Philips’ $30 Hue Lux bulbs are bright, white and a bit of a UI muddle

If you’re like me, you love your Philips Hue light bulbs, but hate paying $60 per bulb for a connected light that can do almost all colors of the rainbow (a true blue is a problem). For half the price you can pick up one of the new Hue Lux bulbs from Philips that work with the Hue lighting system, but only produce white light.

This is handy if you want to add connected bulbs to other areas of your home, but don’t really see a need for color. For example, I have four Hue lights in my living room, which is open to my kitchen and dining room. I’d like to have all of those bulbs be connected so I can create unified lighting scenes for the area, but I don’t need color in the kitchen — or rather, I can’t justify paying $360 for the six Hue bulbs. I might pay $180, though.

I tested the bulbs out in my bedside table lamps and found them to be about as bright as the Hues, although they technically have 750 lumens to the Hues’ 650 lumens. However, the light they emit is bright with a bit of warmth and is pleasant. For $29.95 you’re paying about $20 to $15 more than a normal LED light depending on the brand, and you get integrations with web services as well as dimming capability. Additionally, since Philips announced back in March that the lights would cost $40 and they now are at $30, it’s possible that we’ll soon see the cost drop again.

If Philips makes BR30 lights I can use in my can lights, I plan to replace my non-connected lights with these as the old ones burn out (although at some point I will hit the 50-light maximum that the Hue system currently has). But beware, newbies to the Hue system, and even pros: the Lux lights caused me a bit of confusion when it came to the user interface. They also wouldn’t automatically connect to the system forcing me to manually connect them via the serial number on the light. This may have been an issue with my homes many competing networks as opposed to the problem with the lights.

Now onto my UI woes. Because [company]Philips[/company] wanted to make sure people were aware that these lights don’t change color, you can’t use them or even select them in lighting recipes. Lighting recipes are for colored lights only. Instead, you have to use scenes. Before now I had used the two terms interchangeably, which meant I dealt with screens that looked like the one below while trying to program my lights and Tap wall switch.

photo (4)

After a quick call to Philips, I figured out my mistake. Instead of creating a light recipe, I needed to create a scene. To do this you must select a photo, as opposed to creating a recipe, when you are trying to add a new scene. I’ve outlined the steps below. It’s not hard, it’s just not particularly intuitive. And for folks who want to use a Tap or tie their Lux lights in with Hues, figuring it out is necessary.

So I like these lights and will likely get more, as I explained in my previous story about my overall Philips Hue experience. For others who want the Lux, individual bulbs are $29.95, and a starter kit containing two bulbs and bridge that will work with Hues and Lux bulbs costs $99.95. They start shipping next week, but the Apple store now shows delivery of late September, so you may have to wait a bit to start playing.