Philips is promising to take the faff out of setting up dimmable lights in the home by taking wires out of the equation altogether.
The wireless dimmer kit promises to do what it says on the tin by pairing a standard white Philips Hue smart light bulb with a tiny wireless remote.
Promises are easy to make though. Is is really that foolproof? The short answer is yes. Yes it is. We’ve yet to see how this thing works when combined with Philips’s wider range of smart lighting products, but customers who are sold on the idea of being able to set up dimmable lights without having to muck around with the wiring will want to know more.
Philips wireless dimmer kit: Set-up and installation
Related: Nice but dim – Philips’s wireless dimmer is a smart light switch upgradeSet-up really couldn’t be any easier. If screwing in a light bulb and pulling out a little plastic tab seems to taxing for you, then stop reading right now.
All you need to do is pop the Hue bulb into a light fitting and turn it on as you would a normal light bulb.
It’s a Edison screw-type bulb, which means if you want to install this in a fitting with a bayonet mount-type, you’ll need to get an adapter. These cost around £1 and are readily available from most hardware stores.
Once that’s done, simply pull the clear plastic tab out from the bottom of the remote, press the ‘on’ switch and watch it spring into life. The first time we turned it on, it took a couple of seconds for the bulb to respond to our commands, but after that it worked instantly, just like a regular light switch.
Philips has designed this specifically to make it easy for people who want to set up dimmable lights at home, but either don’t have the requisite knowledge or don’t want to get a sparky in.
There’s no pairing or syncing involved, although if you’ve already got a Hue Bridge and other Hue products set up, you will be able to control the bulb you get in this kit through the existing Hue apps.
Philips wireless dimmer kit: Design
Related: Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus lets you pimp your kitchen units and Philips Hue tips and tricks – 5 fun things to do with your smart lightsPowered by a single CR2450 battery which Philips guarantees is good for three years, the remote communicates with the supplied Hue bulb over Zigbee and has an effective range of 12 metres.
You can also sync up to 10 white Hue bulbs with the dimmer switch, meaning one control can rule all of the lights in your home.
Because carrying one remote around with you the entire time could get tedious, Philips has designed the control so that it can be magnetically attached to a wall mountable backplate. This means you’ve got the option of leaving it attached and hanging on the wall, in lieu of a regular light switch and taking it down when you want to watch a movie or dim the lights.
The control itself is made from glossy white plastic and features four buttons, two to brighten or dim the lights and two to either shut it off or turn it on. There’s 12 tiers of luminosity, with the bulb kicking out 806 lumens at its brightest.
The digital nature of the control means that you don’t get the same degree of control over your lighting that you would with a traditional dimmer switch, though in theory, the Philips Hue apps should provide this.
Our sample pics below, taken in our studio, should give you an idea of how good the bulb is at setting the mood. Pictures were taken at the absolute brightest, three notches down from that on the remote, three notches up from the dimmest setting and finally at the lowest it’d go.
Philips wireless dimmer kit: Initial thoughts
If you want to quickly and conveniently set up dimmable lights without having to install dimmer switches, you could do worse than dropping £20 on this starter kit. Given that single Philips Hue bulbs cost around £40-£50, the kit in itself is a bit of a steal.
The set-up process is beyond foolproof. No WiFi passwords of tedious periods of waiting for devices to sync are needed. To paraphrase the old Apple slogan, it just works right out of the box.
It remains to be seen how well it interacts with the rest of the Philips Hue ecosystem and whether or not you’ll want to get one of these controls for every light fitting in your house.
The Philips Hue wireless dimmer kit is available to pre-order from Amazon now for £20, but isn’t due to ship until November 30.