Lights that turn on before you step in the door, and change colour at a flick of your smartphone? RACHEL XIE finds out what these bulbs can do.
WHAT IT IS
The Philips Hue is a screw-on LED light bulb that can be controlled wirelessly via an app. It can also be switched on and off like a regular light fixture.
To get started, I connected a Philips Hue Wi-Fi bridge (included in the starter kit) to my home’s Wi-Fi router. The bridge links my smartphone and all the Hue bulbs in my house – one bridge can connect to 10 smartphones or tablets, and 50 bulbs.
Next, I downloaded the Philips Hue app, which automatically detects and syncs with the Wi-Fi bridge.
HOW IT WORKS
Hue’s main feature is its ability to cast light of any colour to create a mood. I just had to open the app and select a scene from pre-loaded images, or take a picture with the in-app camera, or choose a photo from my album.
In the app, Hue bulbs show up as icons on the selected scene and reflect the colour of that part of the scene. I could group and drag the icons of several Hue bulbs to change their colours at one go. The app also let me dim or brighten the bulbs, and name the icon for each bulb so I could easily remember which one was which.
WHAT I LIKE
1. Hue detects when I arrive or leave home. I chose to have specific bulbs automatically light up when my smartphone came within the bridge’s Wi-Fi radius. The best part: being able to turn off the lights remotely. 2. It works with other apps and web services. At last count, there were five apps on Google Play and 40 on the Apple App Store. My favourite is Hue Disco ($4.55 on Google Play, $3.98 on the Apple App Store), an app that changes the colour of your Hue bulbs according to the rhythm of your music. I also signed up on IFTTT (ifttt.com) to sync Hue with my social media accounts and web services – the bulb in my room turns blue when the weather forecast signals rain, and green when I receive an e-mail.
Philips Hue Connected Bulb – Starter Pack (three bulbs and
a Hue bridge), $319; Hue bulbs, $89 each, from apple.com.sg
Philips Hue Wi-Fi