With an eye on the gamer audience and that consumer who seeks to improve home entertainment, Philips finally brought the LED bars Philips Hue Play to Brazil. Launched abroad three years ago, they arrive on the domestic market this year with 16 million colors, several configuration modes, Zigbee technology and high price: the kit with two units is sold in the country for R$ 1,149.
The highlight of this product is the integration with screens, which makes the bars change color according to the content that is shown on TV, for example. Also, gadgets can be synced with music. I spent a few days with Philips Hue Play and share my impressions of the product in this review.
Philips Hue Play review on video
Notice of ethics
O Techblog is an independent journalistic vehicle that has helped people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our reviews are not intended for advertising, so they highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each product. No company has paid for, reviewed or had advance access to this content.
Philips Hue Play was provided by Signify on loan and will be returned to the company after testing. For more information, visit tecnoblog.net/etica.
What is legal?
Starting with the strengths of Philips Hue Play, I highlight the lighting and modes available in the app. Before, it is good to emphasize that they were not necessarily developed to light environments such as living rooms and bedrooms. Therefore, the device aims to create a decorative experience in the environment and, for this reason, the brand sends some accessories that allow you to fix the bars at strategic points, such as on the back of the TV or on the sides of a piece of furniture.
Philips has done a good job and when combined they are able to customize the venue, creating a true light show on the wall. According to the manufacturer, the bars have 16 million colors and can reach various levels of white, from 2,000 to 6,500 K, that is, they are the same numbers as the Hue lamp, while the luminous flux is 530 lumens. They are LED with 6.6 watts of power each and are also bivolt. In performance, the available whites are even strong, but they won’t efficiently light the entire room.
In terms of color, I really liked the performance and one bar already enough to make the place personalized — it’s evident that with two, the experience is even better. In the Hue app, the company provides several configuration modes that enhance the user experience. There are several presets for each moment: night light, for reading, concentrating and others inspired by places, such as Tokyo mode, which leaves the lights in blue and pink; and the Ibiza which is between orange and yellow.
I further congratulate Philips for separating the palettes in the Hue app and creating two menus for you to control the cool and colorful options, making the entire system organized and intuitive. In fact, the application is a highlight for allowing automation, has integration with virtual assistants (Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri) and support for HomeKit.
And as the strategy is to serve the gamer audience and that seeks to improve entertainment, the user can install Hue Sync on the computer (for Windows or Mac) and make Philips Hue Play interact with content displayed on the screen or with music. In fact, the feature is pretty cool and the dedicated software worked really well during my tests with movies, games, and playing music from the notebook.
What’s not cool?
Now let’s talk about what’s not cool. Still on the integration with screens, the consumer will face a problem. Philips Hue Play cannot be connected directly to the TV or console. Synchronized color changes to screen content are performed by Hue Sync, in which case you need to mirror the computer content on the TV to have this interaction. It’s a shame, as this block greatly limits the user experience. In addition to mirroring, I was also able to make this communication take place via an HDMI cable and, in both options, I did not experience such a large delay.
We have another limiting factor. To function, Hue Play is one hundred percent dependent on Hue Bridge. I see this as a big problem because: 1) the integration device is not shipped with the lamps; 2) they ask for around R$500 for the equipment. In the end, you will spend more than R$1,600 on this kit analyzed by Techblog, if you don’t have Bridge at home.
I think this system is very complicated, as I necessarily need the Bridge and the application to be able to use the bars. Another thing that bothers me is the LEDs of the same device that are on all the time and could be turned off, especially now that the country is experiencing a water shortage.
Philips Hue Play: vale a pena?
Philips Hue Play LED bars are good devices, they do a great job and have few limitations. However, we are talking about a product that is very restricted due to its price and requires a high investment for a more complete usability. They are sold in Brazil in three configurations: the individual bar sells for R$749; the kit with two, which we analyzed, costs R$1,149; there is also the extension for those who already have one or two Philips Hue Play that goes for R$ 549. And add the Hue Bridge to this account, if you don’t have it.
Despite the high cost and being dependent on other equipment whose price is high, Philips sticks to the agreement when we look at performance. During the weeks when the Techblog passed with the product, I didn’t notice any serious problems: the installation is relatively easy, the integration with the application is decent and the equipment manages to customize the environment very well.
Whether to decorate the gamer setup or productivity, the TV wall or simply another space in the house, Philips Hue Play is a very interesting and fun “toy”. But if in other markets the price tends to drive away some consumers, imagine in Brazil, right? And Hue Bridge, in my opinion, is another stumbling block. Today I wouldn’t have the courage to spend almost R$ 2 thousand on a kit like this, but who knows when Philips launches a more affordable version with Bluetooth?