New Philips Hue smart bulbs will support Bluetooth in addition to the Zigbee hub-based wireless protocol. That sounds like good news, as it means consumers will be able to save themselves some cash on the Philips Hue hub, but unfortunately, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Those buying the new Philips Hue bulbs will be able to control their lights from their phone by simply hooking them up via Bluetooth. In fact, there’s literally no set-up needed with these new bulbs, you just screw them in and then find them like any other Bluetooth device. Once the bulbs are paired with the phone, you can turn them on and off, change the colour, and everything you come to expect from a smart bulb, however, there are some major downsides.
Those who wish to use Bluetooth will lose out on some of Philips Hue’s smartest features. Want to control the bulbs through the likes of the Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa, better buy a hub. How about create grouped lights in certain rooms? Nope, need a hub. What about controlling them while you’re away from home? Afraid not, needs a hub.
You see, there’s some huge benefits to having the Philips Hue hub, and by giving consumers the option to control the lights using Bluetooth – it could give the consumer hope that they’ll get all of the functionality we’ve come to know and love about the system. In fact, it would have been better had Signify, the makers of Philips Hue, made the decision to make these Wi-Fi bulbs rather than Bluetooth, even though we’d still argue Wi-Fi is inferior due to network interference.
Thankfully, Philips Hue bulbs will still support the hub, and users are encouraged to definitely buy one. After all, there’s no point buying expensive smart bulbs if they’re not all that smart.