Philips Hue, the intelligent lighting system that you can control via your smartphone, has gained a new standalone light option in the guise of Philips LivingColors Bloom.
The portable spotlight model is a reworking of the original Philips Bloom that has been on sale for some time. But with LivingColor Bloom the light is now more intelligent as it can be connected up to the Philips Hue system where it's possible to change the light settings - in both colour and brightness terms - at the touch of a button via your smartphone.
If you're already on board with the Philips Hue system - which we use every day, and think is fantastic despite the initial £180 price - does the addition of LivingColors make your lighting set-up bloom into something altogether more wonderful?
READ:Philips Hue review
The Bloom is a small spotlight measuring 13cm in diameter and is designed to offer a hint of colour to the corner of a room. The design is simple and understated - the bulb lives in a white metal shell that sits on the floor, set to an angle rather than pointing upwards like a conventional lamp. It looks quirky; like a funky mushroom stool. We like it, but do wish it came in colours other than white.
Just like the Philips Lightstrips, which are also Hue compatible, LivingColors Bloom delivers a maximum of 120 Lumens of light. It's not designed to light up an entire room, but add a subtle dash of colour and mood.
The Bloom's accompanying cable is hardwired into the product and, at 1.8m long, it gives plenty of options to find a power socket nearby. But a socket you will need, and disguising the cable might be a challenge.
Although the lamp is free-standing and the bulb exposed, because it's an LED bulb it doesn't get hot. That's very good news if you've got young kids who like to explore and pick things up. It also means there is very little that can break if knocked over. Rest it on a table, even rest it on the floor - it's versatile.
One plugged in you'll want to set up the LivingColors Bloom using your Apple or Android Hue smartphone app. The only real faff you'll have here, if we can call it that, is adding the lights to your current "lighting recipes" section within the app, but that won't take too long.
Then that's it, you're done. Designate to the Bloom just as you would to any other bulb in the Hue system. As we've said the brightness doesn't match up to a more standard bulb, which for a lamp product feels a little more limiting than the more subtle LightStrips product, but this is mood lighting and that subtle push of light and colour complements the Hue system as a whole.
We use Philips Hue every day and we love it. The addition of LivingColors Bloom allows you to get a bit more creative with light without having to necessarily find a table to rest the Bloom on, and it's far cooler than a standard lamp. We also love that the bulbs don't get hot - perfect for safety if you've got kids or pets.
Remember, you will need the Hue system first so don't buy into the Bloom without getting the master system - if you're new to it then be prepared to bite the cash bullet as Hue is £180, and that's before the addition of Bloom or any extra bulbs. But as an overall creative system the options are more vast than ever before.
But it's worth it. Even if Bloom won't illuminate a whole room with ultra-brightness - that's not what it's designed to do - we found that it was spot on to set the mood wherever installed. Bloomin' marvellous, eh? It's just a shame that it only comes in the white finish.