When Jess and I started setting up our daughter Skyler’s nursery, we knew that we would eventually need more smart lightbulbs. Even though I’d previously bought the basic white Philips Hue smart bulbs before, I want to try their ambient smart bulbs to see how they would work in a nursery setting. The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Smart Bulb Starter Kit that I received not only works with Alexa but with Google Home and Apple’s HomeKit as well.
The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Smart Bulb Starter Kit that I received is a limited edition that comes complete with three lightbulbs, a hub, and a dimmer that allows you to control the light intensity. That ability comes in handy when our baby wakes up in the middle of the night; we can softly illuminate the room without startling her, yet we can see what we’re maneuvering we have to change her diaper or to give her a middle of the night feeding. It’s also convenient that the Philips Hue brand works with all three of the major voice assistants, Google, Alexa, and Siri.
This is the third generation of Starter Kits by Philips, and this edition has some substantial upgrades from previous models, specifically in the Apple HomeKit area. Before, I felt as though the Hue lighting system couldn’t reach its full potential due to Apple’s strict restrictions.
In Skyler’s room, we’ve set it up so that two of the Hue bulbs are in the standing lamp by her crib.
With the lamp closer to her changing table, we opted for a yellow light with a low brightness that isn’t too glaring in the middle of the night when we’re attempting to change her diaper. With the other bulb, we opted for a colorful purple that, thanks to HomeKit, we can turn on separately from the other lightbulb with voice commands, and we can set scenes through the Philips Hue app.
The new Philips Hue third edition promises improved white light, richer colors, and an output of 500 lumens (previous models only carried 120 lumens). Each of Philips’s bulbs lasts 25,000 hours, which, if you use the bulb for three hours a day, should last a little over 22 years; if you use the bulbs for 6 hours a day, they should last a few months longer than 11 years. As someone who hates having to order bulbs from Amazon or going to grab them in a pinch when one goes out, this seems like a lifesaver replacement for both for everyday use and on our pockets when the electricity bill comes in, as they are energy-efficient LEDs.
As this is the third iteration of the Hue bulbs, they’ve come down in price a bit from when the Hue bulb line first appeared. The current generation’s bulbs sell for roughly $50 apiece, which is about $10 less than the first generation.
I typically advise anyone investing in Hue to buy a starter kit like this one, one that has three bulbs and a hub. If you get that kit, then you can place a bulb in your main bedroom, one in your living room, and you’ll still have a third for another room or a second bulb for dramatic lighting effect in either of those first two rooms. In our case, we put the first two bulbs in Skyler’s nursery, as mentioned, and the third bulb went to our living room. We have the living room light set to turn on automatically once we arrive home or at 7 pm — whichever comes first.
Getting the bulbs set up was pretty simple. All I had to do was screw each bulb into its light fixture, Scan the QR code on the back of the bridge, and then follow the on-screen instructions in the Philips Hue app that walk you through the process. While I prefer to use the Apple Home app to control our Hue bulbs, as it is where we manage the majority of our other smarthome devices from, I think most people would probably prefer to control their Hue set-up from the Philips Hue app. The upside to using the Philips Hue app is how detailed it gets in terms of creating lighting scenes and choosing colors.
The Philips Hue lighting system is a fantastic way to illuminate your home — not just with soft or bright white light, but with just about any color that you could ever possibly imagine — short of black light. These lights are great when you want to set a mood or when you need better lighting to work, they can do it all. The initial cost can seem a bit intimidating, especially if you plan to replace every bulb in your home. However, it is not necessary to do that to enjoy intelligent lighting in your largest room, or a few places in your home, right away. Pick a few areas or rooms in your house that would benefit from better, smarter, and perhaps more colorful lighting, and build from there. If you decide that you want more Hue bulbs in your home, you can add them to your set-up over time. But even if you never add more of them, you’ll enjoy the ambiance that you get from your initial set-up.
The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Smart Bulb Starter Kit sells for $179.99; it is available from Amazon [affiliate link].
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Instant control through a variety of apps including compatibility with Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Amazon Alexa; Comes with everything you need; Less expensive than previous models; The bulbs last for 25,000 hours so a little over 11 years at 6 hours per day
What Needs Improvement: The initial set-up is expensive, but if you’d like to add more bulbs you can do so at your own pace over time