Philips Hue smartens up your porch with new fixtures, a motion sensor
Fresh off of a whirlwind 2018 that saw several new product launches, Philips Hue is adding a bunch of new smart lights and a weather-proof motion sensor to its outdoor lighting lineup.
Ry CristSenior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
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10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
One clear smart home trend at CES 2019: Security-minded gadgets for the outside of your house. From smart lights to video doorbells, products like these are just about everywhere we look in Vegas this year -- and now Philips Hue is getting into the mix, too.
Specifically, the smart lighting powerhouse is introducing a new outdoor version of its motion sensor, along with a couple of new fixtures for the brand's outdoor lighting lineup. All of the new lights will sync with the Hue Bridge, and with Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant for voice control. Here's the full list of what's coming, all of which is expected to arrive this February.
Let's start with the Outdoor Sensor. Like the original, indoor Philips Hue Motion Sensor, it's a small, battery-powered gadget that'll trigger your lights -- inside or out -- whenever it detects motion. The difference here is obviously that it's weather-proofed for outdoor use. Beyond that, the Hue team tells me that it has a detection radius of 12 meters, and a built-in dusk-to-dawn sensor to ensure that it only turns the lights on when it's dark out. It'll cost $50 this February.
Next up, the fixtures. The cheapest is the Philips Hue Welcome Floodlight at $110. It only offers a single, fixed shade of white light -- no colors.
For that, you'll need to spend an extra $30 on the Philips Hue Discover Floodlight. Like the Welcome light, it skips the bulbs in favor of a minimalist, downward-facing rectangle, and it adds in the ability to change to any color you like.
That price difference is interesting to me, by the way. Consider that a color-changing Philips Hue bulb costs more than twice as much as a fixed Philips Hue White LED. With these outdoor fixtures, the margins appear to be much closer.
That means that the color-changing version isn't nearly as much of a splurge. For my money, I'd much rather spend $140 on an outdoor light that can change colors at a party or on Halloween than spend $110 on one that doesn't.
You can get the colors for a little less by going with the other new outdoor fixtures, dubbed Philips Hue Econic. Available as a modernist square prism or as a more traditional lantern that you can mount up or down, the Econic lights each cost $130, and offer full color control. I like the look of them, too, particularly the square version.
"Your home is not only the space within your four walls but includes your outdoor areas, too," says Jasper Vervoort, Business Leader, Home Systems and Luminaires at Signify (formerly called Philips Lighting). Citing "tremendous enthusiasm" for the brand's existing outdoor lights which launched just last year, Vervoort explains that Hue is in a position to offer users both style and substance when it comes to the exterior of their home.
"Most importantly, we're helping them feel safe and secure at home with powerful lighting options, while allowing them to personalize their outdoor ambiance," Vervoort says.
At any rate, Philips Hue is wise to tap into the growing demand for security-minded lighting, particularly with respect to the exterior of the home. The timing is good, too -- Amazon-owned Ring just announced a full lineup of motion-sensing outdoor smart lights to complement its existing lineup of camera-equipped doorbells and a floodlights. I smell a head-to-head brewing.