We're on a roll this week as months of work have finally paid off. We now offer the full Philips Hue Range, all in stock and ready to ship.
The Philips Hue is a range of wireless LEDs - as the name suggests these are wireless controlled RGB LEDs that allow you to set them to all the colours in the rainbow. That's where they came from, but since then, they've also introduced pure white versions - and at £15 each, they're the cheapest wireless LEDs on the market. Add to that some cool accessories like the wireless, battery-less wall switch (yes, no batteries, it generates it's own power from the button press), RGB Strips and wall washers and you have an incredible range of lighting products that just work.
Why I like Philips Hue
As you may have detected, I like the Hue range, actually I like it a lot. I've been using it for a while at home together with my other systems such as Z-Wave. I love how easy it is to use and adapt to your needs.
Firstly, it's easy to use - after all in most cases it's changing a light bulb!! First configuration works out of the box, the Hue Bridge finds the new LEDs, and any other HUE devices you have, and in a couple of minutes you're in business, ready to use it. You can drive everything from the Smartphone app, including adding new devices, creating scenes, moods and timers, as well as controlling individual or groups of LEDs. All very easy.
However, the hidden beauty of Hue to us home automation enthusiasts is that Philips were very clever, they created and published a nice, simple API that's fully documented and open for anyone to use. And I do mean it's easy to use, I have mine doing all manner of things and I'm not a programmer - I normally run as soon as someone mentions an API!
What this means in real life is that you can make Philips Hue do almost anything you like. Simple things like making the Tap Wall switch do more than just trigger scenes - each button of my Taps do three different actions depending on how many times you press them (not many people know that). Going further, Hue can be fully integrated into your existing home automation system - Fibaro, VERA, SmartThings and pretty much all controllers have a plugin to allow them to work with Hue. Then you can control each HUE LED from the Z-Wave system, having Z-Wave motion sensors trigger them is easy. As usual, we'll create guides showing how to do this over the next few weeks.
One final word on technicalities. Technically Hue uses ZigBee as the communication protocol. But, to a large extent, you can ignore this as, thanks to the API, Hue works with all types of controllers. Going forward we see that in new ZigBee controllers the LEDs can work natively in the system - we'll let you know when VERA Plus arrives.
Philips Hue Products
So far I've only really talked about the LEDs that the Hue range is famous for, but the full range covers so many more products. You can take a look at the Full Philip Hue range.
These are what bought Philips Hue to most peoples attention. The latest version called "Hue White and Ambiance" gives variable whites, from cool to warm, as well as the rainbow hue colours. The colour and brightness can all be controlled from the smartphone app or from scenes. This latest version also includes integrated Apple Homekit support. They are available in Bayonet (B22), Screw (E27) and GU10 style fittings. Or you can buy them as part of a Starter kit - three Hue bulbs plus the Hue Bridge for the same price as three Hue bulbs.
These are a new addition to the range, replacing the old 'Lux' range. They are white only and give a nice warm white LED light with plenty of brightness (750 lumens). Their brightness can be controlled from the smartphone app or with scenes. At less than £15 each these are the cheapest wireless LEDs on the market, add that to the power of Hue and you're really rolling.
This is the heart of making the Hue system smart. The Hue Bridge connects to your home network with an Ethernet cable and then allows you to control everything from your smartphone. The bridge runs all scenes and schedules and allows other systems to communicate with it using the API. The latest, version 3, also adds Apple Homekit support. Most people buy the Bridge as part of a starter kit (that way you get it for free), but if you have another version or want to use a second bridge in your system we have it available separately.
This is a cool wall switch - wireless and battery-less, it generates it's own electricity from the button press. It can be mounted on the wall and with a quick twist can be carried around like a normal handheld remote. The four buttons can be used to each control a scene. But that's not all, even though most people think that's all it can do. If you use the API you can make each button do multiple things depending on how many times you press it. I have mine working as toggle switches so that can directly turn a Hue LED On and Off, or turn a scene On and then off with each click of the button. We'll have a guide to show you how to do this in the next couple of weeks.
This is a very new device, it's a more conventional handheld remote - battery powered this time, but it can be easily used to control the brightness of any Hue LED. And, just like the TAP, you can extend it's functionality way beyond what it's advertised to do. Stick with us and we'll show you how.
This is the Hue equivalent of a traditional RGWB LED strip, but it has that extra Hue wireless goodness already sewn in. So you just add it to your Hue system and you have wireless control of its colours and brightness. The Hue Lightstrip is 2m long and includes the power supply and Hue wireless capability. You can extend it a further 1m by using the Hue Lightstrip Extension Pack.
Philips Hue Accessories
As well as the main Hue components there are a bunch of accessories and alternative lighting products - all work within the Hue system.
- Philips Hue Iris - small RGB colour wall washer
- Philips Bloom - large RGB wall washer
- Philips Hue Go - portable (rechargeable battery powered) washer
And there are more to come.
As you've hopefully noted, Philips Hue is much more than some multi-coloured light bulbs. Not all the features are at first apparent, but they are there and we know how to get them working. So, in the usual Vesternet style, we'll show you the secret sauce to get the absolute max from the Hue system - either using it by itself or with another home automation system.
Take a look at the Full Philips Hue range at Vesternet.
Speak to you soon.