Introducing the Philips Hue

Before we get started, we’d like to introduce Ashu Joshi to our readers. He has a background in networking and has used a variety of home automation devices over the years. As such, he brings a useful perspective to our staff and can help augment our review coverage. Note also that as with all of our articles, these pieces reflect the opinions of the writer(s) and are not in any way associated with or influenced by any other source (e.g. other employers).

Philips sent out a review sample of their new Hue lighting system, a set of three Hue lights with the Hue Bridge that allows you to remotely control the lights. Besides being able to turn the lights on or off, the big claim to fame of the Hue is that you can set the lights to a variety of colors, or you can even program them to cycle through colors. Home automation systems are often proprietary and can be quite expensive, so the entry of Philips into this market (albeit in a limited fashion) with their Hue lighting system has the potential to shake things up a bit.

The lights have colored LEDs, and while the initial pack only includes three Connected Bulbs (referred to informally as "bulb" or "light" throughout the remainder of this review), you can potentially add up to 50 lights throughout your house/property. One thing that hasn’t changed yet however is that pricing is quite high: the initial Starter Pack will set you back $200. But how does the Philips Hue work in practice, and could it be worth the cost of entry? Note that at present, the Philips Hue is only appears to be sold through the Apple Store as an “App-Enabled Accessory”, but Android is also supported. Long-term we will likely see support for other operating systems as well, but for now this is primarily an iOS/Android targeted device.

Packaging and Contents

One thing that immediately stands out with the Philips Hue is the packaging. It’s very well designed and eye-catching, and I love that you’re able to get a preview of the lighting options with the dial on the box. I set up my Philips Hue controller and bulbs recently, and my initial impressions have been very positive. It’s very easy to install and the experience of this lighting system is quite the change from your everyday lights. I uploaded a few videos of the package in action so you can see what it looks like.

Included in the package are three Connected Bulbs, and they’re quite a bit heavier than a typical light bulb. Most likely the added weight comes from the controller and antenna necessary to talk to the network, and possibly the addition of multi-colored LEDs adds a bit as well. Whatever the reason for the added weight, at least the heft makes you feel like you’re getting a bit extra for the $60 per light.

The other major item included with the Starter Pack is the Hue Bridge. This is a small, circular, lightweight controller with three LEDs on the top and a large circular button in the center used for the pairing function—Philips refers to it as the “link” button. On the side is an Ethernet port to connect to the home network and a power receptacle. The three LEDs show the status of Power, Ethernet, and Internet connections. There is no lettering to indicate what the LEDs are for but they use fairly common icons to indicate the function.

You also get a power adapter with a reasonably long cable for the Hue Bridge, though this is somewhat subjective. I have seen plenty of products where to save pennies they have short cables that ruin the setup experience and force the use of an extension cord, but for most users the Hue adapter should prove sufficiently long. An Ethernet cable is also provided to connect the Hue Bridge to your network, so plan ahead and realize that the Hue Bridge will need both power and network wires and place it accordingly.

Philips Hue Setup
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  • Egg - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I'm not sure how I feel about Anandtech and Ashu Joshi taking what is essentially a 5 week old blog post http://allthingscc.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/philip... adding inline pictures from http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashuj/sets/7215763258... doing some edition/revision/expansion work and posting it as an article.

    I don't see Brian Klug posting his reviews on his blog.

    (Note: I am not alleging AnandTech took this without permission. But rather that they're repacking content the author already released.)

    On one hand, both AnandTech and Ashu Joshi are perfectly within their rights to do so. On the other, it's a bit deceptive, and certainly unlike the rest of Anandtech's journalism.

    (Typo: "experience of this lighting system *if* is quite the change from your everyday lights")

    Regarding the content itself, this is incredible niche. I would never use colored lights in my home. I can see them having some business applications, but $60/light is a bit steep.

    Also, for anyone whose interest was piqued by the disclaimer, according to http://www.linkedin.com/in/ashujoshi, Ashu works for Cisco. Tangentially related to this article. Nothing to be concerned about, in my opinion.
    Reply
  • Doken44 - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I see your point, but I for one, would never have seen the blog, and am interested to see home automation making bigger steps into the mainstream. Reply
  • ilihijan - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    I just got paid $6784 working on my laptop using these simple steps leaked on this web page. Make up to $85 per hour doing simple tasks that are so easy to do that you won't forgive yourself if you don't check it out! Weekly payments! Here is what I've been doing Epic2.c(om) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I'm not quite sure who contacted whom, but his initial blog post was far less detailed than what we've posted here. Yes, he had the photos, but there's additional information and the text has been heavily edited (mostly by me). It's definitely a niche product, at least from my perspective, but it's also not something we would have normally covered. Since Ashu had the hardware and the knowledge to write about it, and I'm sure most of our readers haven't ever seen his personal blog, I don't really see it as a problem. Reply
  • JPForums - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Agreed.
    I doubt his blog had anywhere near the readership as Anandtech.
    So he detailed the paint job and polished it to bring it in line with Anandtech's standards, then posted the rewrite here where it would reach a much broader audience.

    No legal issue.
    No conflict of interest.
    Plenty of reason to rewrite.
    A subject one wouldn't be surprised to see on a site like Anandtech.
    I find nothing objectionable about this particular situation.
    Reply
  • 2kfire - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    Haters gonna hate... Reply
  • Samus - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    people act as if Anandtech is the New York fucking Times... Reply
  • This Guy - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    Na bro, if they were given a Tesla they would actually test it. Reply
  • Egg - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I didn't see his blog before this email. I found it on his LinkedIn profile. Reply
  • Egg - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    Oops, article, not email. Reply

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