It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and buy what is getting all the hype, in this case, Philips Hue. Just like phone reviews on YouTube, however, there comes a time when you have realizations about the product you bought “6 months later” or “after 1 year.” Unlike popular belief, buyer’s remorse can come way after a week and that’s why we want to give you a peek of what it’s like to own Philips Hue Lights.
What should I know before buying Philips Hue Lights? Before buying Philips Hue lights, you might want to know the third-party apps you can use with them, the different functionalities of different Hue bulbs, the nuances of using the Bridge, and the security issues that can come with Philips Hue Lights.
With its popularity, Philips Hue currently sits at the throne of smart lights. Of course, this is also attributed to its numerous features that make smart lights more convenient and efficient to deal with, but, it does not come without faults. There are several things you should look out for, especially that Philips Hue can make your network vulnerable to hackers. In this article, we will then discuss the main things Philips Hue owners would like you to know before you buy your own kits. So, stick around if you want to know the (almost) secret tips and tricks from users all around the world!
Don’t worry about being limited to the native Philips Hue app. – 1
One thing people are usually afraid of is not getting something to work the way they want it to. If that happens, that something does not only become a waste of their money but also a waste of their time. In the same manner, when buying Philips Hue, current users say that there is no need to feel constricted to the basic app that comes with the lights.
If you feel that its features are not enough to serve the functionalities you would like smart lights to perform, you can look up third-party apps that can do that magic for you. A review on Amazon even singled out two apps that do just that for Android users — Huerray and Ambieye.
Basically, all you need to know is that third-party apps like these have features that the Philips app does not. For example, in the same Amazon review, the user narrates how with Huerray, you can create color scenes and animations in the same room. More than that, you can also sync your device’s microphone to the lights so that they dance to whatever music is playing. You can do the same thing in iOS with apps like Hue Disco and Huegasm.
Ambieye, on the other hand, gives you access to many more color palettes from the website Color Lovers. The user also suggested using the Chrome extension “Lightswitch Pro” that enables you to do the same thing Ambieye does from your Chrome web browser. That said, the sky is literally the limit when it comes to these things. Do note, however, that some of the apps can come at additional costs.
For iOS users, you may want to check out iConnectHue and HueLights which are all the rave online.
To get the most out of Philips Hue’s price, you need to have a good grasp of how to use and tinker smart devices. – 2
Connected to #1, on the techy side of things, making the most out of Philips Hue includes exploring what it can do more than basic lighting. The most popular example would be using your lights with IFTTT which is a powerful app that makes your lights act on triggers. To illustrate this, through IFTTT, you can program your lights to turn off when your phone leaves the house, change colors when the weather changes, and even flash when you receive notifications.
IFTTT is also free for personal users. The paid plans only apply to developers.
Philips Hue lights may not be ideal for your primary lights. – 3
Perhaps one thing you can also remember especially when purchasing the Hue White and Color Ambiance bulbs is that they are “pretty cool but not practical for primary lighting.” A review on Amazon warns against Hue lights not being as bright as would be ideal even when they’re set to “Reading” light. Thus, Philips Hue lights may be regarded by some as extra lights you could get if you have the extra cash. However, there are still others who may disagree!
Different bulbs have different purposes. – 4
To set accurate expectations, do your best to plan and know what you are buying. There are different bulbs to choose from when starting your smart lighting system with Philips Hue. So, make sure to get only what you need because these bulbs can be very expensive. For example, if you have no need for the ability to change the color temperature, just buy the Hue White instead of going for the Hue White Ambiance.
The popular Hue White and Color, as you may already know, can display different colors as well as different temperatures of white. You may also purchase the Hue White and Color PAR16 bulb which is meant for directional lighting. The Hue White and Color BR30, on the other hand, is meant for flood lighting. You can also get the Hue Go which is a bowl-shaped light or the famous Hue Lightstrips which, as you may guess, are flattened rope lights.
The Hue Bridge can malfunction from time to time. – 5
You should also know that the Hue Bridge can malfunction. Common complaints from users are “The Hue Bridge cannot find all my lights,” “I cannot connect to the Bridge,” “The Hue Bridge has no internet connection” or the “The Internet Light is flashing on my Hue Bridge.” Fortunately, there are workarounds to this.
Of course, the primary solution is going to the Hue Support page, browsing the FAQS, and even watching Philips’ how to videos on YouTube. Philips also has customer support from Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 8:00pm EST through 1-800-555-0050. Aside from that, you can fill up an online form and get help over email.
A factory reset is also one of the most common solutions users have found. Basically, this is done by pressing the gap marked as “restore factory setting” at the back of the Bridge for 5 seconds. You also have to make sure that, while you are resetting it, the Bridge remains on. After that, connect all your lights to the Bridge again and it should function properly.
Aside from such workarounds, it would also be beneficial to understand the lights on the Hue Bridge. According to Hue Home Lighting, there are 4 main things on the Bridge: the power light, the network light, the internet connection light, and the sync button. First, the power light should be a constant blue to indicate, intuitively, that the bridge is connected to electricity and is on. Next, the network light indicates that you are connected to the home network and should also be a constant blue.
The internet connection light, on the other hand, means that since you are connected to the internet, you can access your lights remotely. This should also be a constant blue. Lastly, the sync button, when pushed, allows apps to access your Bridge. This gives you the assurance that only apps you allow can make changes to your lights.
Philips updates the Hue Bridge and you might have to upgrade for the added functionality. (You can own more than one bridge as well!) – 6
Since you are yet to buy your own kit, you don’t have to worry about transferring lights from the older generation Bridge to the new one. You might, however, want to know what the difference is between the old and the new Bridge. The only difference you should note, according to users, is that the new Bridge allows Apple Homekit integration. Aside from that, the old version can still perform any essential Bridge functionalities and is even compatible with newer bulbs.
However, if you’re more tech-savvy, you may also want to note that the new Bridge has more internal memory and has a more powerful processor. Moreover, if you are interested in owning a LOT of smart lights, you might want to know that one Bridge can only connect up to 50 lights. So, Philips actually makes it possible to connect two Bridges in the Hue App. All you have to do is go to settings then to Hue Bridges and tap Add Bridge.
Philips Hue lights can be hacked. – 7
Lastly, users warn that Philips Hue lights can make for vulnerabilities in your home system. Check Point Research states that, at a distance of 100 meters, cybercriminals can gain entry with only a laptop and an antenna. Although Philips has already released a patch for this vulnerability, it says a lot about what you should look out for when you own smart devices like the Philips Hue.
One thing you should also learn from this is that it is important to ensure that your devices are always updated. Annoying as they may get, these updates help ensure that your network is less exposed to risks. Definitely, this is an issue you should not take lightly because a breach to your home network can expose all other devices connected to that network. So, make it your mission to make your network secure to keep it safe from hackers and malware.
All in all, owning Philips Hue lights is not as easy as buying a kit, plugging in the hub, and connecting the bulbs. It’s a whole process, one you should always be attuned to from the moment you buy it.
This attention will benefit you, first, because it makes for lights that are cared for and ones that will definitely last long. More so, it also makes for lights that make your home convenient but not at the price of your security. To end, it always pays to know what you are buying into and fortunately for you, by finishing this article, you are already one step ahead.