Hope you had a nice holiday season, and thanks for your tech rendition of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Aside from the devices you mentioned in your last article, was there any cool technology you gave as gifts, and if so, what were they? I always like to know what people in a specific field buy — like asking a chef what type of food they like to buy.
Thanks for writing, and I do the same thing with regard to asking chefs about their food!
The tech present I bought that was most enjoyed were bulbs made by Magic Hue. It’s a play on the Phillips “Magic Hue” brand name, but these weren’t actually made by Phillips. There were two versions I purchased, one with a built-in speaker and one without.
In researching these bulbs online, I saw quite a few variations by different brands, and learned most are controlled one of two ways: with a remote control or from a cell phone. Smart home bulbs can be controlled by a light switch, but I was looking for room-specific bulbs, not a full smart home system. I was buying them for a 15-year-old and a 12-year-old, so I went the route of being able to control it with a cell phone. It’s never far from them, and remote controls end up getting lost, anyway.
The connection to the bulbs is made via Bluetooth, so they easily work from anywhere in the room where the bulbs are located, but not from outside the home through the Internet.
Once the phone is paired to the bulbs, the Magic Hue app allows you to group the bulbs together so they are all programed to do the same thing as the other bulbs in the group. Those features include changing the color to one of 16 million different colors by moving a cursor over a circular color chart, setting timers, and having the lights function as a quiet but illuminating alarm (the lights can be set to turn on at a certain time, wakey wakey). Once programmed, they don’t need to be connected to the phone for certain features. One of these is what most of us would consider to be a “vacation timer.” This is when the lights are set to turn on and stay on for a certain period of time when we’re away from home, so it appears as if there is activity in the home.
The more expensive version of the bulbs ($33 versus $17) includes a Bluetooth speaker that actually sounds pretty good. It won’t impress an audiophile, but fills a room just fine for listening to some of your favorite music.
I’ve gotten good feedback (“They’re awesome,” “They’re really cool,” and “I love them”), so I can easily say that they have passed the preteen and teenager approval test.
Lastly, I can’t say I’m a fan of their using the “hue” name, as it’s misleading. Phillips has a great line of smart home products, with their lights branded as “hue.” I stumbled across the Magic Hue bulbs I purchased when looking at various bulbs online, and these knockoffs did have good reviews and were priced right. Just wanted to reiterate that they aren’t made by Phillips, and being knockoffs, won’t work with typical smart home controllers (Amazon Echo, Google Home, or others). Still, I’ve found them to be good LED lights with terrific functionality!
Thanks again for writing in, Veronica.