Last year we reviewed the Hue Go, Philips’ portable fancy smart lighting unit. As we arrive in 2016, here’s the Hue Bloom, another addition to the company’s growing range.
While the Hue family remains very much premium priced, this is another opportunity to have fun with your lighting, syncing it to music, creating lighting patterns and generally splashing out with light.
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Key Features of the Hue Bloom
The Bloom looks like a chubby toadstool, it sits at an angle and can be controlled via smartphone app.
Point it at a nearby wall and it can bounce up to 16 million programmable colors of indirect light around the room, creating a neat ambient and atmospheric effect. It is a powered unit, unlike the Go, so needs to be near a wall socket.
You need a Hue Bridge to use it, but starter kits are available. You can use it to create light effects based on whatever music is playing on your phone or movie is on the big screen.
There’s also a rather tenuous claim that you can play lighting scenes “based on your favorite photos” which sounds like Philips is running out of marketing ideas.
As with other Hue lights, you can control it remotely for some extra home security, schedule the Bloom to come at particular times and manage it all from your smartphone.
Pros of the Hue Bloom
- Energy Savings: Philips’ LED technology claims to deliver up to 80% energy savings over standard bulbs, but surely most of us are on power efficient lighting by now.
- Longer Lasting: They also claim around 20,000 hours, which works out at about 18 years of use, but really, who’s counting.
- Safety First: The Bloom’s aluminum casing doesn’t get hot in use, which is a positive safety feature and the power lead is almost two meters long, so you can be pretty flexible when it comes to placing the unit. The effect is generally pretty subtle, which is presumably what most users will be after, but you can bulk it up with more units if you like.
- Easy to Setup: Easy to program, the Bloom can bring a lot of joy to a room, which can be worth the expense alone, but depending on your tastes the novelty could wear off pretty quickly.
- Easy App Control: The iOS app is usually slightly ahead of the Android app, so that may be a consideration, but generally the app is attractive and easy to use with your Bloom and other Hue lights.
Cons of the Hue Bloom
- Requires Significant Initial Investment: The Bloom isn’t cheap, with a start kit featuring two lights and the Bridge for $190 (check here). However, if you already have the bridge, you can pick up a single unit for around $60 (check here for latest). Even so, now Philips has established its brand, it should be looking to get more realistic with its pricing.
- Works Best for iOS (right now): The Hue Bloom is designed to work with recent iOS devices, supporting those running iOS 8 including the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 and above. It also supports some higher-end Android devices. With Windows 10 Mobile out now, it would be good to see an app for those devices too.
- Not the Brightest: The Bloom is around 13 cm across and puts out around 120 lumens. It is also not as bright as other Philips lights or rivals like the Iris. So, your mileage (or rather, brightness and impact) may vary depending on the paint on your wall, certainly the effect may not be as impressive as the glossy brochure photos, and note that it must be plugged in at all times, it really annoys me when they show them running magically with no wiring!
Of course, you get two with the starter kit, but if you really want to make an impression, Philips will probably be whacking your wallet as your build up a stadium-style light show. Also, the shell is only available in white, so you can’t get units to match your decor.
Final Recommendation – Delivers as Advertised?
Clearly, this is a system for those who like to add a dash of theater to their movie watching and dance parties, or just aren’t satisfied with regular color light.
If you fall into that category then there are other, cheaper, fun lighting systems, but if you already have a Philips Bridge, these are a relatively easy add to your system.
The effect is impressive and once your friends have seen one in action, they’ll probably want one too. Just remember this is designed to be subtle effect, so don’t go expecting a heavy metal concerts worth of lighting effects blazing out of the Bloom unit.
You can check out the latest discounts on Hue Bloom lighting here.