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Review: Philips Hue outdoor lighting,Lightstrip, sensor wall lamps

Review: Philips Hue outdoor lighting, Lightstrip, Impress wall lamp, which is a stylish wall lamp specially developed for the garden

Philips Hue Outdoor lighting

Signify is the largest player in the field of smart lighting, but since last year the focus is no longer just on indoor lighting. The company also focuses mainly on the garden and has launched various series with different lamps. In this review we look at the  Philips Hue outdoor lighting, which is an LED strip that has been specially developed for the garden. We also look at the Impress wall lamp, which is a stylish wall lamp for the garden. And finally, we discuss the Outdoor sensor, which is a motion sensor that can activate the lighting around the house. The Philip Hue Outdoor Lightstrip (5 meters) is for sale for just over 140 euros, the Outdoor sensor costs 49.95 euros and the Impress wall lamp can be purchased for 109.95 euros.

Philips Hue outdoor lighting Design

If we look at the design of the Hue Outdoor products, we actually see the typical Hue design. Although the products differ in appearance, the excellent build quality radiates, and that is something we now associate Hue with. The Hue Lightstrip Outdoor is completely white and a lot thicker than the Lightstrip for indoors. This has to do with the fact that the strip can now withstand all weather conditions, has been given a diffuse layer over the LEDs and is a lot thicker at the bottom for easy hanging or concealing the strip. An adhesive strip is therefore no longer present; you have to do it with the supplied brackets and screws, or you put the strip on the ground.

The Impress wall lamp is black in color, comes with an aluminum housing and glass panels all around. It is a typical wall lamp for outside, but without the loose lamp that will hang in it. Instead, the inside features a white rectangle with LEDs that diffuse the light. The lamp has a sleek finish, without clearly visible screws.

The motion sensor is a lot bigger than the indoor sensor, but this also has to do with protection against wind and weather. The white sensor comes in a black plastic housing and can be mounted in a corner or right on the wall. Because it is a bit larger, it stands out more than the indoor sensor, but for outdoors that is in most cases no problem.

Installation and placement of Philips Hue outdoor lighting

The placement of these Outdoor products requires the most attention. It is wise to check in advance where they best fit in the garden. For the sensor, it works wirelessly, so a plug in the wall is sufficient, but before you definitively confirm the sensor, test whether it can do its job properly in that place. To do this, you first have to add the sensor to the app, which is easy via the accessory settings. Press the setup button on the sensor, let the app search for accessories and when found you can get started. You can directly indicate here how the sensor should respond, more about this later in the review.

The Lightstrip Outdoor installation is a bit more complicated. This strip needs an outlet, so it must be nearby. The included adapter and power cable give you about 5 meters of extra space, and you can also attach the adapter to the wall. You can then place the strip in the garden yourself, but you can also hang it up using the supplied wall brackets and screws.

It is not a problem if the strip hangs in itself because it does not give a disturbing, diffuse light. So first play with the placement of the strip before you confirm it definitively. It is also important to know that the Outdoor Lightstrip cannot be extended or shortened, as this would affect the weather resistance. So you have to do it with the strip of 2 or 5 meters.

The Impress wall lamp can simply replace an existing wall lamp. It is a matter of removing the back of the Impress wall lamp, screwing it to the wall, connecting the cables and screwing the back back against the housing of the lamp. So all that is required are the cables that have to come out of the wall. Incidentally, all products come with screws and plugs so that you can get started right away.

Once the correct position has been selected for each lamp and the cables have been rolled out, coupling is literally plug-and-play. Once the lights are on, you can start up the Hue app, let it search for new lights (or accessories in the case of the sensor) and assign and rename them to a room or space in seconds. Please note; a Hue Bridge is required to operate the lamps. If you already have Hue lamps at home, then you already have the Bridge, otherwise it will still 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 (or accessories) and you can get started. If you do not have the app yet, it is a matter of downloading, creating an account, setting up / linking the Bridge and linking the lamps. When the 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 you go to Room configuration, choose the ‘Garden’ (or create it) and use the lamps here. This makes it easy to switch the entire garden on or off, or to have all the lights participate in a scene.

Signify’s Philips Hue app is a very user-friendly app. 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 on 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.

Additional settings for the sensor

The use of the Lightstrip and the Impress wall lamp actually speaks for itself. Via the app you can place these lamps in the same room as other lamps, you can create scenes, you can link them to, for example, a dimmer switch (remote control) or you can simply give them a color quickly. However, the sensor has more setting options, which we will briefly highlight.

