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New LED light bulbs controlled by iPhone

Philips reveals smartphone-controlled LED lights

You can set different lighting ‘moods’ via your smartphone

Philips has launched a new home lighting system today – the Philips Hue – that can be controlled remotely by smartphone.

The Philips Hue lets you programme a variety of multi-coloured lighting modes, via smartphone or tablet. As well as letting you experiment with colour, Philips says the Hue could be used as an alarm clock to gently wake you up in the morning or to set up security lighting when you go on holiday.

You can select a colour by pinpointing a spot on your favourite photo or by using a colour chart, and you can use pre-set colour moods designed for relaxing, energising and concentrating. You can also set timers and adjust the brightness of individual bulbs.  

We haven’t tested these light bulbs yet but you can read full reviews of the bulbs we have tested in our light bulb reviews.

Cost of LED light bulbs  

The Philips Hue bulbs can be used on existing screw light fittings. Once you’ve fitted them you connect a ‘bridge’ to your home’s wireless router and can then control the system via a smartphone app.

But this LED lighting system doesn’t come cheap – the ‘starter pack’ costs £179 for three bulbs and the bridge that connects to your router. Additional bulbs will cost £49 each and you can use up to 50 bulbs with each bridge. 

LED lights have traditionally been the most expensive type of energy-efficient light bulb on the market and have not been widely used for home lighting, but over the past year these bulbs have dropped in price. 

Light bulb reviews

We are currently testing a large batch of new LED light bulbs in our lab, and expect the results to be ready in early 2013. For now, you can read reviews of the Best Buy light bulbs we’ve found so far.  

We will also be sending the Philips Hue home with one of our researchers in the next few weeks – bookmark this page and come back to see their first impressions of setting up and using the system.

The Philips Hue will only be available from Apple stores and bayonet caps are not yet available. The app is available on Android and Apple devices, but at present the full functionality is only on Apple devices.

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