One of the more popular smart home lighting systems is Philips Hue. The nice thing about Philips Hue is that they don’t just offer regular bulbs, they offer a variety of bulbs to choose from.

The newest Philips Hue light is the Hue Play, which I’ve been testing out for the past few weeks.

Design & Hardware

The Hue Play has a fairly simplistic design with an elongated bar in either black or white. The bar can be displayed in horizontally or vertically or even mounted to the back of a monitor or TV.

 

You can connect up to three Hue Play units to one power supply. The Hue Play offers up to 16 million colour options and you can easily change the light’s brightness.

One thing to note is that the Hue Play does require a Hue Bridge (which is another $70 CAD unless you buy a Bridge in Hue starter kit) to use. If you already have a Hue Bridge, you can easily add the Hue Play to your existing setup.

The Hue Play costs $89.99 CAD for a single unit or $169.99 CAD for a 2-pack. It’s available from Amazon.ca, BestBuy.ca.

Software

To control and customize your Hue Play via the Philips Hue app, which is fairly easy to use. The main screen is where you’ll see the rooms that you’ve set up in the app.

When you tap one of the rooms, you’ll be able to select a specific scene or even create own. You can also change the colour of your Hue Play from there.

The next screen in the app is the Routines which include Home & Away, Wake Up, Go to Sleep, Other Routines, Timers or even Routines from other apps.

The Explore tab is where you’ll see things like Friends of Hue, Hue entertainment which is where you’ll find all of Philips Hue partners like Razer and Light DJ. Hue Labs is where you’ll find experimental features.

The last tab is the settings screen which allows you to make changes to your Philips Hue account, Hue Bridges, Room setup, Light setup, Accessory Setup, Power-on Behavior, Entertainment Areas, Software updates and more.

Probably the most interesting is Entertainment Areas which basically allow you to sync your Philips Hue lights with media you’re watching on your computer or TV. If you want to watch content on your TV and have your Hue lights sync with it, you’ll need to get the Hue Sync app on your computer and then connect your TV via HDMI.

Here’s a great video by Tom The Tech Chap showing off show Hue Sync works.

You can also control your Hue Play using Google Assistant, Siri (via Apple HomeKit) and Amazon Alexa. You can basically change your Hue lights to specific colours or scenes.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Hue Play is a great addition to the Philips Hue system. It’s also a good entry for anyone interested in smart home products.

Pros

  • Easy to set up (so long as you have a Hue Bridge)
  • Tons of colour options (16 million colour combinations)
  • Entertainment area feature is fun to use
  • Philips Hue app is straightforward
  • Variety of mounting options
  • Great smart home integration with other platforms and voice assistants

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Requires Hue Bridge (at additional cost)

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