Philips Hue's White Ambiance bulbs cut the colors (and the cost)
Philips' newest LEDs don't change colors, but they do change color temperatures offering a variety of white light tones ranging from warm candle light glows at one end of the spectrum and cool Blueish white daylight tones on the other.
Now along with two of those bulbs and this handy physical dimming switch, the $130 starter kit comes with a second gen Philips hue bridge.
That bridge let's you sync the bulbs up with Apple home kit, which means you can control them using Siri voice commands like this.
Hey Siri turn off the test bulb.
Okay the test bulb is off.
My main problem with these lights is that they aren't as bright as you might want.
Philips labels it at 800 lumens, which is about what you'd get from an ordinary 60 watt bulb, but if you check the specs online, you'll see that you only get that brightness at the 4000k setting.
And that is not the bulb's default setting, when you turn it on, it's about 2700k And at that 2700K setting you only get about 450 lumens, a 40 watt bulb's worth.
On top of that, when I try to find that 4000K, 800 lumens setting in the ocean of pixels that the app gives you, the best I could get was about 600 lumens.
That's less brightness than you'll get with color tunable competitors like the LIFEX White 800, the C by GE Sleep LED, and the Stack LED Downlight One other quirk that bugs me, Siri doesn't have a vocabulary for that white light spectrum, so if you ask her, set them to soft light or 2700 K, she'll just look at you funny.
She has no idea what that means.
You have to instead set up a scene in the Hue app that includes color temperature changes and then run that scene.
All that said, the white ambient LEDs work as well as other Philips Hue bulbs, which is to say that they're reliable and fairly easy to use.
And at $30 a bulb, they're also twice as affordable as Hughes' full-color LEDs, and they enjoy the same wide range of third party compatibility.
I just wish that on top of all that, you got a little more brightness for your buck.