FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

Hands-on review: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60

By Darren Price
Wed 22 Jun 2022

Philips’ range of Hue smart lighting promises to make any home a smart home. Techday’s Darren Price checks out the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60.

I can’t deny that the idea of turning lights on and off by my voice presses all the right sci-fi buttons for me. As easy as it is to flick a switch, walking in the house and ordering Amazon’s Alexa to switch the lights on is like something straight out of Star Trek or The Jetsons. I really can’t think of anything that doesn’t involve a fully-featured domestic robot that is more futuristic. Add in the ability to pick each bulb’s colour and brightness and you have the future, today. 

All the above is promised by reading the packaging of the Philips Hue Starter Kit A60. The box contains three bayonet bulbs (a screw-fit version is also available), a smart button, and a Hue bridge hub unit. The bulbs fit straight into your light fittings and work as normal light bulbs by default. 

The magnetic battery-powered smart button can be affixed, using a double-sided sticky pad or magnetically, to any location around the house or to the included rectangular switch panel (which in turn can be affixed to the wall using the sticky pads on the back, or mounted with using screws).

The Hub bridge hub unit needs to be connected to your router via the included Ethernet cable. There’s no Wi-Fi option. This somewhat limits the location you can place it if you only have the one router. I found that the Hue bridge will, however, work when connected to any Ethernet-enabled mesh nodes that you have.

The system is set up via the Philips Hue mobile app. The setup is pretty easy and only takes a few minutes. The smart button does have to be added to the system as a separate device, which threw me at first, but the app made short work of getting it up and running.
From the app, individual lights can be named and grouped into rooms. They can also each be adjusted in brightness and colour hue. 

The Philips Hue system is scalable, so adding extra smart lights is easy. The use of multiple lights in a room allows for customised lighting colour schemes. There are pre-configured scenes in the app that can be used to create stunning mood lighting. The lights can also be synced to the likes of Spotify for ad hoc disco lighting. Whilst the RGB colour can be used to create interesting room lighting, I also found it useful to be able to switch from a cool white when working to a warmer glow when relaxing in front of the TV. 

The coolest thing, though, is adding the lighting control to your smart home digital assistant. Be it Apple’s HomeKit, Google Home, or Amazon Echo you can ask Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa to control your home lighting. I use an Amazon Echo, which was easy to link with the Hue app. 

Entering the house at night and illuminating the whole of the downstairs with a voice command or via the smart button (that I installed by the door) makes things easier, especially if your hands are full with shopping bags or otherwise encumbered. Similarly, being able to adjust room lighting when watching the TV, dimming the intensity, or just switching from cool light to a warmer setting is also pretty good.   

The only thing that foils this futuristic set-up is when a member of the family goes all old school and physically turns any of the lights off from the wall switches. For the smart bulbs to work, they must all be switched on at the wall. It is, however, very easy to forget and just flip the switch and turn the lights off.

I think that the three bulbs in the kit, whilst great to get your head around the system, are not enough to effectively use the system. You really need to replace all the bulbs in an area to get the best effect. This is by no means a criticism, quite the contrary. Be mindful that the system is so effective and fun to use that you’ll probably want to expand your set-up.

The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60 is a great way to dip your toes into smart home lighting. It’s easy to set up and convenient to use. The modular system can also be expanded to create some stunning mood lighting around the home. 

