Philips Hue Smart Plug review: Just the basics, except for the price tag

As a wise house pioneer, Signify’s Philips Hue model is well-known for its sensible gentle bulbs, switches, sensors, and even full indoor and outside lights, most of which depend on its $60 Zigbee-to-Wi-Fi bridge. Extra just lately the corporate has added a brand new line of gadgets that provide the choice of bridge-free management, by way of Bluetooth. That’s the place the Philips Hue Good Plug suits into the combo.

The Philips Hue Good Plug seems to be practically an identical to many different generally accessible sensible plugs, it’s a large, squat, single-outlet system that matches neatly right into a single socket in your wall outlet. It’s simply barely wider than the wall plate, and it’s quick sufficient that it doesn’t block the second socket from getting used.

When you’re not planning to make a deeper funding into the Hue ecosystem, it can save you the $60 you’d spend on the bridge and management this sensible plug with simply your smartphone or pill, utilizing Bluetooth. However this strategy limits you to only 10 Bluetooth-compatible Hue gadgets of any sort.

[ Further reading: The best smart plugs ]

philips hue smart plug installed Christopher Null / IDG

The Philips Hue Good Plug is nameless trying aside for a sticker on high indicating its most supported wattage.

In case your sensible lighting wants are that easy, there are various, many less-expensive methods to fulfill them. Our high decide on this class, Leviton’s Decora DW15P, prices about $25 and connects to your Wi-Fi community—no bridge required. The identical goes for our runner-up decide, the Currant WiFi Good Outlet, which prices the identical as this Hue system, however can management two gadgets independently (and there’s a Bluetooth model of the Currant that prices $25).

Moreover, the Philips Hue Good Plug will get its actual smarts from its interplay with the Hue Bridge, which connects your Hue gadgets to your Wi-Fi community. With the Bridge (and solely with the Bridge) you possibly can management a number of gadgets in your house without delay, use Alexa and Google Assistant. Utilizing the Bridge can also be the one method that you just management gadgets while you’re out of the home.

Right here’s the catch, although: The Hue cellular app has been designed and refined completely to regulate lights, and its total strategy doesn’t all the time translate completely to the sensible plugs. The Philips Hue system has a sturdy set of routines inbuilt: You may have lights activate or off mechanically while you get up or fall asleep, management bulbs to activate while you come house, and arrange timers and schedules. The Hue app doesn’t all the time know what to do with the plug, although, and customers may be confused that Hue’s catch-all group remains to be “all lights,” not “all gadgets.”

I finally discovered the required syntax to get the Hue app working more often than not with the Good Plug, however timers that instruct gadgets to “blink lights” by no means labored (even you probably have a lamp plugged into it).

Philips Hue app timer Christopher Null / IDG

Timers will be finicky to configure correctly.

The Hue Good Plug can also be quick on options corresponding to vitality monitoring or a utilization historical past log. As properly, establishing geofencing so you possibly can management the plug mechanically while you come and go requires leaping by way of quite a few hoops on the Hue web site (exterior of the app), though after I bought it working, this ended up working wonderful in my testing.

And now for the kicker: With an inventory value of $40, you should have bother discovering a dearer, much less succesful sensible plug available on the market—and that’s not even contemplating the value of the Hue Bridge. When you’re already a devotee to the Hue ecosystem, you in all probability have already got a bridge, and the Hue Good Plug’s price ticket may not even part you.

When you do object to the pricing, and you’ve got a wise speaker (like an Amazon Echo or Google Dwelling), that system will be an equalizer—successfully erasing the boundaries between manufacturers and applied sciences. You’ll, nonetheless, have to take care of disparate apps, no less than throughout arrange. And if you happen to’re simply getting began in your sensible house journey you’ll discover loads of extra succesful and extra inexpensive choices available on the market.

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