kickoff-timed lighting display still needs that fourth color from your team's second alternate European road trip jersey?

Rather than expanding into the galaxy of home automation component devices, Philips is taking a focused approach with its Friends of Hue product line. Hue, of course, is Philips' connected LED light bulb line that debuted last year. The Friends of Hue, at the moment comprising two accessory products, so far stay rooted in the world of LED illumination.

Among Hue's new Friends are the Bloom LED spotlight, and these $89 LightStrips, an adhesive-backed strip of tiny, programmable, LED accent lights. Intended as a companion light to go with the Philips Hue Connected Bulb Starter Pack , the LightStrips require that kit, specifically the puck-shaped networking hub that comes with it, if you want to control and customize them through your mobile device and over the Web.

Thus not only do you need to be a Hue owner to use these lights to full effect, as a niche product within a niche product category LightStrips are really aimed at Hue owners who are also particularly committed to either decorative lighting or home automation. I can recommend them if you have either or both of those enthusiasms. Few others will find this product useful.

Interactivity is by far the main selling point of Philips' LightStrips. If all you want is unobtrusive under-cabinet lighting, you can find a strip of dumb LEDs that's twice as long as the 2-meter LightStrip kit for $69 at Home Depot.

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