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Home Technology Philips Hue Festavia string lights review: Pricey but great for Hue users

Philips Hue Festavia string lights review: Pricey but great for Hue users

You don’t want sensible, color-changing vacation lights. A sensible plug and a pair packs of $20 string lights can do a few of what the $160 Philips Hue Festavia string lights do. However, after spending per week with Hue’s new color-changing sensible lights, I believe you may need a set to embellish your Christmas tree (or different winter vacation point of interest) with this season.

Hue’s first stab at sensible vacation lights is a hit. The Festavia are fully-featured smart lights, boasting 16 million colours and tunable white gentle, for less than $10 greater than the closest competitors: Twinkly’s $150 white and color string lights.

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Just like the Twinkly strings, the Hue Festavia lights are costly as a result of every LED is individually addressable, which permits for some spectacular lighting results. The gradient function and tunable white gentle are stuff you gained’t discover on cheaper string lights and make the Festavia helpful as year-round accent lighting outdoors of the vacation season.

In fact, you’re paying for the Hue ecosystem too, which — whereas costly — is certainly one of my favourite smart lighting platforms, due to its ease of use, reliability, and interoperability.

Together with customary sensible lighting options — scheduling, voice management, dimming —Festavia string lights can show as much as 5 completely different colours directly. Plus, with Hue’s pre-set lighting scenes, you’ll be able to go from a jolly inexperienced, pink, and gold glow to a complicated, icy glowing scene with the contact of a button or a voice command.

Different results embody flickering like candlelight, glowing like stars, and flowing dynamically by means of colours and tone. As somebody who lives in a neighborhood the place folks spend tons of of {dollars} on loopy yard inflatables, I do know the place I’d slightly put my overblown adorning finances.

The Festavia String Lights can show as much as 5 colours concurrently and alter to any of 16 million decisions.

The Festavia string lights include 250 mini LED lights alongside a 66-foot black cable (no choice of inexperienced, which is a disgrace). The string feels sturdy and sturdy and is tremendous light-weight, not like my present LED tree lights, which have thick cables that overwhelm the branches. They’re rated for indoor use solely, and the LEDs aren’t replaceable however are longer lasting than extra conventional string gentle bulbs.

If you happen to like your tree actually stuffed with lights, you’ll must double up

The Festavia comes rolled round a sturdy cardboard reel, which will probably be helpful for storage and makes it simple to unroll. A 5-foot-9-inch energy twine gave me loads of attain from the ability outlet, and the entire string nearly coated the 7-foot tree I used to be testing it on. Every particular person LED is flat-topped to provide off a softer, much less pinpoint gentle than the standard tree bulbs, and so they’re positioned 3.15 inches aside. If you happen to like your tree actually stuffed with lights, you’ll must double up. 

A hand in front of a Christmas tree, holding a standard strand of string lights and a much slimmer strand of Hue string lights.

My present LED string lights subsequent to the far daintier Hue Festavia.

Sadly, you’ll be able to’t join two units of Festavia lights. You probably have a bigger tree, the longer energy twine ought to make it potential so as to add the second string midway up the tree after which management them concurrently within the app, although I couldn’t check this.

The Hue app comes with six pre-set dynamic “winter vacation” lighting scenes, and after I arrange a Christmas Zone within the app, it steered six further scenes “excellent for Christmas.” You too can use any of Hue’s dozens of different scenes.

The dynamic scenes cycle by means of their colours and brightness to create a refined lighting impact. It’s very refined by default, altering nearly imperceptibly. You may velocity up the adjustments, and on the quickest stage, it’s far more apparent with out being flashy. 

Winter Magnificence was my favourite. It’s a stunning mixture of golds and greens, stylish but festive. I additionally made my very own scene by importing a photograph of my godson standing with a colourful pink, yellow, and blue umbrella on a inexperienced garden. The app then created a brilliant pink, yellow, blue, and inexperienced scene, and it was good to have a look at the tree and be reminded of him.

