Philips adds BR30 bulbs to Hue smart LED line

Philips expands its Hue smart LED bulbs with BR30 Connected Downlight Lamp.

Rich Brown

Rich Brown

Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness

Rich is the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, KY. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D-printing to Z-Wave smart locks.

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Philips seems to have its Hue smart light bulbs on an ever-expanding trajectory. The newest entrant: the BR30 Connected Downlight Lamp, available as either a standalone bulb for $59, or in a set of three for $199, which includes the Hue Bridge wireless hub.

Other than their bulb design, the smart home basics of these BR30 lights are similar to those of the original Hue Connected Bulb. Connect the Hue Bridge to your wireless network, and then use your smartphone or tablet to control the bulbs with the Philips Hue app. Programming options include an expansive range of colors, from traditional light bulb hues to more outlandish reds, blues, and greens. You can also tell the lights to behave according to an alarm, a timer, or even your GPS-based physical location.


Where the original Hue bulbs have an omnidirectional design, though, the BR30 and its shrouded bottom portion is geared towards down-facing, recessed lighting fixtures and interior spotlights. They also get a brightness bump, going from 600 lumens in the originals to 630 lumens here. I already found the original Hue sufficiently bright and accurate to more-or-less replace a standard 60-watt incandescent. Given their specs and Philips' earlier success, I expect the BR30's will be similarly comparable with traditional 65-watt BR30 spotlights.

These are not the only LED spotlights on the market. Cree, GE, and even Philips, all offer non-smart alternatives for just a little over $10. I'm also curious to see the width of the spotlight beam compared with traditional BR30 bulbs. We'll have a hands-on review soon, but on paper these lights seem like a worthy, logical addition to the Hue family. As with the other Hue bulbs, the price tag will make these hard to justify as a casual purchase, but smart home enthusiasts and fans of novelty tech products should appreciate them. You can buy them today via Amazon and the Apple store. A European GU10 version of the Hue BR30 bulbs lands overseas today as well, and comes to the US in December.

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