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Philips Hue's new motion sensor will light up the room

Coming in October, the new $40 accessory can trigger Philips Hue lighting changes whenever it spots you entering the room.

Ry Crist Senior 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.
Expertise Smart home technology and wireless connectivity Credentials
  • 10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Ry Crist
2 min read

This is typically the time of year when Philips tells us what's new with Philips Hue. And, sure enough, here we are with a new Philips Hue motion sensor accessory. Sync it up with your smart-lighting setup when it arrives this October, and you'll be able to trigger your color-changing smart bulbs just by walking into the room.

The device doesn't look much different from other motion sensors on the market. It's a small, square gadget that you can hide under the bed, mount on the ceiling or stick to the fridge thanks to an included magnet attachment.

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Also included: a built-in daylight sensor that promises to save energy by activating lights only when you actually need them. That's a smart little extra that you won't find in most other motion detectors.

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There's an ambient light detector built into the top of the Philips Hue Motion Sensor. Its job: to keep the sensor from turning on lights unless you actually need them.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The motion sensor is completely wireless, and runs on a pair of AAA batteries. You can pair up to 12 of them with the Philips Hue Bridge, then program which lights each one should control within the Philips Hue app. Once you've got everything set up, Philips promises that the lights will come on within a half-second of motion being detected.

All that said, you could argue that the motion sensor isn't the biggest thing Philips is announcing today. The company also claims that it'll soon start selling new and improved versions of its signature White and Color Ambiance LEDs -- specifically ones designed to shine a little brighter, and to do a better job with greens and blues. That's a welcome fix for one of Hue's biggest flaws, but people who spent $200 to buy in with the second-gen bulbs last October might be justifiably peeved that Philips didn't fix it a year ago.

You'll be able to spot those new bulbs in packaging that carries a new "richer colors" badge. A Philips spokesperson tells us, "Existing Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance bulbs will continue to work as before; however, to get the benefits of the richer colors consumers will need to purchase the new bulb."

In addition to the new motion sensor and the improved White and Color bulbs, Philips is announcing the arrival of some new skews for its Philips Hue White Ambiance LED. That bulb offers adjustable tones from the white-light spectrum -- now, you'll be able to get one with a GU10-shaped base, as well as a BR30-shaped floodlight variety.

The Philips Hue Motion Sensor will cost $40 when it arrives this October (international pricing isn't available yet, but that price comes out to about £30/AU$55, converted roughly). You'll find it on the Philips Hue website, as well as on Amazon and at Best Buy. We'll be sure to test it out in the CNET Smart Home and let you know how we like it.