Easy to put in and full of the grouping, scheduling, and automatic management performance we’ve come to anticipate from Hue lighting merchandise, the revamped Lightstrip Plus from Signify-owned Philips Hue makes for a simple, efficient method so as to add accent lighting to kitchen counters, stairways, dwelling theaters, and different indoor areas.
Following within the footsteps of its more moderen good bulbs and lamps, the brand new Lightstrip Plus arrives with help for each Bluetooth and Zigbee, that means that these new to the Hue ecosystem may give the 80-inch mild strip a strive with out investing in a Hue Bridge (with one of many trade-offs having the ability to function a most of 10 Hue bulbs in your house by way of Bluetooth).
By their very nature, although, LED mild strips are delicate creatures, and lo and behold, an preliminary Lightstrip Plus check unit failed shortly after we started testing it. A alternative held up properly, however we nonetheless have questions in regards to the Lightstrip Plus’s reliability.
This evaluation is a part of TechHive’s protection of the best smart light bulbs, the place you will discover opinions of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you need to contemplate when purchasing.
Design and specs
The new $80 Bluetooth-enabled Lightstrip Plus replaces the earlier Zigbee-only model, and there’s additionally a brand new 40-inch Lightstrip Plus extension for $25. An 80-inch outdoor, Zigbee-only model of the Lightstrip Plus sells for $90, whereas a 197-inch version retails for $160. The Lightstrip Plus can also be, in fact, a member of the strong Hue ecosystem, which features a dizzying variety of bulbs, lamps, and equipment.
Rated to final for 25,000 hours and 50,000 on/off cycles, the brand new Lightstrip Plus emits a powerful 1,600 lumens, identical as its predecessor. That’s greater than sufficient to mild up a workspace, and certainly, the strip had no bother brightly illuminating my kitchen counter.
The mild strip’s white mild will be tuned from a really heat 2,000 Kelvin to 6,500 Kelvin, the equal of noon daylight on a hazy day. The strip’s LEDs also can glow in 16 million colours.
The mild strip itself is about 0.57 inches huge and 0.22 inches tall, and it has a peel-and-stick adhesive backing. At one finish of the strip is a six-inch built-in wire that snaps right into a small module with its personal adhesive backing. The module, in flip, connects to a roughly seven foot-long energy wire that terminates in a chunky wall wart, which (sadly) is massive sufficient to dam the outlet beneath it. The different finish of the strip has a (delicate-looking) six-pin connector for attaching a number of 40-inch Lightstrip Plus extensions.
Installation and setup
The first step within the set up of the Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus is deciding the place precisely to place it, and a fast Google Image search reveals scores of fascinating prospects. Some Lightstrip Plus homeowners use them to light up stairways and hallways, whereas others stick them behind their TV cupboards to jazz up their dwelling theaters. I opted for probably the most widespread Lightstrip Plus places: beneath a kitchen cupboard, excellent for casting a vibrant glow on my counters. (Another widespread Lightstrip Plus association is each above and under a kitchen cupboard.)
The precise set up entails little greater than peeling off the plastic movie that protects the Lightstrip Plus’s adhesive backing and sticking the strip to a easy, flat floor. You can bend the sunshine strip round corners, supplied that the placement of the bend isn’t close to an LED. If the Lightstrip Plus is just too brief on your wants, you’ll be able to join a number of 40-inch extensions, which will be daisy-chained for a most size of 33 ft. You also can reduce the strip to suit, however you’ll be able to solely snip alongside certainly one of a number of designated traces alongside the strip, that are roughly a foot aside.
That brings us to one of many improvements of the brand new Bluetooth-enabled Lightstrip Plus: the power to reuse snipped-off parts of the strip. (It’s additionally doable, as dozens of YouTube movies attest, to reuse reduce segments of older Lightstrip Plus fashions, however solely unofficially.) You can reconnect two snipped mild strip ends utilizing a small plastic bracket that snaps tightly shut (just one is included within the Lightstrip Plus base package deal). I attempted it myself and sure, it really works, however I’m instructed that the light-strip connector solely works with segments of the brand new Lightstrip Plus, and never earlier variations.
Once you’ve the Lightstrip Plus put in to your liking, you’ll have to pair it both with the Philips Hue Bluetooth app (if you happen to don’t have a Hue Bridge) or the full-fledged Hue app (if you happen to do have a bridge). In each circumstances, the respective Hue apps rapidly found and linked the Lightstrip Plus with none hiccups.
