Philips Hue smart bulbs get what may be their biggest upgrade ever: many light bulbs now come with built-in Bluetooth, so they can be set up and used, even if you don't have the $ 60 hub that was previously needed to get them driving.
Adding Bluetooth to the lamps has some major advantages and only a few minor disadvantages. The big advantage is that everyone who owns a smartphone is able to screw in one of these light bulbs and operate them directly from their phone.
That is great for the Hue line and for buyers – it is now much easier to get started with Hue lamps because you do not have to commit to buying and installing a hub before you know if you are happy with the bulbs in the first. Place. Many other smart lamps have adopted this approach, using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and it has made them much better options for people who only want one or two smart lamps, rather than an entire home full.
The disadvantage of using incandescent lamps in this way is that Bluetooth has a much shorter connection range than the wireless system that Hue lamps have traditionally used – Zigbee – and that they are not remotely connected to the internet. This means that you can only operate them if your telephone is within the reach of the bulbs, or about 30 meters away. If you forget to switch off a light, you cannot use the app and switch it off from outside the house.
Fortunately, Hue lamps will continue to contain Zigbee. So you can buy a lot of Bluetooth lights, and if you want to do more with them later – control them from the house or from a greater range – you can buy the hub to upgrade your system. Signify, which makes Hue lamps, recommends an upgrade if you use more than 10 lamps.
Bluetooth comes first to the traditional A19 lamps and BR30 incandescent lamps of the Hue line. Prices will remain about the same as in the past: $ 15 for a single white lamp; $ 25 for a single sphere with "white ambiance" that allows you to control the color temperature of; and $ 50 for a full color lamp. Signify says that more Hue products with Bluetooth will be released later this year and next year.