Updating my review : The hub itself continues working fine, but since IMO the main use is for bulbs, the issues with their down lights alone is inexcusable. See my review there for dmore details, but basically they’re noisy, overheat and won’t turn off when hot. So, even...
Updating my review : The hub itself continues working fine, but since IMO the main use is for bulbs, the issues with their down lights alone is inexcusable. See my review there for dmore details, but basically they’re noisy, overheat and won’t turn off when hot. So, even though I felt the Hub was 5 star worthy, it represents the Hue system.. which after some time, I see is only good for very specific uses: LED strips, spotlight (outdoor or bloom), Go lamp, etc. With ceiling mounted downlighting, it fails hard. 3 stars feels kind.
I don''t know why some reviews claim these don''t work, or one specifically says Philips products in general don''t work, I haven''t really found that to be true.. Philips is a pretty decent manufacturer in my experience. The Hue is also one of their flagship products right now, well known and pretty widely used.
Setup is pretty idiot-proof (Well I think, except some reviews..) - You connect the hub via included Ethernet cable to your router and use the adapter to plug it in (see note about 5v adapter below) to a power strip / outlet. Download the Hue app on your phone, perhaps you can do it on the PC but it''s definitely meant for the phone and that''s where you''d be most likely to do any controlling anyway, and as long as you''re on the Wifi for the network the Hub is on (if you''re using a wireless AP like me or bridge mode etc., it will connect to either router, regardless of which one has it''s radios on), it will automatically detect and set up the Hub. All you have to do is press the big button on top of the hub. Only note is that you want the hub to be somewhat accessible, since any app that connects, connecting Alexa, etc., all require you to press that button, so if it''s out of the way that''ll become a pain. I keep mine next to my AP router in my office.
If that doesn''t work, something is wrong.. I would double check to make sure you''re on the right network on your phone, that the hub is plugged in (pretty much any router will also show a status light, though it may show orange or flash until it''s set up, it''s still an indicator it''s plugged in and recognized), and you aren''t out of range. Mine found the hub immediately, and I''ve seen a couple friends with Hue hubs and they also had no issues. If it refuses to be recognized by the app it''s possible it''s defective, though more often I''d say something might be off, for example if the phone isn''t on Wifi, it wouldn''t work. I think 99% of people will have an extremely easy setup.
In terms of Hue itself, it has it''s pluses and minuses. It is by far the best "easy setup" smart light solution, and also offers options that some of the more involved solutions don''t such as color, color animations, etc.. If you like being able to change the color temperature of your lights (and there is quite a difference between a very cool, 6-7000 K light and a very warm 3000 K light, the former being basically orange and the latter having quite a blue tint to it), the Hue is probably your best option, and as well, if you like to go for full mood lighting, pretty much everything is offered in a full-color version. There are some direct competitors like TP-Link or other smart lights that are cheaper and don''t require a hub. That''s basically where their benefits end, however. I have some TP-Link lights, and they are hard to group, hard to control, don''t integrate well with Alexa, and sometimes seem to forget what they''ve been set to do. When it comes to them, forget trying to schedule or do much by way of animation, and the third party app support is low, and the TP-Link app, like Philips'', isn''t amazing. Hue does take more, since you need to set up this hub before any lights will work, but considering it''s less than $50 for the Hub, it''s really a minor cost in the overall setup, especially when single lights like the BR30s can be $50 themselves. For quality and longevity in terms of color smart lights, there''s really no comparison, Philips is far ahead of the competitors.
In terms of smart-home lighting, in my opinion, Lutron is the main competitor, as it offers a totally different way of approaching smart lighting. It too requires a hub (more expensive, too), and rather than change your bulbs, you change our your dimmers, to Caseta line wireless switches and dimmers that can be detected by the Lutron app and added into room groups etc. The pluses are: For an entire house, this is by far a cheaper option. If you have recessed ceiling cans like I do especially, you''re talking between 4-6 lights at a minimum per room, and some may have a bunch more. At $50 a pop, that adds up.. I probably have about 20 cans across my entire apartment, plus random closet lights and bathroom cans which are slightly different. So that''s $1000 + the hub to get Hue going for your house, unless you opt for the adjustable white lights, which are somewhat cheaper. By comparison, Lutron costs you about $50 per dimmer, less if it''s just a switch, and that covers each room, so ignoring again bathrooms and closets, etc., I''d have a total of 6 (Bedroom, Guest/office, 4 switches in the main Kitchen/Dining/Living room), for $300 total, making the extra money on the Lutron bridge inconsequential. Like Hue, they hook up to Alexa no problem and it''s easy to set up scenes, though you''re limited only to brightness - if you want to control color temp, you change bulbs. You could technically put Hue bulbs in lights controlled by a Lutron Caseta dimmer, but that''s overkill, you can already control them completely via the Hue app / other apps / Alexa, so it''s one or the other. You also of course can''t do colors, nor can you really switch bulbs for colors unless you got all different color bulbs.. that''s just not realistic.
So, if cost is your #1 concern and you have a large house, and you don''t care about the colors.. you might want to consider Lutron.