The menu of obtainable options for the Philips Hue Lightstrip will depend on whether or not you go for Bluetooth or Hue Bridge management.
Controlling a Hue mild with the Hue Bluetooth app was once restricted to turning it on and off and altering its brightness and coloration temperature, however a latest replace added just a few extra choices, together with the power to set one-time wake and sleep routines (which steadily ramp or dim the sunshine at a sure time), in addition to a timer that may make the sunshine activate, off, or pulse after a set interval. The Bluetooth app also can join your Hue lights to Alexa or Google Assistant (however not HomeKit, which depends on the Hue Bridge) for voice management.
Despite its latest enhancements, the Hue Bluetooth app can nonetheless solely management a complete of 10 Hue lights, and it lacks the power to group bulbs into separate rooms or put them on schedules or into extra elaborate routines. You’ll additionally have to be in Bluetooth vary (about 30 ft or so) to manage your Hue lights, together with the Lightstrip Plus.
Luckily, you’ll be able to at all times develop your Hue management choices by including a Hue Bridge (about $60 by itself, though they’re routinely included in bundles of Hue lights and equipment). The Hue Bluetooth app can step you thru the switch course of, which entails little greater than urgent the round button on the bridge and ready a minute or so for the bridge to find the sunshine strip.
Once the Hue Lightstrip Plus is linked to the bridge, you’ll have many extra choices, beginning with the power to manage the sunshine strip from anyplace on this planet with an web connection. A bridge additionally permits you to management as much as 50 Hue lights, in addition to group them into rooms and zones, create extra elaborate routines (together with geofenced “home” and “away” modes), and set customized schedules (both for particular occasions or at dawn or sundown). You’ll additionally be capable of sync the sunshine strip along with your TV utilizing the Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box, an more and more widespread choice that provides nifty mild results to films and TV reveals. Last however not least, a Hue Bridge is required for Apple HomeKit management and help for Siri voice instructions.
One function that’s oddly lacking from the Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus is the power to select animated lighting modes, as you’ll be able to with competing LED mild strips. Indeed, the one solution to make the Lightstrip Plus pulse in any respect is by setting a clinking timer or connecting the strip to the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box.
The Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus carried out flawlessly throughout the vast majority of my testing—that’s, apart from when our preliminary pattern unit failed utterly.
First, let’s cowl the good things. Generally talking, the Lightstrip Plus responded to my instructions rapidly over each Bluetooth and Hue Bridge management, and as I beforehand talked about, the 1,600-lumen mild strip simply lit my kitchen counter. I had no bother grouping the sunshine strip with the opposite Hue bulbs in my kitchen, and I managed all of them utilizing a Hue dimmer swap. I even arrange an Alexa routine that turned off all my kitchen lights, together with the Lightswitch Plus, if my kitchen movement detector didn’t detect any motion for 30 minutes.
So far, so good, however the bother arose after I quickly disconnected the six-inch cable on the finish of the sunshine strip from the small energy module with the adhesive backing. When I plugged the fragile six-pin connector (the pins themselves are within the module, with matching holes on the oblong connector hooked up to the sunshine strip cable), the Lightstrip Plus refused to show again on, and certainly it by no means got here on once more. Did I injury the connector after I yanked it out of the module? Possibly, though I don’t suppose I pulled it that exhausting.
In any case, Signify despatched me a alternative (I despatched the broken mild strip again to Hue HQ, and I’ll replace this evaluation if their engineers handle to pinpoint the issue), and the brand new mild strip has labored with out a hitch. A Signify spokesperson instructed me that the corporate has not acquired any related complaints in regards to the Lightstrip Plus, so maybe the failure of our first mild strip was a fluke. It’s price noting that the Lightstrip Plus does include a two-year guarantee (bear in mind to maintain your receipt); nonetheless, it’s regarding that our preliminary Lightstrip Plus check unit failed inside only a couple weeks of use.
If you’re out there for a wise, vibrant, and easy-to-install LED mild strip so as to add accent lighting to your kitchen, hallways, or different indoor areas of your house, the Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus might be the easiest way to go. We’re followers of its intensive choice of good management and automation options, notably when paired to the Hue Bridge, whereas newcomers to the Hue ecosystem can choose to skip the bridge (which they’ll at all times add later) because of the sunshine strip’s Bluetooth help. The failure of our preliminary check unit does give us pause, nonetheless, though Signify’s two-year guarantee does give us some stage of consolation.