Philips Hue Starter Pack review

And Philips said, 'Let there be Wi-Fi-enabled light!'; And HCC saw the light, that it was good...

Philips knows a thing or two about lighting, with its Ambilight technology adding a USP to its TV range. With Hue, it’s giving you the opportunity to experiment with intelligent illumination without it coming attached to an LED TV.

The product is simple: Wi-Fi-enabled LED light bulbs that can be controlled via an app from a smartphone or tablet. The Starter Pack provides three bulbs, plus a Wi-Fi bridge that plugs into your router.

Each bulb is of the Edison Screw variety (if you want to use one in a bayonet-fitted lamp you'll need to get an adaptor) and claimed to last 10 years.

Party time

Once screwed in and connected to your Wi-Fi network, the fun can begin. Each bulb in your Hue setup (you can add more for around £50 each, and a Hue network can support 50) can emit whatever colour you like, selectable from a colour wheel on your phone or tablet. Or you can choose one of a number of quirky presets, or 'drag' a shade from one of your own photos. Want to bathe in a garish glow of purple and brown? You got it.

Hue has other tricks (such as the ability to set it to a timer) but for me its biggest appeal is as a no-fuss, low-cost 'smart' lighting array for your viewing room – establishing your own scenes for movie-watching or an intermission is straightforward. The app certainly works better on a tablet than a smallscreen phone, of course, and a 10-bulb network would be expensive, but this is a neat product. The box bears the logo 'I Want Hue'. I know the feeling.


Philips Hue Starter Pack
£180 Approx

Overall: 4.5/5