Philips Hue Beyond hands-on: App-controlled lighting goes up a level

Philips' Hue lighting system has been phenomenally successful and has expanded greatly since the first app-controlled colour-changing bulbs were released. And the latest addition to the Hue family takes the concept on a stage or two further, with multiple controlled lights in three different form factors.

Hue Beyond is available as a desk lamp or hanging or fixed ceiling lights. Rather than bulbs, they feature Hue modules that, in the lamp at least, resemble hockey pucks and each lighting system has two differently controllable Hue beams.

The larger ceiling lights actually have three of the Hue modules in the lower basket source, in order to distribute the light more evenly, and each of the different beams can be controlled independently, prompting a massive variety in effects.

You can choose different colours in the same light, beaming a blue, for example, in the overlapping, higher part of the shade and red from the main light beam.

Like previous Hue products, everything is controlled through a smartphone or tablet (mainly iOS based as they have the better features at present) and connected by a home network. The Hue app is essentially the same, but when a Hue Beyond lamp or ceiling light is connected, it gets its own dedicated section, allowing the individual light sources to be controlled more quickly and easily.

Specific presets have also been created by Philips, but in all other senses they work the same as any other Hue system and can therefore be controlled remotely, over a 3G or 4G network.

Our first impressions of the three different designs are very good. We saw them in action, in multiple colour schemes during the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin and they are both elegant and effective. We'd certainly make room for them in our homes.

The Philips Hue components will be available from September and we're currently waiting on UK prices. However, we can confirm that the table lamp will be 329 euros for the starter kit including a Hue hub device, 299 euros for an extension kit.

The ceiling light will be 529 for a starter kit, 499 euros for the extension kit. The hanging pendant light also costs 529 and 499 euros respectively.



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