Philips Hue Lux: A white-light entry point for smart LED fans

/ Updated: April 1, 2014 12:20 PM PDT

Philips' new Hue Lux white-light LED. Philips

Up until now the Philips Hue line has focused heavily on color-changing LEDs. The Philips Hue starter kit we reviewed last year received an excellent rating, but its three coloring-changing bulbs and compulsory bridge hub will set you back $199.99. A single, a la carte color-changing Hue bulb costs an additional $59.99.

Philips Hue Connected Bulb starter pack
Philips Hue color-changing bulbs in action. Colin West McDonald/CNET

Although we really liked the product, $200 isn't exactly affordable for everyone. Combine that with the fact that other brands have introduced white-light-only bulbs and kits for less and Philips suddenly has some catching up to do. Enter: Hue Lux. That's Philips' version of the white-light smart LED announced today and expected to come out later this year.

The Hue Lux starter kit will include two white-light LEDs and a Philips bridge for $99.95. Additional bulbs are expected to retail for $39.95. The highly rated Connected by TCP Wireless LED Lighting Kit comes with three LEDs and a hub for just $109.99. The Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Kit announced at CES earlier this year, and expected to be available in the first half of 2014, will include two white-light LEDs and a hub for $129, while individual bulbs will cost $39. Here's a brief rundown:

Philips Hue Lux Belkin WeMo TCP
Bulb cost $40 $39 $17
Kit cost $100 $129 $110
# of bulbs per kit 2 2 3
Remote No No Yes
IFTTT compatibility Yes Yes No

While it looks like the TCP kit still offers the best value, the Hue Lux bulbs will have added features, like IFTTT compatibility. Since Belkin's upcoming WeMo LED Lighting Starter Kit sounds closer to Philips' Hue Lux in terms of features and third-party compatibility, it will be particularly interesting to compare those two side by side. Either way, we're glad Philips has decided to introduce white-light LEDs to its existing Hue lineup. It's a much more accessible price and you will still have the option of adding color-changing bulbs to the mix later on.

Philips also announced the Hue Tap today, a $59.95 gizmo that will let you access your favorite Hue light settings via physical buttons rather than an app. Like the Hue Lux, it's expected to show up in stores in the latter half of 2014.

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