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Stray (PlayStation 5)
Stray is a new unique 2022 video game where you control a cute ginger cat. As a person that feeds eight stray cats, I knew Stray was a game that I really needed to play.
Story image
Cyber resilience
NZ’s Cyber Resilience Framework to be evolving and potentially automated
The government's already putting $2.4 million into the Cyber Resilience Framework in its initial stages, what is it and why is it important?
Story image
Blockchain
Australian Grand Prix uses CENNZnet blockchain for fan experience
CENNZnet was employed by Power'd Digital to deliver the Formula 1 Heineken Australian Grand Prix's 2022 AusGP Access program.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Sweet Transit (PC Steam early access)
Team 17’s Sweet Transit invites players to build a thriving colony in a world whereby trains are the only form of transport.
Story image
SmartWatch
Hands-on review: Huawei Watch D smart watch
The Huawei Watch D is the latest flagship smart watch from the Chinese tech giant, and it's further proof that the company is more than capable of competing with the likes of Samsung and Apple in the highly competitive wearable market.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: JBL Flip 6 portable speaker
Once you switch it on, and listen away for up to 12 hours, you will quickly realise that this is a little speaker looking for a party.
Story image
Home security
Hands-on review: Eufy Wire-Free Dual Cam Video Doorbell 2K
We have had our house secured by Eufy products for over seven months now. We love the brand, and it has never let us down.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Digimon Survive (PlayStation 5)
Since there’s little actual gameplay in Digimon Survive, the biggest draw card to the game is its long and interesting story.
Story image
Gaming
Logitech G’s new Aurora collection looks to help change gaming stereotypes
The company’s new Aurora collection is designed to be gender inclusive, not gender exclusive, addressing the needs and wants of women gamers while also still appealing to a wider general audience.
Story image
Virtual Reality / VR
Virtual reality app reduces phobias through NZ trial
"With this VR app treatment, trialists had increased control in exposure to their fears, as well as control over when and where exposure occurs."
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: TCL 30 SE mobile phone
TCL continues to provide consumers with budget phones that still pack a punch with the TCL 30 SE mobile phone. 
Story image
Planning
Digital key for smart investment in public infrastructure for NZ cities
Major public infrastructure projects can better manage risks of cost overruns and delays if they deploy data and digital tools at the earliest planning stages.
Story image
Netsafe
Major media companies sign new online safety framework for Aotearoa
A new joint development between Netsafe and some of the world's leading social media companies is set to provide Kiwis with safer online experiences.
Story image
Gaming
Chorus announces Hyperfibre sponsorship deal with NZ Esports
Chorus has put its support behind New Zealand's Esports community with a newly announced three-year Hyperfibre sponsorship deal with NZ Esports.
Story image
Home Entertainment
Hands-on review: TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV
We introduce you today to a TV that brings the height of immersion to your viewing experience: The TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV.
Story image
i-PRO
I-Pro officially marks launch of brand in Australia and New Zealand
I-Pro has officially launched in Australia and New Zealand, following a series of new releases as an entity that started in early April.
Story image
Arlo
Hands-on review: Arlo Go 2 security camera
In my humble opinion, Arlo Go 2 offers security for anyone needing to keep a remote eye on prized possessions or premises at different locations.
Story image
VPN
Hands-on review: Norton Secure VPN
Norton is obviously serious about your privacy. They have a “No-log” policy, which simply means that they do not track or store any of your on-line activities.
Story image
Malware
Research shows attacks on the gaming industry are getting worse
Web application attacks in the gaming sector have grown by 167% from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022, according to new research from Akamai.
Story image
Apple
2degrees unveils eSIM functionality for selected devices
2degrees has enabled eSIM functionality to work with a variety of Apple, Samsung and Oppo devices, including a range of iPads.
Story image
Product Management
TeamViewer and Siemens to innovate product lifecycle space with AR
TeamViewer's new partnership with Siemens Digital Industries Software to bring the power of TeamViewer's AR platform, Frontline, to Siemen Teamcenter software.
Story image
Tablets & laptops
Chromebook and tablet shipments see another rapid decline for the year
According to research from Canalys PC Analysis, Chromebook and tablet shipments have fallen for the fourth quarter in a row for Q2 of 2022.
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft and Auckland Transport announce new cloud agreement
Auckland Transport (AT) and Microsoft have announced a new cloud agreement aimed at promoting innovation, reducing costs and improving sustainability in transport services.
Story image
Distribution
Garmin expands NZ footprint with new Auckland distribution centre
The facility at Goodman’s Highbrook Business Park will be fully operational from October 2022 and features 3,586sqm of warehouse space.
Story image
Phishing
Norton research finds NZ threat landscape diversifying on social media
Norton's quarterly report has highlighted the seriousness of the threat landscape in New Zealand.
Story image
Broadband
MyRepublic unveils 'choose the speed you need' mobile plans
Broadband provider MyRepublic has announced the details of its new 'choose the speed you need' mobile plans, designed for New Zealanders. 
Story image
Malware
Minors using Discord servers to spread malware for cash
Avast has discovered an online community of minors constructing, exchanging and spreading malware, including ransomware and a mix of information stealers and cryptominers.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Keyboard
SteelSeries has taken the design of its range of Apex keyboards to create a smaller version, the Apex Pro Mini. Techday’s Darren Price checks it out.
Story image
Smartphone
Samsung introduces new generation of foldable smartphones
Samsung has unveiled its new range of Galaxy Z smartphones, bringing new developments to the company’s foldable smartphone portfolio.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: James Donkey RS4 Knight Wireless Gaming Keyboard
I have always liked mechanical keyboards, and this is no exception. I find the action much easier to use than the modern keyboards with limited travel.
Story image
Fibre
Orcon brings faster fibre to Christchurch with Hyperfibre offering
Orcon has today launched the next generation of fibre speeds in Christchurch, bringing its Hyperfibre offering to the city.
Story image
Tablets & laptops
Hands-on review: Xencelabs Graphic Display Tablet
Xencelabs seemed to show up out of nowhere on the market. I had no idea who they were or what they were about, but I was very intrigued.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro gaming headset
SteelSeries, being no stranger to creating premium gaming peripherals, sent over its Arctis Nova Pro wired headset kit for us to take a look at.
Story image
Samsung
New range of Samsung Smart Watches announced with health focus
Samsung has announced new additions to its SmartWatch portfolio, with the Galaxy Watch5 and Galaxy Watch5 Pro to be released in late August.
Story image
Internet
InternetNZ appoints new chief executive. Will take over in October
InternetNZ has announced the appointment of its new chief executive, with Vivien Maidaborn taking over the role from interim chief Andrew Cushen in October.
Story image
Sustainability
NZ program recovers and recycles more than 177 tonnes of e-waste
The TechCollect NZ pilot program says its milestone of recovering and recycling more than 177 tonnes of ICT e-waste recognises the efforts of many.
Story image
Tablets & laptops
Hands-on review: HP Evo Spectre X360 Flip Ultrabook 13.5” laptop
The Spectre comes with a keyboard that makes working for long hours something to be looked forward to. It has to be one of the best keyboards I have seen on a 13.5” laptop.
Story image
Printers
Comedy legend Jimeoin fronts Epson advertising campaign in NZ and Australia
According to Epson the company’s EcoTank models now account for 74% of all printers sold in the category in New Zealand, alone.
Story image
Dark web
Beware the darkverse and its cyber-physical threats
A darkverse of criminality hidden from law enforcement could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series
If there's something missing in today's gaming industry, it's the wonderful discovery of finding new games for hire at your local video rental store. I remember my family hired out the first Klonoa game for the PSOne back in 1997, and it was a blast to play as a kid.
Story image
Gaming
Attacks on gaming companies more than double over past year
The State of the Internet report shows gaming companies and gamer accounts are at risk, following a surge in web application attacks post pandemic.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Disgaea 6 Complete
Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny originally came out in 2021, and more than a year later, the game has now been re-released.