CNET First Look
Philips Hue Connected BulbPhilips' programmable LED lightbulbs offer some intriguing possibilities alongside a high novelty factor.
Hi. I'm Rich Brown from CNET. Today we're gonna take a look at the Philips Hue Connected Bulb Starter Kit. This is $199 set of LED light bulbs and that price probably sounds kind of crazy until you realize what these bulbs can actually do. So in the kit you get 3 LED light bulbs plus the Philips Bridge which connects the bulbs to your home wireless network. Once connected you can then control the bulbs through your smartphone. So the idea is that these bulbs' work is pretty standard light bulbs when you plug them in, but if you wanna get creative, if you wanna set up say alarms or have them go on in certain times the app lets you do that and it's all pretty easy. So the Philips app is relatively easy to use. On the main screen here you can see presets and you can edit all those. Lift out this bottom tab and you see the main control for each of the lights connected to the Hue. The iOS version has a feature called Geofencing that will turn your lights on and off depending on your proximity to your house. There are also third-party apps that will do different features like sync the lights to music and that kind of thing. The Hue also sports IFT which is a service that lets you set recipes to tie different internet services to one another. So for example your candle lights turn on every time you're tagging a Facebook photo or retweet every time you come home, something like that. And if you go on to the IFT app, you'll find a dedicated Philips channel that has all kinds of different recipes you can choose from. Now for all that different functionality there's still probably a high novelty factor with these bulbs. Not everyone wants to get that kind of notification on their home lighting system. Not everyone even wants colored lights. Still what's great about these is that they nail the core functionality of your light bulb. It actually looks like a standard incandescent. You can adjust it along a pretty reasonable range of color to say white, yellow, or blue light depending on what you're doing. And overall it's just a really easy to use, kind of fun little setup. So we certainly wouldn't recommend these if all you want is a basic light bulb, but for the fact that they're so easy to use that they nailed the basics of light bulb functionality and that they present a lot of niche in sort of interesting program functions, it's actually a pretty great product. So I'm Rich Brown. This is the Philips Hue Connected Light Bulb.