In case you haven’t been into technology for long, Philips Hue offer a range of smart lighting for smart homes. The company is currently the undisputed king of smart lighting and doesn’t look like it will be going anywhere soon. For anyone wanting to get into smart homes, the Philips Hue Start Kit is where you begin.

So what is the Philips Hue Start Kit? How does it work and what does it do?

Philips Hue Starter Kit

The Philips Hue Start Kit contains three smart bulbs and a smart bridge to connect them. That’s all you need to begin with as long as you already own a smartphone. The bulbs plug into a normal outlet so you can put them wherever you want them. You can place them in different rooms or in the same room to create a look, it is up to you.

The bridge will need to be within reach of the bulbs and also connected to your Wi-Fi router. You connect it via Ethernet cable to your router but everything else is wireless.

Setting it up

Setup is simple. Put the bulbs where you want them, plug the smart bridge into the mains and into an Ethernet port on your router. Download the Philips Hue app onto your smartphone (here for iPhone and here for Android). Everything is controlled from the app, so once installed, turn on the bulbs and the bridge and follow the wizard in the app.

Once set up, you can set the lights, name rooms, change colors, add timers and more. Scenes are like a lighting routine that sets the color while a routine is a schedule. The app has been overhauled a lot and is now simpler and more straightforward than ever.

Using Philips Hue

The Philips Hue system on its own is pretty simple. Once you get a smarter home, you can integrate it into a wider network of smart devices. Using home hubs such as Amazon Echo or Google Nest, you can integrate lighting with blinds, heating, smart locks and more to create a 21st century smart home.

The only real downside to Philips Hue is having to connect the bridge via an Ethernet cable to your router. This limits where you can place it in your home, especially in older properties with thick walls. Other smart home systems have done away with the bridge so it would be nice if Hue could too. That is only a slight issue as most of us can make Philips Hue work in our homes.

Not only is Philips Hue cool, if offers hours of amusement setting up different scenes and getting it to work with a smart home hub and IFTTT recipes. While perfectly acceptable on its own, it is only when used in a wider smart home setup that Philips Hue really comes into its own.