Philips Hue Bridge 2.0 and Apple Homekit – Review

Hue Says ‘Hey Siri’

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"Hey Siri, turn on Living Room Wall."

“Hey Siri, turn on Living Room Wall.”

USING THE APPLE HOMEKIT-COMPATIBLE PHILIPS HUE BRIDGE

Philips recommends using the Elgato Eve app to organize our smart home. We simply set up four rooms (Bedroom, Living Room, Dining Room, and Terrace) using the app

Once we had the rooms set up, it was very simple to use the Apple Watch or iPhone to issue commands that were device and room specific. “Hey Siri, turn on bedroom lights” brought the bedroom lights to life. “Hey Siri, dim bedroom to 50%” put them on half brightness and so on.

Going out to the terrace after sunset (which is happening much too early these days)? “Hey Siri, turn on terrace light” (and eventually “turn on terrace heater”) works nicely.

Device specific commands work equally as well. “Hey Siri, turn on Living Room Wall” turned on the Philips Hue lightstrip that lights up wall unit.

Siri’s vocabulary was somewhat limited at first, understanding only basic colors, but an update to iOS 9 allowed her to go beyond red, blue, and orange, and also allowed her to understand modifiers such as “light red.” Apple will probably expand the vocabulary as the updates to iOS 9 roll out.

Siri can also control scenes in Hue, although you have to select the scenes you want to control in the “Siri voice control” option in the Hue app.

Eve also has scenes and we will report on using them in a separate review. Once those are set up one can create a “Leaving now” scene and that will keep the desired lights on to deter burglars, for example.

The Homekit hubs such as the new Philips Hue all have to connect to the same router as the phone, something that was complicated by the installation of a T-Mobile Personal CellSpot (we’ll take a look at that in a future issue), but it was nothing that couldn’t be resolved by moving a few cables.

BOTTOM LINE

The upgrade to the new Hue bridge is a no brainer if you want to have better and more centralized control of your devices as well as the fun of amazing your friends by telling your watch to turn lights on and off. The increase in functionality is substantial and the cost to upgrade is minimal.

Purchase the Philips Hue Homekit-Compatible Bridge and Starter Kit for $199 at Amazon

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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