Philips Hue: Starter Kit Review

Hue-white-and-color-ambiance-E27-starterkit-EMEA-RGB-b0To start off my string of reviews with Philips Hue, we are going to start with the Starter Kit. This is essential in creating your personal experience because it gets it all started with 3 standard LED light bulbs capable of 16 million colors and the bridge which is capable for connecting up to 50 lights. With this starter kit I was able to trick out my bedroom with a light in my corner lamp, desk lamp and my light on the ceiling. I also have a Lightstrip plus behind my TV and a Hue Bloom under my bed and a Hue Go on my dresser, but we will get to those later.

Unboxing —

I know I know, sorry for the comparison, but something I really like that Apple does so well is their packaging, it’s so crisp, clean and simple. Philips Hue fits itself right into that category as well. Everything is so precise and clean cut. Open the box and it’s literally ready to go. I don’t want to use “idiot proof,” but it’s right on the mark. There isn’t loads of directions or crazy loop holes to understand, things to learn… it’s literally ready to go! BAM! BAM! BAM!

box box2 box3 box4

Set Up —

It’s really easy…. Screw in the lightbulbs. Connect the Hue Bridge to power and plug in the ethernet port into your modem. Download the Philips Hue app and follow the instructions from there. It’s really that easy.. in just a few minutes you are already up and running.

Third Party Apps —

In order to enhance your experience with Hue, third party apps are a must. With the new update to the Philips Hue App, could you solely stay there and never download another app? Sure, but why would you? Here I snapped the apps that I currently use: Philips Hue, OnSwitch, Palettes, Huemote, IF & Hue Camera. If I had to narrow it down you can get away with just using the Hue & OnSwitch! Feel free to look up the things you can do with these apps, down right ridiculous. Especially when you get into IFTT because I can change lights depending on weather, time of day, when the Warrior game starts, when the Raiders score, when I get emails, etc. I know these six apps will turn into ten soon.


Price —

The price on this Starter Kit is $199.99, I swore I saw it for $179.99 at Best Buy, but you are looking at a $200 price tag for the start. Is that worth it? Follow below and decide for yourself.

Experience —

Below is what is listed with the Starter Kit, what it does, etc. Everything in color is my experience with it so far, if it applied to me.

Paint with Light

Play with light and choose from 16 million colors in the Hue app to match the light to your mood. Use a favorite photo and re-live that special moment with splashes of light. Save your favorite light settings and recall them whenever you want with the tap of a finger.

How it worked for me: This for me, sums up everything that I will mention specifically below. Read on!

Sync lights with movies

Extend your TV viewing experience to the whole room or lift your gaming experience to the next level. Download a the third party apps and discover the amazing things you can do with Philips Hue.

How it worked for me: In order for this to work you have to download an app titled “Hue Camera.” What this enables you to do is sync your movies to the lights in your room. I have now used it a couple times and it’s awesome, but it’s not all the way accessible yet. In order for it to work you have to set up your phone and have it face the TV for the entire duration of the movie. It not only kills your battery if it’s in use for hours, but it may be hard to find the right spot for your phone depending on how your room is set up. What I would like to see is an app for your TV, something for the Xbox 1, PS4, Chromecast, etc. If you could enable something on your TV to do this automatically it would be a huge selling point. Philips have TV’s that do this, but they aren’t accessible in the USA for some reason… Right now everyone in the UK can get your hands on it.

Sync lights with music

Sync light to your favorite music and enjoy every beat to the fullest. Transform any room into a dance floor and see how light reacts to your music. Download third party apps and get the party started with Philips Hue.

How it worked for me: In order for this to work you can download an app titled “Ambify.”  It is really awesome to use if you are throwing a party or in the right mood, it is so simple and seamless. Check out the video HERE to get an idea of what I am talking about. Awesome all the way around.

Apple HomeKit Compatible

The Philips Hue white and color ambiance starter kit is compatible with Apple HomeKit technology. Ask Siri to turn on or dim your lights or recall presets without touching a single button. Via third party apps you can even link your lights to other Apple HomeKit enabled devices.

How it worked for me: Personally I do not have Apple HomeKit, but I easily can tell Siri to dim the lights, turn them off and on… it’s kinda crazy. Also a note, I have an Echo Dot from Amazon on the way as well which sync’s to these lights. I will no longer need my phone, I can just say the words and magic will happen. As voice activated systems advance the better this part of the product will get.

Create your ambiance

Set the right ambience for any moment with a range of beautiful, natural white light. Use the app to set any shade of white light, from cool energizing daylight to relaxing warm white light. So set the mood. Change the ambience. Feel different. Feel better.

How it worked for me: This for me, when it comes to Philips Hue, is the bread and butter. There are tons of things you can do with these lights, but you can set the mood with anything. Before the lights in your room or living room were white, that’s it, game over. Now with a push of a button in an app like OnSwitch your entire set up could resemble Candle Light, Lightning, Sunset, Nature scenes, Fireplace embers, Fireworks, Love, Color Flows, Home Theater Red, Accent Lighting, Holiday set ups from Halloween to Christmas. There is even one for Passing Clouds that will play tricks like your outside.

