Philips Hue lights offer a glimpse into the future of the fully automated and centrally controlled hi-tech home.
Installation is very simple, the E27 bulbs fit in most common fittings. Compared with certain other energy-saving and LED lights, the Hue bulbs are able to provide a warm glow. The Android and iOS applet you create your own profiles which can control up to 50 lights and can customise brightness and colour at a touch.
It's not all sunshine however. When you use the normal wall switches in your home to turn off and on the light, they are reset each time regardless of profile and return to white. It makes much more sense to make them remember their last settings, hopefully Philips can remedy this with a software update.
The price is another drawback. The current E27 bulbs produce about 600 lumens of light, about the same as a conventional 50-watt light bulb. To properly illuminate the average living room, you're going to need a number of these Hue bulbs. With the £179 starter kit you get three bulbs, but each extra bulb costs £50 apiece.
Do the math. The Hue bulbs are very efficient and use a maximum of 6.3 watts, but it will take a very long time before that has paid itself off compared to traditional energy-saving light bulbs.