We're taking a big step in the evolution of Philips Hue with our latest product range: Bluetooth light bulbs. This new collection of smart LED bulbs can be controlled via Bluetooth using your smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device, as well as selected smart home assistants including Google Home and Alexa.
They're the same great smart lights we've always had — Bluetooth bulbs still feature Zigbee compatibility — but just with another way to control them.
What does this mean for existing Hue users?
To put it simply: not much. We are starting to build Bluetooth into our existing Zigbee smart bulbs so that they can be controlled by both types of networks. We aren't switching over to a Bluetooth-only system — Bluetooth compatibility is an added feature to our existing design, geared toward those who are just starting out with smart lighting.
This means that people who already have Bridge-controlled smart lights can keep their current setup without any issues. There is no need to replace your existing smart bulbs and you can use both types interchangeably in your system. You don't have to start using Bluetooth-capable lights unless, of course, you want to use the feature.
Eventually, all Philips Hue smart LED lights will feature both Bluetooth and Zigbee compatibility — we're just getting started!
How do Bluetooth lights work?
Bluetooth-capable smart bulbs are perfect for those who haven't yet set up a smart home lighting system. The light bulb only works within the Bluetooth range (about 30 feet), meaning you can control lights in one room of your home. This makes it easy to get a feel for how smart lights work (and just how handy they really are!) before committing to a full Hue system and gaining a broader range of smart lighting features.
Controlling your Bluetooth LED bulbs
To control your lights, you'll need the Hue Bluetooth app. It's a free mobile app, available for both iOS and Android, that is separate from the standard Hue app, which is used if you have a Hue Bridge. With the Hue Bluetooth app, you can turn on and off your lights, dim and brighten them, and set light recipes or custom scenes, depending on what type of bulb you have: White, White ambiance, or White and color ambiance.
You can control your Bluetooth lights with your voice via smart home assistants, such as Amazon Alexa using the Echo Dot 3rd Generation or select Google Home devices.
How are Bluetooth light bulbs different?
If you set up your smart lighting system using Bluetooth, you'll have many of the features of the full Philips Hue system except for those that are only possible with a Hue Bridge.
Bluetooth smart light features
When using Bluetooth, you can add up to 10 smart lights in a room and control them with the app or your voice. You get installation-free dimming, compatibility with the Hue Dimmer switch, and the ability to set light scenes. To see the full list of Bluetooth features — and how they compare with those in a Bridge-controlled smart lighting setup — read more about how Philips Hue works.
What if I want more smart lighting features?
Luckily, upgrading your Philips Hue with Bluetooth smart lighting system requires only one thing: a Hue Bridge. The Bridge allows you to connect up to 50 smart lights in and outside of your home, control your lights from anywhere, use the full line of Hue and Friends of Hue smart accessories, set timers and routines, and more. The Bridge also gives you access to Hue Sync, which pairs your smart lights with the music, movies, or games on your computer for a more immersive experience.
There is a lot more to Philips Hue smart lighting, and Bluetooth lights give everyone a chance to test out the system's impressive capabilities before turning your whole home into one any "enthuesiast" would envy.