Wake Up

Ease your sleeping routine and wake up gently for a fresh start of each day. Philips Hue will help get you out of bed in a nice way. The gradually increasing light intensity gives you the feeling you are waking up naturally with sunlight – rather than the rude awakening of an alarm ringing.

How it worked for me: This setting didn’t apply to me directly because I don’t get up at 5 o’clock in the morning, but I did test this out for sake of this review. Just recently I did have to get up and out so I set all the lights in my room to gradually fade on. It’s very easy to use from the app, I just set it for the 30 minute Fade in routine and I had two alarms that morning. The first came in 10 minutes through the routine and the second 10 minutes later. By the time I got out of bed it literally seemed like the sun would be out. It sounds funny, but it’s legit. For you early risers, this may be something HUGE in terms of purchasing if it’s hard for you to get up while it’s dark.

Light Schedules for Home Automation

Philips Hue can make it seem like you’re home when you’re not, using the schedule function in the Philips Hue app. Set the lights to come on at a pre-set time, so the lights are on when you arrive home. You can even set rooms to light up at different times. And of course, you can let the lights turn off gradually in the night, so you never have to worry whether you’ve left any lights on.

How it worked for me: This is another cool aspect from Philips. I can easily create automation from my phone and have lights turn on and off as I please. If I go on vacation, or just gone for the night I can have my lights go on and off as if I was there. You know you want that. Something else really cool is I can set a proximity through the app and make it so when I pull in the driveway the lights turn on in the house. It’s so easy and really cool when you see it in action. It’s something straight out of the future, but it’s here and now.

Away from home control

You can control your lights remotely wherever you are. Check if you have forgotten to switch your lights off before you left your home, and switch them on if you are working late.

How it worked for me: I had to test this one out on the spot. I knew my brother was home, so I had him go into my room and while I was 45 minutes from home I activated my lights like I was there. I turned on and off all the lights individually. Literally, I can go to the app and see if I left my lights on. Creepy, but awesome at the same time. I read a comment that a Dad does this when he pulls in the driveway from work. When he gets home he changes the color of the lights from the car and his kids think it’s magic every time he gets home!

Comfort dimming

Experience guaranteed smooth dimming with Philips Hue. Not too bright. Not too dark. Just right. No need for wires, an electrician or installation.

How it worked for me: It’s funny because this seems like something useless, but when it’s in the works it becomes a necessity. Plenty of times in college I would do homework or study late at night. Even now I work on the computer late at night, or maybe play a little video games or watch TV and you want light in your room so it’s not pitch black — but also not too bright. I would find myself lighting a candle or two to create that “Not too bright. Not too dark. Just right.” effect. It sounds stupid until you use it. Now with a push of a button and a drag of the finger I can change the dim, the color, the effect.

Smart control

Connect your Philips Hue lights with the bridge and start discovering the endless possibilites. Control your lights from your smartphone or tablet via the Philips Hue app, or add switches to your system to activate your lights. Set timers, notifications, alarms, and more for the full Philips Hue experience.

How it worked for me: Nothing but positive things all around, the Hue App and connection has works 99% of the time. Every now and then, but very rare one of the lights will say “Unreachable,” but after no more than 10 seconds it reconnects and it’s good to go. It’s just my WI-FI internet connection, if a lot of people in my home are using it, I’m sure it affects it just a little.

Before and After shots!

I wanted to give you guys some shots from my room with everything I used in the starter kit. Just drag the photos and you can see some examples of simple color changes. What use to be normal — — — BAM! now it’s Philips Hue. In my final review I will try and do some complete room looks for you guys. (Sorry if these low light night images don’t fit your quality control.) Like I said everything looks even better in person!

Desk Lamp View

Corner Lamp View

Ceiling Light View

Conclusion — is it worth?

When I walked past this at Best Buy I was always hesitant to purchase it. Not because it seemed like a waste a money, but because I was a $200 investment for lights. Was it really something that important? It’s just lights… right? Now that I have it and use it every day, it has become something I should’ve bought a long time ago.

I compare it to getting my home theater system. I would watch movies with the standard sound from my TV, what’s wrong with that? Nothing… but when I have my sound bar, subwoofer and surround sound going it make’s it a movie/television experience. Do you need to have a home theater system, no… but anyone that has one knows it makes all the difference and it’s something you do absolutely need! Same thing goes with these lights, before when I watched a movie or television or worked or hung out in my room at night, it was too dark or too bright in there. Now with a push of a button or two, my room turns into an experience depending on my mood, literally any mood.

This is also something VERY contagious. I have had this for a few weeks and my brother and his girlfriend want to get some for their apartment, my mom wants it, friends want to hop on the train. It’s a Hue Virus! ahaha

Click HERE to visit their website and pick up the starter kit. Either that or head over to your local Best Buy and pick it up. I can almost guarantee you will be back for more. Stay tuned for my next reviews on the Hue Bloom, Hue Lightstrip Plus & the Hue Go!

More reviews on the way!