Signify, the parent company behind the Philips Hue line of connected lighting has introduced a refreshed range of Hue light bulbs. While the overall specifications and sizes are the same as before, the new release of Hue bulbs include both ZigBee and Bluetooth wireless capabilities. The introduction of Bluetooth enables owners to connect directly to their Hue bulbs, without the need of a Hue Bridge, making it an easier, quicker, way to get up and running.
Previously, the Hue lineup relied on just ZigBee wireless connectivity, which connected directly to the aforementioned Hue Bridge, or devices such as Amazon’s Alexa with a ZigBee radio built in. With Bluetooth, users are now able to have their iOS or Android devices send commands directly to the updated bulbs, including on/off control, changing colors, temperature, scenes, and toggle groups of lighting all through the Hue App. Google Home/Nest support will also be added in the future, and those with newer Amazon Echo’s can simply ask the voice assistant to “discover my devices”.
Unfortunately, there are some limitations with going the Bluetooth only route. The first obvious issue is that users will not be able to see bulb status or control bulbs when outside of the home. In addition, even though HomeKit supports direct Bluetooth device pairing, the Hue bulbs will not support this feature, and users will have to rely on the Hue App. Finally, only 10 bulbs can be paired via Bluetooth to the Hue App at a time. If additional bulbs, out of home control and HomeKit functionality is desired, users will have to fork out the cash for the Hue Bridge.
The updated line of Bluetooth enabled Hue light bulbs are available now in select sizes, with additional types to come in the fall and throughout next year. The traditional A19 and BR30 sizes come in three different versions, “White”, “White Ambiance”, and “White Ambiance and Color” with prices ranging from $14.99 to $49.99 per bulb. A GU10 style bulb will arrive in Europe this fall, along with the A19 size, with prices starting at $19.95. What do you think of Hue going Bluetooth? Are you going to pick some bulbs up now that the bridge is not required? Let us know in the comments below, or via Twitter, @HomeKit_Hero.