Best Overall Smart Light
You can control these lights from your Smartphone or tablet, but you can also get yourself a couple of switches at an extra cost. It works over Wi-Fi through a bridge plugged into your router and you get plenty of color options.
Sadly, you can’t add these bulbs to another hub; they only work with the Philips system. And, they’re not exactly cheap.
- Rated #1 in 10 Best WiFi LED Smart Bulbs
In this starter pack, you get two LED light bulbs that provide the equivalent of 60-watts of light, using 20 percent of the energy! You get about 15,000 hours from the light bulb (roughly 4 years), and you can use your smartphone and/or tablet to adjust the brightness or hue of the bulb. You can use up to 50 Hue light bulbs with the same bridge (the controller device), and the starter pack is fully compatible with a number of home automation systems.
One of the features we love the most is the ability to design a lighting concept from your favorite pictures. And, we're fans of the ability to set lights to integrate with the sounds of your movies and music. If you're keen to learn a little more about the light-changing applications, this video demonstrates quite a few of the options.
What's new in these second generation Hue lights? Mostly the Siri controls, as the folks over at CNET point out in their comparison. You'll also notice the jump in lumens from 600 to 800.
What systems does it connect to? You can work with the Philips Hue app, or you can connect this to your Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, or Nest systems. We rather like the flexibility of the integration abilities, which makes this a rather useful set of light bulbs. The link to Apple is a little unbeatable though. If you're whole home runs on i-devices, you definitely want to take a look at these lights.
How does it connect? The Philips Hue hub plugs into your Wi-Fi router. You’ll be able to connect to your lights from anywhere in the world. (Remember those plug-in timers people once used to make their house look occupied? We don’t either. Well, regardless, they will no longer be necessary.)
What colors are available? You get 16 million colors, which is more than you will ever need. And, the warm white is just so lovely. Now, there are plain white lights available too. Actually, there are plenty of lights on offer in the Hue line. If you're not sure what you're after, How to Geek has you covered.
Lumens? You now get 800 lumens which is a big jump from the first generation. We still say it’s not enough for one light bulb to provide all the light in a single room, but you wouldn’t want to pay this price for a bulb of this capacity if you could get away with a single bulb.
Watts or watts equivalent? The nine and a half watts you get with this bulb is equivalent to the 60-watt bulbs you grew up with.
How long should a light bulb last? You’ll get 15,000 hours from a single bulb. That’s actually rather short for a Smart bulb, but we want to forgive Philips for that simply because the other features are just so darn useful.
Cost for starter set? A starter set with the hub and two bulbs costs about $50. That's a nice reduction in price from the old model.
Cost for individual bulb or fitting? You should be able to find individual bulbs for less than the $50 MSRP for a 4-pack, but we know that’s still expensive. That said, most people fall in love with this system. The integrations and options make this a useful Smart lighting system for anyone that can justify the cost.