Controlling light bulbs with your phone – genius or gimmick?
Remember clap on, clap off lights? Well, Philips has just upped the ante. On Monday it launched the Hue; a lighting system that you can control via your smartphone. Will it brighten up your day?
Is Phillips’ Hue system just a gimmick? Who actually wants to use their phone to switch the lights on?
Well, from the perspective of a gadget lover, the Hue certainly has the wow factor. Hue LED light bulbs can change to any colour of the rainbow and also dim up and down. You can use pre-set colour moods designed for relaxing, energising and concentrating, or adjust the brightness of individual bulbs.
All of this means that there’s the potential to create multi-coloured party lighting or soothing light to read by, all with the same light bulbs and an app on your smartphone or tablet.
Is Philips Hue a lighting revolution?
I’m going to be trying out the Philips Hue at home, but at this stage it just seems like a toy. I can’t see it revolutionising the way I light my home. Perhaps I’m wrong and in twenty years time we will all want to be able to dim the lights for a movie from the comfort of the sofa, rather than getting up to fiddle with the dimmer switch.
There are also some extra (slightly pointless) bells and whistles. You can take a photo of your favourite scene, say a beach or mountain range, and get Hue to match the colour of the lighting. You can check out Hue in this video from Philips:
There may be some occasions when Hue can be used for more than just impressing your friends. It will let you use your phone to set security lighting while you’re on holiday, or set a alarm clock to gently wake you up in the morning.
The price isn’t right
That might all sound great, but this kind of gadgetry doesn’t come cheap. A starter pack costs £179 for a bridge that connects the system to your wireless router and just three LED bulbs. Each additional bulb is a whopping £49.
So, I’m still to be convinced by the virtues of this technology. To me it just seems like one more thing to complicate life and another home appliance that could potentially go wrong. But perhaps you’ll be keen on Hue. Do you think Philips’ new smartphone-controlled lighting system is a rich man’s toy or a potentially revolutionary product?
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