The Philips Hue lighting system is expanding at a fast rate, but having to get your phone out of your pocket (or even in some cases just finding it) to control your lights can be a pain.
Understanding this Philips has created the Hue Tap, a wireless light switch of sorts that lets you control your Hue lighting system without your phone. It's designed only for Hue - Philips' colour and brightness control system - rather than any old lights, so its will only suit those currently on the Philips setup or thinking of investing.
Simple is as simple does
The Philips Hue Tap is a simple device for a simple purpose, but there are some clever design decisions behind the scenes that we'll get to later.
Circular in design, the Hue Tap is made from white and silver-colour plastic, to look somewhat like a traditional light switch. It's around the same size as a standard light switch too, at 75mm in diameter, but the 25mm depth makes it around twice as thick - so it protrudes further from the wall.
The Hue Tap has one main button and three smaller ones, all of which can be programmed to your needs via the main Philips Hue smartphone app. That means four available presets: one could be bright lighting, the others mood lighting for different occasions.
What about power?
The Philips Hue Tap doesn't come with a battery, because it doesn't need one. Instead it uses kinetic energy; that's the motion of you pressing the switch to transfer that power into performing the task you are after. Clever.
You get a satisfying "kerplunk" sound each time you press the switch. Remember the game Frustration? It sounds a bit like that.
The back of the device features a removable panel for screwing to the wall, but Philips has already included two sticky pads to let you stick it to the wall with zero fuss, including places you might not be able to drill a couple of screw holes. That means you can place the switch literally anywhere in the house, including a bathroom, as you don't need to worry about wiring.
The device operates on a 2400–2483.5MHz frequency band, rather than anything high powered like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Theoretically that means you needn't be particularly near the lights you are controlling either, as the range is between 15-30 metres depending on what's in the way. Handy if you are planning on using it to control lights in a shed in your garden, for example.
Working in conjunction with the Hue app, setup is quick and simple. You can programme the four buttons to automatically turn on different light recipes you have via the app and change them at any time.
In our setup we've got the main button turning off all the lights in the system, and the three smaller lights turning on different light recipes in the same room. However, there is nothing stopping you from controlling different lights in different rooms around the house as long as they are all on the same network.
If you've got a Philips Hue system then getting the Philips Hue Tap is a no brainer. The only questionable downside is its £50 price tag.
With Hue Tap installed you can still control the lights via your smartphone or tablet, but it makes controlling them a lot easier when that goes missing or, say, you're in a call or have guests around. Its life is good for 50,000 clicks and we love the fact you'll never need batteries.
Hue keeps expanding and for the better. Tap is another successful part of the puzzle well worth a look for existing Hue users or those thinking of getting on board.