Life Style

Philips Hue Starter Set and Smart Plugs in the test: it’s so worth it!

I live in a one-room apartment in Berlin. Among other things, this means that I can reach everything in my apartment extremely quickly. As is the case in one-room apartments – from the “bedroom” to the “living room” to the “kitchen” it only takes a few seconds. And yet there is nothing more annoying for me than having to climb out of bed in the evening to turn off the small lamp to the right of my television. Even worse: I plug and unplug a string of lights from a socket above my kitchen cupboards every day.

For these reasons, I have been keeping an eye on the smart products in the Philips Hue collection for a long time. The idea behind Hue is easy to explain: people like me make lighting easier and even turn it into an experience. There are now an incredible number of products: light bulbs, sockets, table lamps, outdoor spots, wall lights, light strips and much more. You can operate all of these devices via Bluetooth or with an additional control element, the Hue Bridge. The best: You don’t need an extra remote control, because you can control everything via the app.

For my test, I chose the Hue Starter Set and two additional Hue Smart Plugs (sockets). The Hue Starter Set * includes three White & Color Ambiance LED light bulbs, the Hue Bridge and a dimmer switch. The latter is an intelligent switch that you can use as a wall switch and as a remote control. For my test, I disregarded the dimmer switch because I wanted to focus on the app functions.

Quick and easy: Installation of the Hue Bridge and the smart lightbulbs

I unpack the package and at first I am amazed at the lack of instructions. As I search, I quickly notice that a few steps are briefly explained on the box itself. Then it goes on in the app – and much more easily than expected. I connect the Hue Bridge to my WiFi router and the power. Then I download the Philips Hue app. A push of a button on the Hue Bridge and the two devices connect. Now all I have to do is unscrew my old lightbulbs from their sockets and replace them with the Hue LED lightbulbs. They are already reserved in my app. Just a few clicks are enough and I can let the bulbs light up in all the colors of the rainbow, dim them or switch them off completely. Everything from your smartphone.

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance E27 lamp set with bridge – for 86.29 euros instead of 219.85 euros at Media Markt *

Technical details:

  • scope of delivery: 3 lamps, 1 bridge, 1 power supply, 1 LAN cable
  • Light color: multicolored, warm white, cold white
  • lamp: E27
  • operation area: Inside
  • glare-free light: Yes
  • Color temperature: 2,000-6,500 Kelvin
  • IFTTT supported: Yes
  • dimmer: Yes
  • motion detector: No
  • Geofencing: Yes
  • LED color change: Yes
  • Smartlink: Yes
  • voice control: Yes
  • App controllable: Yes

Setting up the smart plugs is also quick and intuitive

The smart plugs are just as easy to install. Since they don’t actually belong in the starter set, you are first advised to connect them to your smartphone via Bluetooth using an additional app (Philips Hue Bluethooth). However, if you have a Hue Bridge, you don’t need another app. The Philips Hue app is enough because you can add your smart sockets here too.

The result of my smart plug offensive: I will never have to get out of bed again to switch off my TV or remove the fairy lights from the socket above my kitchen cabinets. A real relief!

The Philips Hue app – a small universe of light for your mood

Once all the light bulbs and sockets are connected, you can start. From the couch, from the bed, from anywhere you can now control when and where it should light up. In the app you can assign the smart devices from Philipps to different rooms, the so-called rooms, which you can create individually. Depending on how big your home is.

In turn, you can control all connected devices individually within a room. The smart plugs can only be switched on and off. The Hue lightbulbs, on the other hand, can be turned on and off, as well as changing their colors.

Left: the overview of your rooms; Middle: All devices that are connected to the Hue Bridge in a room; Right: Color selection for a Philips Hue LED lamp

Left: the overview of your rooms; Middle: All devices that are connected to the Hue Bridge in a room; Right: Color selection for a Philips Hue LED lamp

In addition to the devices, you can also experiment with “scenes” within the rooms. These convert all devices in a room to a preset setting. Many scenes are already available in the app, such as “Spring Blossoms” – this setting lets your lamps shine in pale pink. “Northern Lights” bathes the room in a cool ice blue and “Night Rest” dims the pears to a pleasant warm orange without much radiance. You can also design and save such scenes yourself, depending on how you feel and what you want to express with them.

The so-called scenes in the Hue app set all connected lamps to a prefabricated setting

The so-called scenes in the Hue app set all connected lamps to a prefabricated setting

Wake up to light with Philips Hue

Another great feature in the Hue app is the “Natural Wake Up” feature. This function is part of various routines that you can create in the app and set according to your needs. I timed my “natural wake up” at 6:30 am. At this time my Hue lightbulbs go on. However, they do not immediately fade at full strength. You can choose whether you want your lights to fade in slowly within 10, 20 or 30 minutes before you wake up.

Conclusion: Are the Philips Hue products worthwhile?

For me personally, the Philips Hue products are the most sensible technology acquisition that I have made in recent years, because they have given me a lot of pleasure and make my everyday life a little easier. In addition, the light bulbs contribute to a whole new furnishing experience that I can completely knock down and redesign with a few clicks.

Philips Hue Smart Plug, smart socket – for 23.90 euros at Amazon *

Technical details:

  • Product type: Socket
  • Energy efficiency class: A +
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • colour: White
  • Weight: 100 grams (according to the manufacturer)
  • scope of delivery: 1x Smart Plug socket
  • compatible with voice assistant: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT
  • System or compatible with system: ZigBee, bluetooth

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