Review: Philips Hue Wellner lamp with Apple HomeKit

Posted:
in iPhone
If you're into its style, the Philips Hue Wellner lamp can be a decent way to way to expand an existing Hue setup, but it's not much good to people who haven't invested -- or plan to invest -- in the ecosystem.

Philips Hue Wellner


As a rule, smart bulbs are usually sold on their own or in kits with other bulbs, sometimes as part of a package with a control hub. Manufacturers presume that you already have a lamp or other fixture to screw them into.

Philips has a huge lighting division, though, and it makes sense that they would be able to sell you both products at the same time. Enter the Hue Wellner, nominally a one-stop solution for smart lighting. Included is a lamp and a Hue White Ambiance bulb.

People familiar with Hue will notice a major omission though: the Hue Bridge. While you can theoretically pair the White Ambiance with a Hue dimmer switch and leave things be, that'd be crazy -- you might as well have bought a conventional lamp. Essential smarthome functions like timers, remote access, and integration with Apple HomeKit require the Bridge, which costs $52 from Amazon.com.

If you do have a Bridge, the Wellner becomes palatable. Via the Hue iPhone and iPad app, or Apple's own Home app, you can assign the lamp to a room and weave it into elaborate scenes and automations. Some functions are limited to the Hue app, such as gradual "Wake up" and "Go to sleep" routines, or modeling a lighting scene on colors pulled from an image in your camera roll.

In fact reviewing the Wellner reminded us of how limited the iOS Home app is. Nothing like "Wake up" is possible in Apple's software, since lights are either on or off in scenes and automations, even if you can pick the color and brightness for individual bulbs. That's a shame, because I enjoyed being woken up gently.

Philips Hue iPhone app


Some people may be disappointed that Philips doesn't include a full-color bulb, but the White Ambiance is probably more than enough for most people. It delivers cool and warm color temperatures along the white spectrum, with an emphasis on matching the time of day.

At a maximum 800 lumens, there are brighter LED options available, and the bulb's power is further diminished by the Wellner's frosted glass. That said I found it to be sufficiently bright for settings like a desktop or bedroom, with the frosting creating a pleasing soft diffusion.

Philips Hue Wellner


There are a few cautions to make about the lamp's design. First be warned that it's all glass, lacking even some sort of grip on the base to keep it from sliding around. Avoid placing it anywhere there's a risk of it tumbling to the ground, or you may have to sweep up an expensive mess.

Also, its visual appeal isn't universal. I was a fan, but my wife wasn't, and even if everyone is onboard it may not match your decor. It works well with ultra-modern homes but can clash with rustic furniture.

Lastly it has a huge footprint, which can easily dominate nightstands or small desks. Picture a partly deflated basketball and you've got the right dimensions.

Conclusions

The Wellner is a potentially attractive lamp, but inherently crippled without a Bridge. Adding that can push the price to as much as $160, which isn't worth it unless you absolutely insist on the lamp's aesthetic.

I'd only seriously consider the Wellner if you've got a Bridge in tow and want both its looks and White Ambiance effects. Otherwise you're better off buying a Hue Starter Kit and pairing it with your old lamps, and/or shopping for cheaper, neutral lamp designs.

Score: 2.5 out of 5

Where to buy

The Philips Hue Wellner is currently on sale for $87.29 at Amazon.com, a discount of 13 percent off MSRP. Best Buy also has the smart table lamp for $90.99 with free shipping or in-store pickup.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    I love it when companies with superior products reject google and choose Apple Ecosystems.
    daven
  • Reply 2 of 13
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,774member
    The fact that it is not sold with a bridge shows that is meant only for people already part of the Hue ecosystem. It's a rather pointless argument.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,774member
    nunzy said:
    I love it when companies with superior products reject google and choose Apple Ecosystems.

    What irks me though, are all the smart appliances with Alexa built-in - NO THANKS! I'd rather not have every electronic device in my home come with a microphone built-in, especially those that connect directly to the Internet.

    I Siri-ously prefer Apple's HomeKit approach of a secure and private buffer between myself and my appliances.
    edited May 18 nunzywatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 177member
    mjtomlin said:
    The fact that it is not sold with a bridge shows that is meant only for people already part of the Hue ecosystem. It's a rather pointless argument.

    Yes. In this case the article should start with the disclaimer: "This product review applies only to people who have a Hue Bridge."

