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Review: Philips Hue Motion Sensor for your Hue lamps

Review: The Philips Hue Motion Sensor is a smart motion sensor that allows you to control Philips Hue lighting.
4.5/5 - (57 votes)

In this review, we look at the Philips Hue Motion Sensor, a motion detector with which you can turn Hue lights on or off.

 Philips Hue lamps were reviewed previously and we were very enthusiastic about this. However, the development of Hue products is not standing still and later Philips launched improved lamps , new luminaires and a motion sensor for the Hue lamps. In this review we look at the Philips Hue Motion Sensor.

What is the Philips Hue Motion Sensor?

The Philips Hue Motion Sensor is a smart motion sensor that allows you to control Philips Hue lighting. Without a sensor, you can turn the lights on or off using the app or an optional switch, you can create routines that automatically turn the lights on or off, and you can have the lights switch on by geofencing as soon as you are in the area. The sensor adds movement in a room to the ability of the Hue lamps to respond.

The Motion Sensor can be placed in any room and monitors at an angle of 100 degrees whether movements can be detected. In the Hue app you can indicate how the sensor makes the lamps respond to movements. This way you can activate a certain scene and you can create a night routine and a day routine. A night routine can mean that when a movement is detected, the lamp is switched on at a brightness of 20 percent, a kind of night light. In addition, the accessory has a light sensor that can be used to determine (set via the app) whether or not the light should switch on when sufficient daylight enters.

The Philips Hue Motion Sensor can be purchased for a suggested retail price of 40 euros.

Philips Hue ecosystem

To deploy the Philips Hue Motion Sensor, you must already have invested in the Hue ecosystem. After all, you already need a Hue hub and at least one lamp. The Motion Sensor is added to your Hue system via the app and can control one lamp or a group of lamps. It doesn’t matter what kind of Hue lamp you use. You can choose the White Ambiance lamps, the White and Color lamps and even the lamps with fixture.

Review: Philips Hue Motion Sensor’s Design

The Philips Hue Motion Sensor is a very small device, actually a simple white block measuring 6 by 6 centimeters with a spherical sensor and a small light sensor at the front. The device is simple and sleek, with rounded corners and no other noticeable elements. The back has a cover behind which are two AAA batteries. According to Philips, these need to be replaced every two to three years on average.

We also find mounting material in the box. No adhesive strips or Velcro, but a plug with screw on which a small magnet can be placed. So if you want to properly attach the sensor to the wall, you have to take the drill. Moreover, thanks to an IP42 rating, the sensor is resistant to some dust and moisture, so a garage or bathroom is also one of the spaces in which the sensor can be placed.

Placement and mounting

You can place the Philips Hue Motion Sensor in three ways. With the supplied screw, plug and magnet you can hang the sensor wherever you want, but that is a definitive position that you cannot easily change. You can also only place the sensor at an angle of 30 degrees or right on the magnet. There are no intermediate positions, so you are not really flexible. You can also place the sensor somewhere, for example on a cupboard or on a windowsill. In addition, you can attach the sensor to a metal surface thanks to the magnet in the back. In all cases it is important to know that the sensor can detect the movements at an angle of 100 degrees. Before you drill a hole, it is therefore wise to test with some adhesive tape whether the sensor can properly detect movements in the relevant room.

However, the very first question you have to ask yourself (even before purchase) is where you want to place the Motion Sensor. We have not equipped every fitting in the house with a Hue lamp, but we have provided the mood lighting in the living room, the lighting in the cinema, the lighting in the bedroom and the lighting in the bathroom. Philips itself already indicates on the website that the bathroom is a suitable space for the sensor, so we started with that.

However, we soon found out that there are probably not many Dutch bathrooms that benefit from this sensor. The moment you walk into the bathroom, the lamp switches on, and the lamp stays on when you brush your teeth or when you stand in front of the mirror. However, most people also have a shower in the bathroom and that is the problem. The sensor cannot detect movements through glass or plastic and this means that the light is automatically turned off as soon as you are in the shower and no movements can therefore be detected. For us this meant taking a shower in the dark once. The bathroom was therefore not the ideal space. Yes, you can set the sensor to, for example, 30 minutes ‘delay’ so that the lamp stays on for another 30 minutes when no movement is detected anymore, but this is again not the best and most energy-efficient solution if you brush your teeth and the light is still 30 minutes stays on. You can also hang a second sensor in the shower itself, but that is just a bit too far for us.

Finding the perfect space for the Motion Sensor turned out to be more difficult than expected because we had no Hue lamps in a hall, garage, kitchen or basement. For the test we turned it around for a while; the lamp in the basement was switched with that of the bathroom. And yes, that worked perfectly. The lamp turned on as soon as the door opened and the lamp turned off within a minute as soon as the door closed. But, that immediately led to the following question; most (small) spaces in which the lamp has to be switched on for a short while to walk through something or to grab something are firstly not quickly provided with a relatively expensive Hue lamp, but above all, those rooms in most cases have a simple light switch at the door . So what is the effort to flip that switch and is that worth the investment of a sensor and Hue lamp (at least 60 euros)? Anyway, we’re going too quickly for this cup.

