Review: Philips Hue Calla – In this review we look at the Philips Hue Calla, compact pedestal lamps with which the garden can be illuminated with 16 million colors. Operation takes place via the Hue app.
We have the Philips Hue lights several times to review subject, but all the lights that were released were created indoors. That can now change with a brand new series especially for the garden. In this review we look at the Philips Hue Calla, compact columns with which the garden can be tightly lit.
What is the Philips Hue Calla?
The Philips Hue Calla is a series of anthracite columns or pedestal lamps that you can place in the garden and operate using the Hue app and accessories. The Hue lamps are integrated in the column and resistant to weather influences. The system works on 12 volts, which is ideal for the garden. All you need is a socket to which the adapter can be plugged in, and up to five Calla columns can be connected to one adapter. The starter pack with one column, 5 meters of cable and the adapter has a price of 139.99 euros. Each extension (a column and 5 meters of cable) costs 99.99 euros. There are only White and color versions – so no White Ambiance variants (with only white light).
The design of the Philips Hue Calla pedestal lamps is as we are used to from Philips Hue (nowadays the company is called Signify); sleek and high-quality. The pedestals are more than 25 centimeters high and more than 10 meters wide, so that they can find their own place in every garden. All pedestal lamps are finished in the anthractite color, with a white shade for the lamp. The columns are made of aluminum and synthetic materials so that they can stand well in the garden soil. In addition, the lamps have an IP65 certificate, which means that they are resistant to spray water. The pedestal lamps have a sleek finish, with only a few visible silver screws with which the outside is mounted on the base.
Installation and placement
The Hue lamps have been very easy to install since the first copy, and the Calla series is no different. It is a complete lamp, so you don’t even have to screw in the fitting. The only thing that is important during the installation is that you figure out in advance where you want the lamps in the garden. Each Calla lamp comes with five meters of cable and a connector, and the lamp itself also has half a meter of cable.
So you have enough meters for the average garden to place the lamps nicely apart. You can place them on a pedestal (on tiles) as well as in the sand. For the latter option, a mounting piece (pin) for in the ground is supplied with each lamp. This is a bit short, but our experience shows that the lamp remains firmly enough in the sand. Please note that the first lamp must be plugged into a power outlet. For this you have an adapter with 2.9 meters of cable available. The adapter can also be mounted on the wall thanks to handy screw holes.
Once the correct position for each lamp has been chosen and the cables have been rolled out, coupling is literally plug-and-play. You screw the base of the lamp, insert the cable through to the outside, screw it onto the connector and then screw the base back to the lamp. If you want to use the pin for in the ground, you must first attach it to the base with a screw to screw back the base. A child can do the laundry. Then it is a matter of putting the lamps in the sand and tucking the cables neatly under the sand. You do not have to hide them very deep because it is a 12-volt system, but keep in mind that there is a cable when working in the garden.
Important; To operate the Hue Calla lamps, a Hue Bridge is required. If you already have Hue lamps at home, then you already have the Bridge, otherwise it will have to be purchased separately.
The Hue app
The Hue app (Android and iOS) is the place where everything can be controlled. If you already have Hue bulbs at home then it’s just a matter of adding the new bulbs and you can get started. If you do not have the app yet, it is a matter of downloading, creating an account, setting up / connecting the Bridge and connecting the Calla lamps. If the pedestal lamps are connected to the socket – and therefore switched on – you can automatically find them in the app. You do this under the heading Settings and then Lamp configuration. Here you can also give the lamps a name directly. Then go to Room Configuration, turn on the ‘Garden’ and put the Calla lamps in here. This makes it easy to switch the entire garden on or off, or to have all the lights participate in a scene.
The Philips Hue app has recently received a major update that makes it even easier to assign, group and control lamps with their own colors, but the Signify app has always been user-friendly in our view. The home screen (the Home tab) gives you an overview of all the rooms you have created. Here you can switch a room on or off directly. If you tap the room, you can choose or create scenes, adjust individual lamps in the room in terms of color and brightness or choose a color for all lamps.
The Tab routines gives you the opportunity to automate. For example, turning off all lights when you leave or slowly turning on the lights in the bedroom as soon as the sun comes up. You can also set timers and create routines yourself. The Discover tab offers you additional options, including formulas (experiments), which means that they are beta functions that are not yet in the app itself. You can also link Hue to other smart home products (Friends of Hue) and download Hue apps from third parties. Finally, there is the Settings tab. Here you can configure the lights and rooms, add accessories, set up HomeKit (Siri), update the software and create widgets.
All in all, the Hue app is a very comprehensive but user-friendly and sleek application. At first it takes a while to find your way through the possibilities and options, but in no time you will understand how quickly you can operate all the lights in the house and outdoors. In addition, the software support for Hue is very good, so updates appear regularly.
Enjoy mood lighting
As you can read in our previous review of Philips Hue lighting, we are a fan of the system, because of the ease of use, the app, the possibilities, the smart home integration and especially the (build) quality. All these elements also apply to the Hue Calla. After all, you can go in all directions to provide your garden with stylish mood lighting and you also have numerous control options.
First, you can of course get started with the app, with which you can have up to 16 million different colors displayed by the Calla lamps; both whites and colors from the full color spectrum. If you have created a number of scenes or selected the standard scenes, you can also use an accessory from Hue, for example the dimmer switch. You can link different scenes to this, for example press once for a summer scene, press twice for a colorful scene and press three times for a night light. You can make it as crazy as you want, because every scene can be adjusted to your own wishes, and every lamp within a scene can also be completely adjusted.
With the dimmer switch you can also adjust the brightness of the lamps or simply switch the lamps on or off. You can also use the Hue motion sensor, so that the lights switch on when someone walks into the garden, although this may not be the best solution in a garden with moving branches and flying birds.
You can also use voice control to control the Hue lamps. If you’re using Apple’s HomeKit, Siri is probably your first choice. Give Siri a voice command which lights, which room or which scene to activate and the lighting will be on in no time. Hue also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you also have freedom of choice for voice control. In addition, Hue integrates various other smart home products and services. For example, our lights switch on automatically when the Woonveilig alarm is activated and the lights turn red when the smoke detector sounds the alarm. Thanks to IFTTT support you can link even more smart home products so that you can fully automate the lighting.
The Hue Calla lamps themselves can be compared with the latest generation of individual lamps in terms of color rendering, brightness and quality, such as those with an E27 fitting. The Calla lamps are therefore also provided with the ‘Richer Colors’ logo, which simply means that they have an even wider color range, which is clearly visible in green and blue, among other things. The lamps offer sufficient brightness to fully illuminate a garden, but the best thing is subtle mood lighting. The possibilities in terms of colors, brightness and combinations are endless, which makes the system very complete.
Philips Hue Calla – Conclusion
With a total price (in our composition) of 440 euros, the Philips Hue Calla system is certainly not cheap, but for that money you get a lot of quality, a user-friendly app, a plug-and-play installation, numerous smart home integration options and a sleek design. But, more importantly, with this system you can add extra atmosphere to your garden, exactly the way you want it. You have to take a few things into account in terms of placement, but once placed you can enjoy beautiful lighting with a few pushes of a button that you no longer have to worry about. As far as we are concerned, the Hue Calla is highly recommended for all Hue users, but even if you have yet to start with smart lighting, the Hue Calla should not be missing on the wish list.
Positives of Philips Hue Calla
- Plug and play
- Sleek design and high build quality
- Possibilities are endless
Negatives of Philips Hue Calla
- Not a cheap system