    And for AppleInsider articles that apply only to the USA, as many do (due to product availability only in the USA, including some Apple products) the article should start with "This product review applies only to people who live in the USA." I am unhappy when I get halfway through an article on AI only to find that nothing in the article applies to us non-US customers.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    flydogflydog Posts: 93member

    And for AppleInsider articles that apply only to the USA, as many do (due to product availability only in the USA, including some Apple products) the article should start with "This product review applies only to people who live in the USA." I am unhappy when I get halfway through an article on AI only to find that nothing in the article applies to us non-US customers.
    Did you notice the .com at the end of the URL?  When I surf a .uk or .tw website I don’t expect it to be very relevant to the US. 
    edited May 18
  • Reply 6 of 13
    glynhglynh Posts: 126member
    flydog said:

    And for AppleInsider articles that apply only to the USA, as many do (due to product availability only in the USA, including some Apple products) the article should start with "This product review applies only to people who live in the USA." I am unhappy when I get halfway through an article on AI only to find that nothing in the article applies to us non-US customers.
    Did you notice the .com at the end of the URL?  When I surf a .uk or .tw website I don’t expect it to be very relevant to the US. 
    No he’s right. I live in the UK and eagerly devour any article regarding HomeKit in my futile search to get a decent price of kit I can use here only to find its usually US-centric.

    In any case you have to read a good piece of the article only to see the tiny reference to .com at the end of the URL which is very easily missed.

    Unfortunately by then the appetite has been well & truly whetted and ones thoughts have already turned to their credit card number...:)
    edited May 19 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 2,752member
    Sigh...  Another gimmicky gadget....
    Apple needs to take control of home automation...   This approach is way too clunky -- the kind of system that Steve would simply not tolerate.  It lacks simplicity, elegance and functionality. 

    When I invest in the Apple ecosystem I expect a system that works seemlessly, smoothly and flawlessly together without added proprietary third party "hubs".

    If a hub of some sort is required, then Apple could incorporate that into other products -- say the Homepod, or AppleTV or even an Apple mesh router system. 

    Home automation is an important and growing area.   But I think Apple is under-performing in it.  Sort of going through the motions.   That's not Apple.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,043member
    nunzy said:
    I love it when companies with superior products reject google and choose Apple Ecosystems.
    That's nice. This Hue product is natively Google Home compatible too. 
    edited May 19 nunzy
  • Reply 9 of 13
    hagarhagar Posts: 103member
    flydog said:

    And for AppleInsider articles that apply only to the USA, as many do (due to product availability only in the USA, including some Apple products) the article should start with "This product review applies only to people who live in the USA." I am unhappy when I get halfway through an article on AI only to find that nothing in the article applies to us non-US customers.
    Did you notice the .com at the end of the URL?  When I surf a .uk or .tw website I don’t expect it to be very relevant to the US. 
    A .com domain is intended for (worldwide) commercial use. It’s not linked to the US. That’s what the .us domain is for. 
    jeromecwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 13
    mr4jsmr4js Posts: 54member
    More cheap junk from Philips. This company is really lost. Many better choices for technology than Philips. Not only do they make junk, they are a very unethical company.


    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-cartel-philips-infineon-technol/eu-regulators-fine-infineon-samsung-philips-138-million-euros-idUSKBN0GY0YM20140903

    https://www.politico.eu/article/court-decision-cartel-fine-philips-lg-samsung-panasonic-competition/


  • Reply 11 of 13
    nunzy said:
    I love it when companies with superior products reject google and choose Apple Ecosystems.
    I have Hue bulbs and they work with Google Assistant and the Home app. Which part of the article led you to believe that Philips had rejected Google's ecosystem?
  • Reply 12 of 13
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 5,393member
    Sigh...  Another gimmicky gadget....
    Apple needs to take control of home automation...   This approach is way too clunky -- the kind of system that Steve would simply not tolerate.  It lacks simplicity, elegance and functionality. 

    When I invest in the Apple ecosystem I expect a system that works seemlessly, smoothly and flawlessly together without added proprietary third party "hubs".

    If a hub of some sort is required, then Apple could incorporate that into other products -- say the Homepod, or AppleTV or even an Apple mesh router system. 

    Home automation is an important and growing area.   But I think Apple is under-performing in it.  Sort of going through the motions.   That's not Apple.
    Sorry but that’s all nonsense. HK doesn’t require hubs, but some brands releasing home automation devices do. Why? Because they’re using lower-power protocols other than wifi; things like Zwave, Zigbee, etc. Those use a slimmer protocol for device comms, which had advantages. But to talk to your wifi iOS devices require a bridge to, well, bridge the two different communications protocols. 

    If you don’t like this, you’re free to choose a brand that doesn’t do this, and instead uses the fatter wifi protocol in their end points. There are advantages and disadvantages. Youre free to choose. 

    Clearly you don’t use the things you’re critiquing, while throwing out your “Steve Jobs would be never!” trope. Yawn. 
    edited May 21
  • Reply 13 of 13
    gabriellitogabriellito Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I recently bought 2 cheap light bulbs and they work like a charm! No hub required and they integrate with google home and alexa. Very happy with my purchase. Link to the product http://techtake.altervista.org/smart-bulb/
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