If you go to Accessory configuration via Settings and select the outdoor sensor (Garden sensor) you will get various setting options. For example, you can indicate which rooms / areas are linked to the sensor (in this case the Garden), you can indicate between which times it is day and night, and you can assign a specific scene to that day and night setting. Easy said; when it is nighttime and the sensor registers movement, scene X is started. You determine in the scenes of that room yourself which color the lamps have and whether all lamps should burn. You can then determine yourself after how many minutes the lamps can go out again. Finally, you can adjust the sensitivity to daylight and movements. If you already want light when it gets dark outside, you can set the sensitivity a bit higher. The app immediately shows you how the sensor would react with the current setting and the current amount of light. If the sensor goes off with moving branches or a cat walking past, you can lower the sensitivity to movements. You have to play and try with this until the ideal balance is reached.

However, we immediately faced a challenge because we often already have the lights on outside in the evening. However, if someone comes out or in, the lights will automatically go to the scene set for the sensor thanks to the sensor, and go out after a minute. This is not the intention when the lights are already on, but the Hue app does not provide a solution by default. There is no simple institution that says; if the lights are already on, ignore the sensor. Still, there is a fix for it that you can find by going to Discover and then selecting Hue Labs. Here you will find options that are still being tested and are not yet available in the app. Search for ‘Do not disturb my scene’, go through the same settings as you did in the app and install the formula. This formula does exactly what we want; ignoring the sensor when the lights are on. Unfortunately, the formula overrules the settings that you have fixed in the app at the sensor itself, so that the sensitivity to movements returns to standard. If you change that setting again, the formula is gone. So there is a workaround for this, but we would like to see Signify build this option into the app by default as it is a setting that many will find useful.

Enjoy mood lighting

As you can read in our previous reviews 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 Outdoor products. After all, you can go in all directions to provide your garden with stylish mood lighting and you also have numerous control options.

Firstly, you can of course get started with the app, with which you can have up to 16 million different colors displayed by the Lightstrip and the Impress wall lamp; 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 adjusted.

The Hue sensor Outdoor offers automated operation, purely based on movement. Based on the settings in the app, the sensor sees whether a movement is taking place and when it is dark enough, the lamps linked to the selected scene are automatically switched on. After a self-selected period of, for example, 5 minutes, the lamps go out again. The light sensitivity of the sensor works perfectly and makes it easy to activate some lights, for example, even at dusk. The movement sensitivity is a bit more difficult to set and it mainly comes down to trying. In our case, people walking past were still immediately recognized in the lowest setting, provided they were at a maximum distance of 5 meters. However, the goal was to rule out the cat’s movements, but as soon as it crawled onto the garden table, the lamps went on in 50 percent of the cases. Unfortunately not much can be done about that.

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, the 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 connect even more smart home products so that you can fully automate the lighting.

The Hue Outdoor Lightstrip and Impress wall lamp itself in terms of color rendering, brightness and quality can be compared with the latest generation of individual lamps, for example those with an E27 fitting. The 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 illuminate a garden well, but the best thing is of course subtle mood lighting. The possibilities in terms of colors, brightness and combinations are endless, which makes the system very complete.

Conclusion

When we put it all together, there is very little that we don’t like about the new Hue Outdoor products. The Outdoor Lightstrip is flexible to place, of high quality and offers a beautiful, diffuse mood light. You can go in all directions to give your garden that little bit of extra atmosphere. The Impress wall lamp offers the same, diffuse mood light but can also easily be used as a functional light source. The lamp has a sleek finish and is easy to install. The Outdoor sensor does what it should do; registering movements and allowing your lamps to respond to them. We would have liked to see an option to ignore the sensor when the lamps are already on, and it is difficult to adjust the motion sensitivity of the sensor very precisely. The prices of Hue bulbs are generally not low, and these products also cost quite a bit of money. But, in our view, you get a high build quality, high light quality, a beautiful ecosystem and a lot of ease of use in return. As far as we are concerned, these Hue Outdoor products are recommended for all Hue users anyway, but even if you have yet to start with smart lighting, they should not be missing on the wish list.

Pros

  • Plug and play
  • Enhancing the atmosphere
  • Sleek design and high build quality
  • Possibilities are endless

Negatives

  • Not cheap
  • Outdoor sensor cannot be adjusted perfectly

 

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