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Christmas Gift Guide
Light Bulbs

Philips Hue starter kits will soon come with more bulbs

The popular smart lighting starter kits have each added additional bulbs to help you fill your home with connected light.

Philips Hue's color-changing starter kits will soon come with an extra bulb.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Philips Hue's smart lighting starter kits just added some extra bulb for your buck.

Specifically, I'm speaking of the fully color-changing Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit, the white-light tunable Philips Hue White Ambiance A19 Starter Kit, and the fixed, white-light only Philips Hue White A19 Starter Kit. Along with the Philips Hue Bridge that controls everything, they used to include three, three and two bulbs, respectively. Starting in September, each one will come with four bulbs.

The kits have new price tags, too. With the fully color-changeable bulbs, the kit is back up to its original retail price of $200, with additional bulbs selling for $50 each. The tunable White Ambiance kit will now cost $150, up from $130, with additional bulbs selling for $30 a piece. The fixed Philips Hue White kit gets the biggest jump from $70 up to $100, but it's also getting two additional bulbs instead of just one (and given that those bulbs cost $15 each, that $30 price jump comes out in the wash).

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The extra hardware will help boost the value proposition on those pricey, color-changing bulbs, but the fixed Philips Hue White Starter Kit is still my top pick for an entry point into Philips Hue. The key is really that Hue Bridge -- it lets you connect the bulbs with all sorts of outside platforms and services, including Alexa, Siri, the Google Assistant, SmartThings, IFTTT, Nest, and more.

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Coming this October: Color-changing candelabra bulbs for $50 a pop.

Philips

Plus, no matter which starter kit you get, your Hue Bridge will work with every kind of Hue bulb (and a lot of inexpensive, third-party ZigBee bulbs, too). That means you can start with the cheaper Philips Hue White bulbs, then add color-changing bulbs to your setup later a la carte style.

In addition to the new starter kit strategy, Philips tells us to keep an eye out for three new products this October. The first is a flame-shaped color-changing bulb designed for use in candelabras that'll cost $50 a piece. That seems pretty excessive to me -- they'll almost certainly be dimmer than the full-size A-shaped bulbs, which also cost $50 each. Plus, you'll probably need to buy five or six of them to fill a chandelier.

The other October arrivals are a new $230 White Ambiance "Cher Suspension" fixture designed to hang above your dining room table, as well as a White Ambiance recessed light that'll come in multiple sizes and cost $35.