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, 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.
The good news is that the LightStrips' interactivity works pretty well. Philips' Hue app, available for both iOS and Android, lets you tweak the LightStrips almost as much as you can customize Philips' core Connected Bulbs. You can dim the LightStrips, change their color, and set them to go off at certain times, or in response to certain triggers (such as your proximity to home, or an recipe.). You can also create new LightStrips-dedicated lighting schemes (aka "Scenes") or integrate them into existing schemes that use other Hue light sources.