The Philips Hue White & Color Ambience A19 smart bulbs combine the qualities of reliability and versatility. I will make the review of these lamps so convenient and understandable that you will have no doubts about the choice.
Philips Hue White & Color Ambience A19 Bulbs Options
Philips Hue’s selection of smart bulbs with an A19 base is quite wide, and that’s natural. Quality leads to popularity with users, and demand generates supply.
Why Philips Hue the Best?
Philips Hue brand is the top dog when it comes to smart lighting because it has been around for a long time, given its market launch in 2012, and now offers the largest range. The range includes light bulbs, LED strips, ready-made lights for indoors and outdoors, and switching accessories. The A19 candle with the epithet White & Color Ambience fits our application scenario.
The light-emitting diodes reproduce cool and warm white as well as RGB colors. This is the most expensive LED configuration from Philips Hue. According to the manufacturer’s recommended price, you can expect to pay around $80. With a maximum consumption of 5.3 watts, the bulb shines with up to 470 lumens. That is usual for this bulb category and is enough to illuminate smaller areas specifically or to set the scene atmospherically.
Two wireless standards
Unlike most other smart light sources, the current model generation of Hue candles can receive switching signals with two radio standards instead of just one. Bluetooth and ZigBee are available for selection. Which is better? It depends.
In Bluetooth mode, the smartphone is sufficient as the control device. There is no need to purchase and set up a control center. This is great for beginners who want to get started quickly and easily. However, the range of functions is limited.
Ambitious users will miss the control via scenes and switching accessories as well as outside the home and also the integration into automation platforms for the smart home. If you also want to use these functions, you will have to use the second available wireless standard.
ZigBee does not have these limitations and can even do more. Unlike Bluetooth, a mesh function is available. It is automatically switched on and ensures that all bulbs pass on the radio signal to all other ZigBee components in the system. This avoids radio gaps.
Like all ZigBee bulbs, however, those from Hue need a control center that transports the switching signals from the smartphone and WLAN router to the target. The ZigBee gateway called Hue Bridge costs $80 and prolongs the setup a bit.
The setup is similar to that of ZigBee bulbs from other manufacturers: Screw the bulb into the socket, connect the gateway to the power and WLAN router, and follow the instructions in the Hue app for Android and iOS. Although it is mandatory to create a cloud account, the app and the light bulb also work locally, even if the Internet fails. There is an extra app from Philips for Bluetooth operation. Gateway and cloud account are not necessary.
The respective app is also the central point of contact for operation. The basic functions are easy to use. A slider changes the brightness, and a color picker leads to the desired color shade or color temperature.
Design and Features
Activating pre-programmed color scenes is also a snap. It is hardly more complex to create individual lighting scenes. This is fun and leads to great results, especially with Philips, because the software knows how to automatically distribute color gradients to all light sources in the room.
Ambitious users can also learn the many other comfort functions in a larger learning curve. In the Routines section, they can create a wide range of automatic functions. These cause, for example, the light to turn on or off when the user leaves or enters the home.
The automatic dimming function for waking up and going to sleep gently is also very practical. On and off countdowns are also available, as are automations with the optional motion sensor from the Hue accessories range.
A special feature is the ability to match the brightness and color of Philips light bulbs with the picture and sound signals of videos using the additional software Hue Sync and an HDMI adapter for TV feed devices. Using the Hue Sync Box, this now also works for external HDMI players such as Blu-ray players. No other manufacturer offers such comprehensive entertainment lighting functions.
As with all smart light sources, this only works with an active power connection, so the conventional switch must always be on. Only then can the wireless chip wait for switching signals. In this idle mode, the light consumes a moderate 0.2 watts.
However, this is only significant in very large installations, since the measured values of the other comparison participants are also completely acceptable.
Because Philips is compatible with Apple’s HomeKit platform, another comfort function called “Adaptive Light” is available. This is an automatic switch that changes the color temperature of the light over the course of the day from activating cool white in the morning to relaxing warm white in the evening.
The connectivity to various smart home platforms and third-party apps from a very active community is generally a big advantage of Philips Hue. The necessary software maintenance additionally justifies the high price of the components.
Pros & Cons
- Two wireless standards for beginners and ambitious users
- Large selection of lighting control functions
- Extensive system offers many opportunities for expansion
- Exclusive entertainment functions for gaming and TV
- Integration into many other smart home systems possible
- Much more expensive than market average
- Longer training for full range of functions