The Bad: Hue has replaced the Lux line with Hue White, so retailers are running out of stock as they slash prices. The included bridge does not work with Apple Homekit. Some may find the Lux doesn’t put out enough light, despite being a 60 watt equivalent bulb. Other white smart bulbs on the market (Lifx) offer the ability to change the white color temperature, this only offers one 2700K setting. Maddeningly, Hue still does not have the native ability to automatically turn bulbs on at or before dusk. You have to use IFTTT to accomplish that.
Overall: As retailers are clearing inventory, the only reason you shouldn’t consider the Hue Lux Starter Kit is if you absolutely need Homekit compatibility. This is the lowest priced entry point into the Hue ecosystem that includes a bridge and well worth the purchase. The bulbs are bright enough to light most bedrooms or living rooms, but you wouldn’t want them as a primary light source in your kitchen or workshop. The app is intuitive and easy to use, and it offers quick control widgets for iOS and Android. Hue now works with Alexa and Google Home out of the box, so there is minimal configuration if you’re into voice control.
Don’t let the pro’s vs con’s fool you, there are many reasons why you should consider buying the Hue Lux Starter Kit if you can still find it anywhere. I have seen the price dip as low as $49, which is a steal for two Hue bulbs and a bridge. The problem is that this kit’s days are numbered. Once these are gone you’ll have to dish out $69 or more for the Homekit compatible Hue White Starter Kit.
The Hue Hub
This kit comes with the first generation Hue Hub. It has all of the features of the second generation Hue Hub, minus HomeKit compatibility. Like most hubs, the Hue Hub must be wired to an existing wired network in your house. Once the hub is connected and powered and your bulbs are installed, you can open the Hue app which will walk you through the setup.
You will have to create an account as part of the setup, and then when instructed you will have to push the button on top of the hub to complete the setup. Generally, this process will discover any Hue bulbs you have installed in your house, but if it does not, you can add them by serial number later.
The hub is a little bigger than a hockey puck and requires a network cable and power source. As I mentioned, you will have to press the button on top of the hub to complete the setup, and you may have to do it at other times if the hub loses connectivity. Knowing this, it’s a good idea to put this somewhere accessible and not buried in the back of your entertainment center.
The Hue Lux Bulbs
As with the Hue Color bulbs, the Lux bulbs are cone shaped, but that doesn’t affect their light output to the sides. As mentioned above, they are a soft white/slightly yellow 2700k, which is probably what you would be used to if you have incandescent bulbs now. The bulbs use about 9 watts when they’re on. As with all Hue bulbs, they use about .5 watts when they’re off. Virtually all smart bulbs use some electricity when they’re off in order to continue to communicate with the network.
The bulbs can be dimmed all the way down to .5%, which is pretty crazy, but comes in handy if you want to use the wake up feature to slowly bring up the lights in the morning.
Pictured above, the app has a clean interface. The leftmost picture is the home screen and gives you the ability to turn on or off all of your rooms at once or each individual room. You can also click into a room and toggle individual devices in a room. In the third picture you can trigger or edit scenes in each of your rooms. Finally, in the rightmost screen, you can set up rooms, lights, accessories or bridges.
The Hue app is compatible with Android and iOS, and offers widgets that can toggle lights and trigger scenes.
The Hue Lux starter kit may be your cheapest avenue into the Hue ecosystem that includes a bridge. As they sunset the first generation bridge and Lux bulbs, you can get this at a deep discount from retailers that still have it in stock. If you’re a HomeKit user, or if you wait too long, you’ll have to shell out an additional $10-20 for the new Hue White Starter Kit.
I highly recommend this at its current sub-$50 price tag for any medium sized common room or bedroom. The first generation hub is far from obsolete and the light bulbs will probably last you 20 years. Going forward, the hub will be compatible with all Hue devices and the only missing feature will be HomeKit functionality. Someday Hue may even decide that smart lights should have the ability to turn on at dusk and off at dawn without a third party controller.