In short, it is important that you consider in advance which space is really interesting for this motion sensor. Providing a bedroom with the sensor is difficult since you can also move in bed, but a kitchen would again be an option since you are often busy here (so moving) or just walk in to grab something. If there is no movement it may also be dark. The same applies to a corridor or hall, but the question remains whether you want to spend (at least) 60 euros to stop using that simple switch.

Philips Hue Motion Sensor Installation

Once you hang or stand the Motion Sensor, installation is a piece of cake. You open the Hue app, indicate for accessories that you want to add the Motion Sensor, you press the large button on the hub and the sensor has been added to your Hue system. You can then get started with the various settings of the sensor.

 

In the Hue app you have the option to set a night mode and a day mode. You can specify from what time to what time each mode should be used, which lamp or group of lamps should respond to the sensor and which scene is set for that mode. So you can use a scene with dim light for nighttime and a scene with bright light for daytime.

 

In the Hue app you have the option to set a night mode and a day mode. You can specify from what time to what time each mode should be used, which lamp or group of lamps should respond to the sensor and which scene is set for that mode. So you can use a scene with dim light for nighttime and a scene with bright light for daytime.

 

You can also indicate how the lamps should respond to the light sensor. In the app you have the option to use a slider to set the sensitivity of the light sensor and thus indicate at what amount of daylight the lamps do not need to be switched on. You also have the option to set the sensitivity with regard to the movements, but here you only have three positions to choose from. finally, you can indicate how long the lamps should be idle when there is no movement. This is a minimum of 1 minute and a maximum of 1 hour.

 

The Hue app has the option to select up to three rooms. These rooms (with Hue lamps) therefore respond to the sensor. However, the rooms also respond when the sensor no longer detects movements. So if you hang the sensor in the hallway and let the lights come on in three rooms, those lights will also be switched off again as soon as no one is walking in the hallway anymore. In our view, one room is therefore the best choice in most cases.

Use of Philips Hue Motion Sensor

We have already indicated it a number of times above, but the use really depends on the room in which the Hue Motion Sensor is placed, and that requires careful thought. What the sensor ‘sees’ is a guide in this and can therefore ensure that the light goes out when you do not want it to. In our view, this makes the sensor particularly suitable for closed and small spaces in which you are only a few minutes, where you are continuously active or where you just walk through. The fact that you can link several rooms / areas is nice, but in most cases only useful if it concerns two corridors or a garage that consists of two parts. In general, the sensor will be particularly suitable for a toilet, a bathroom without a shower, a cellar, a garage, a hallway or a kitchen in which you only want light when you are actually working there. The only question you have to ask yourself is whether using the switch is really so annoying that it justifies the investment in a Hue lamp and sensor.

You must therefore also have Hue lamps in those rooms and for the time being most Hue users will only have Hue lamps in places where mood lighting is important, for longer than a few minutes. Think of the living room, the bedroom and the playroom or cinema. If you use multiple sensors, you could also provide such a room, but in our view these types of rooms are easier to operate using a (Hue) switch, a smartphone or a remote control or button with Hue integration. We also discovered that the cat and the sensor do not mix. If you hang the sensor in a room where pets are also walking around, the lighting will often switch on.

That said, the Hue Motion Sensor is an accessory that does exactly what you expect from it. The motion sensor reacts quickly so that the lights switch on immediately and the light sensor knows exactly when there is enough daylight so that the lamps do not have to switch on. The accessory can also be completely adjusted to your own wishes and can be easily placed and installed. Unfortunately, there is no possibility to integrate the sensor with smart home equipment from other manufacturers, which is possible with the Hue lamps themselves. Integration with, for example, Apple HomeKit or Nest is therefore not an option.

Conclusion

The problem with the Hue Motion Sensor is not that it does not work or does not work properly. On the contrary; the sensor works perfectly, does exactly what you would expect it to do, is very user-friendly, and adds various useful setting options to all this so that you can make the most of the possibilities of Hue. Small drawbacks are the mounting bracket that cannot be adjusted flexibly and the lack of integration with other smart home products. The most important point, however, is the added value of the sensor. There are not many rooms for which the sensor is suitable and those small and enclosed spaces in which the sensor can do its job well are not often provided with Hue lamps in our view. 

Pros

  • Very user-friendly
  • Numerous useful setting options
  • Functions perfectly 
Negatives

  • Number of applications is limited
  • Mounting bracket is not flexible
  • No integration with other smart home products

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