While Philips Hue remains the best smart lighting system in terms of the range of bulbs and controllers available, the app hasn’t seen a lot of attention in years. Now, Philips is addressing this with the new Hue App 3.0.
Philips Hue App 3.0 – New look and scenes
Fire up the new app, and it’s clear that Philips has opted for evolution with the Hue App 3.0. The homescreen retains the shortcuts to which you toggle your rooms, but the shortcut icons to the app’s main features – Home, Routines, Explore and Settings – have been moved to the bottom of the screen.
At the top, there’s now a shortcut to create a New scene. It’s good to see this option at the forefront, as part of the beauty of having smart bulbs is getting your home’s lighting set up exactly the way you want it.
Philips hasn’t just made it easier to create scenes, it has completely overhauled the creation and editing process. With the old Hue app, you could only create a scene based on a photo or the current lighting settings. With the new app, configuring the exact scene you want is far easier, as everything is controllable through via a single screen.
All lights in a room start grouped, so moving them around the temperature or colour palette selector changes all lights to the same settings. However, you can quickly tap and control individual lights, or create different groups. The result is a system that’s far easier to control, giving you the lighting you want.
Philips has also revamped the Scenes section of the app. In the old app, Scenes had very large round thumbnails, and as such only a few fit on a phone’s screen. With the Hue App 3.0, small rectangular thumbnails make it easier to instantly see and pick from your scenes.
You can press and hold a room or light to quickly choose a recently used scene, or make a custom colour selection. That makes using the app a lot faster.
Philips has also improved the lighting algorithm. Use one of your own photos, and the lighting should more closely match the colours in the image. And, once you’ve set a scene based on a photo, there’s a new colour picker that gives you the choice of only the colours in the image.
Philips Hue App 3.0 – What doesn’t it do
The issue with the new app is that its scenes are still very static and the lights don’t change dynamically. LIFX, in comparison, has an app that can introduce dynamic lighting, from replicating the flickering of an open fire to bulbs slowly moving through a range of colours.
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Third-party Hue Apps can add dynamic features, but it’s a shame that the opportunity has been overlooked for this release.
Even so, the new app acts as an impressive base for Philips to continue to update Hue, and you can expect new features in the future.