If, on the other hand, cost is not a major factor, and you do like having the benefit of being able to do color lighting if you want, Philips will do everything you need it to. They even sell remote/switches, that mount on the wall but are removable, and do not require any wiring - basically, you could have your lights hardwired on if you wanted and just have the app and remote to control it. There''s also the "click", which is kind of cool because it uses the power from your clicking to generate enough energy to send a signal, meaning you never need batteries - and that can hold 4 presets, for your most commonly used settings. If you go with Hue for your whole house, you probably will do most rooms with the adjustable whites - it saves money, and how many rooms do you need to go nightclub on you? Of course, if you''d like to make your entire house feel like a rave, that is an option, but I think most people probably do the whites on most to save money and do color where it''s useful - perhaps in a family room for TV lighting (there are some cool cinematic effects you can setup through third party apps, also the Hue Strip works well as a behind-TV accent glow light), bedroom, whatever, picking one room to be all colorful is probably enough, but that''s really up to your budget. If you have no limit, might as well get the color ones because they do the whites just fine and can always do the full range as well. If you''re still on a bit of a budget, go with the whites where possible.. although if budget is too big of a concern, again, Lutron is certainly the cheaper way to get your home smart-lighted.
I''m probably stupid because I have both, but since Lutron doesn''t offer colors and I wanted them, it was an easy decision. I definitely prefer the Hue, and setup wise it was far easier - I''m no electrician so rewiring the dimmers is stressful at best, the instructions are pretty clear but it''s still rather nerve-racking, even if there shouldn''t be any risk with the power turned off. I''ll still probably use Lutron for most of the house, already having the hub and everything, it''s just far cheaper to add a few more $50 dimmers or $30 switches (for closets, etc., although I doubt I''ll bother making the closet light switches wireless... overkill) than it is to switch over about 10 more lights to Hue. But for, in my case my office / studio, it''s really cool to have. I also have a strip under a bookcase in the room that really adds to the look, and overall it''s great for changing throughout the day. I can have a cool energizing white in the morning, a warmer one to feel like it''s a nice sunset and not winter, and I can start putting blues up late at night when I''m on the computer or playing games (also in here), to help promote sleepiness - and it works. There''s a lot of benefits to the colors, which is what Hue offers over the alternative mainly, and I''m glad I got em.
Do note, the Hue app is pretty widely regarded as.. not so great. There are a lot of 3rd party apps, many free ones that will do a decent job. I found one, i Connect Hue, that does cost but allows you to create custom animations and stuff like that, which no other app I''ve found can do, and is a cool feature. From what I''ve found, only Hue app scenes translate to Alexa, however you can tell Alexa to do any of the scenes from the default App, which includes a different setting for every light if you want it that way - and there is one "colorloop" option that cycles through the colors, though I''ve yet to find a way to tell Alexa to start a custom animation. Still, not too hard to press on the phone.
That''s probably the biggest gripe - the Hue app - but it does work, and there are tons of third party apps that do more than Philips''. As well, it''s still better IME that any of the knock-off / cheaper color-changing smart LEDs, which mainly don''t require hubs but therefore are a lot quicker to get disconnected and harder to group, etc. Using something like TP-Link is fine for a single light, I wouldn''t dare try to my whole house with it though, or it''d be a pain just to try to turn off the lights.
I would probably listen to the review about 5v / 9v adapters since that certainly could fry a unit, however the adapter is white, and unless you''re a big apple person you probably have a lot more black AC adapters than white ones. I have at least 8 different pieces of equipment on and around my desk, they all have black adapters except the Hue hub, so I really think the chances that I accidentally plug the wrong one in are slim. However, if you don''t know that difference and for some reason lost the adapter, it could be tempting to try one that fits - the lesson there is don''t, it would seem. Can''t speak from experience because I''m not trying to fry my hub.
Still seems very unlikely, but IF somehow you got a lemon, between Philips - and really more immediately, Amazon - customer service, you''d have a new one within days. I don''t see how that''s ever really a concern on Amazon, at least if you''re a prime member you simply start a return.. Sometimes you can reach out to a seller and ask if they would prefer to simply send you an extra if it''s a defective unit, however that tends to work better when something isn''t worth sending back - ie heavy, non-electronic stuff, I''d tend to think they''d actually want the defective unit returned.. but that doesn''t cost you anything and at least here this is available same-day, so you can wait for the credit or just replace it. Really though, the chances of that being necessary seem tiny, these are quality products, not some Chinese knockoffs, well built and sturdy. And if it were, Amazon and sellers have always been very quick to make it right.
Would recommend for sure, just with the caveat that there are cheaper options out there for a smart home lighting system if you''re willing to rewire your dimmers, etc., though not with the color choices. There are of course also cheaper colored LED smart lights, but as I said, I''d stick away from them for trying to do a whole house or even a whole room. If nothing else, all of the effort is worth it though, (if you have Echos), when you can just tell Alexa to turn down a light to 10% or tell her to turn a light on if you walk into a room carrying stuff.. you start to take it for granted and get annoyed when you can''t just tell the lights to turn on. Of all the smart home features - smart curtains, smart locks, cameras... lights are probably the most satisfying and useful, so if you do one smarthome thing, do lights. Well, and maybe a lock... Being able to enter in a code or use your thumbprint or a fob to get in is great, and you can have a record of who gets in when, meaning you can give a cleaning lady a code, etc., and setup your own smarthome cameras so you can keep an eye as well.. Yeah, once you start, it''s kinda hard to stop. I''d say Alexa is kinda key to the whole thing though, it''s nice to use your phone and all, but 10x nicer to just be able to tell her to do something. It''s great for bed - you don''t have to turn the lights off and stumble over, you can get in and then tell her to turn off the lights, or if you''re reading, wait a while. It''s great for carrying stuff, it''s great for being lazy... If nothing else, get a couple of refurb echo dots at like $25 and scatter them about. It''s so worth it.