LED lightbulb gets smart

Published On: Nov 21 2012 01:03:07 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 22 2012 07:00:00 AM EST

Would you pay 200 dollars for a package of lightbulbs? Consumer Reports took a first look at the Hue LED lightbulb system from Philips, which in on sale now.

What’s unique about the Hue? It lets you change the color of the bulb’s light to any shade you want. That’s right! And you can do it wirelessly with a free app for your phone, tablet, or via your computer. You can also set what time you want the Hue to go on and off.

So what do you get for 199 dollars? Three 50-watt equivalent LED lightbulbs plus a device you attach to your wireless router.

Consumer Reports tested the Hue for color temperature, brightness, and accuracy in this sphere. It evaluated the bulb at different light settings, including the default, around 27-hundred Kelvin —
the color of a typical incandescent bulb — and the “concentrate setting”, which is a whiter, bluer light.

“We found that when the light was whiter, it was bright but the color wasn’t very good. When the light was a warmer color and the accuracy was better, it wasn’t quite as bright,” said Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman with Consumer Reports.

Still Philips says the bulbs can provide 16-million different colors so you can customize the lighting in each room. Additional bulbs cost 59 dollars. The Hue’s app lets you to control up to 50 bulbs — so you can light your entire home with these LED bulbs. That is, IF you can afford them.


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