You may edit any scene and alter it to certainly one of three types: Gradient / linear helps you to select as much as three colours going from prime to backside. Mirrored is like linear however, effectively, mirrored, and Scattered scatters as much as 5 colours at random alongside the string, like a standard multicolored string gentle.

There are some preset results, Candle, Sparkle, and Fire, and you may sync the lights to music utilizing the built-in Spotify integration or by means of SmartThings using Galaxy phones. However Hue doesn’t provide any of the extra dramatic, gentle show-style results that Twinkly provides. 

The Festavia lights can work over Zigbee by means of the Hue Bridge or over Bluetooth to your telephone (Twinkly is Wi-Fi primarily based). You don’t must have a Hue Bridge, however including the $60 Bridge provides you distant entry, automations, the power to customise colours and scenes, and music sync. You additionally want a Bridge for integration with Apple Residence, and the Bridge provides a extra strong and long-range Zigbee mesh connection, versus the brief vary of Bluetooth. 

Hue Festavia string lights specs

  • 250 sensible shade LEDs
  • 65.63-foot twine
  • 5.9-foot energy cable
  • 2200 to 6500 Kelvins shade temperature
  • IP20, Indoor solely
  • Two yr guarantee
  • Zigbee, Bluetooth
  • Appropriate with Hue Bridge
  • Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Residence, Samsung SmartThings, Apple Residence (with Bridge)

Like all Hue gentle, setup is straightforward. Simply plug it in, and the app will discover it routinely. You may then add it to a digital “room” and to a zone, too, if you would like. Zones are methods of grouping lights aside from by what room they’re in. They’re helpful for controlling simply the upstairs lights, for instance. I created a Christmas Zone for all of the Hue lights in my dwelling that I wished to be a part of my vacation decor. 

The place Festavia outshines Twinkly, particularly for year-round use, is in Hue’s intensive lighting ecosystem. Whereas Twinkly has many different types of decorative lights, it doesn’t have conventional bulbs and fixtures, as Hue does — for each indoors and out.

The place Festavia outshines Twinkly is in Hue’s intensive ecosystem

For instance, in my eating room (the place the tree is), I’ve Hue lights in desk lamps and in overhead lighting, in addition to two Hue Play bars that I put below the tree. I can apply any scene to all these lights directly and have the entire room change shade to enrich the Festavia lights on the tree.

This creates a formidable lighting design that extends past simply the tree to really feel extra immersive. In fact, it requires a considerable funding in Hue lights to attain, which is why Festavia is just value contemplating if you’re already all in on Hue.

I additionally arrange a Hue Tap Dial Switch to cycle by means of a number of of my favourite scenes and put the distant close to the tree so anybody might simply play with the lighting results. You are able to do this with a Hue Dimmer Switch as effectively. Lastly, I paired all of the lights within the eating room with a Hue Motion Sensor to have the entire room gentle up, together with the tree, when anybody walks in. 

Photo of a seven-foot Christmas tree in daylight. Spots of light from string lights are visible in its branches.

One Festavia string gentle is simply sufficient to embellish a 7-foot tree.

If you would like the fanciest vacation gentle present on the block, Twinkly might be a greater choice. Twinkly string lights have extra spectacular lighting results, whereas Hue’s are extra refined and complicated.

Twinkly additionally has inexpensive string gentle choices, together with a color-only choice with no tunable white for $125 for 250 LEDs. Plus, many extra kinds of ornamental lights, from icicles to light curtains to strings with larger bulbs. Twinkly works indoors or out and has a bigger range of lengths (up to 600 LEDs). There’s additionally the selection of a inexperienced wire in addition to black.

Each Twinkly and Hue work with Apple Residence, Amazon Alexa, and Google Residence, so you might make the Twinkly lights “work” together with your Hue lights — however the results wouldn’t translate, simply the essential on and off and dimming controls.   

If you have already got a Hue Bridge and are in search of a method so as to add your Christmas tree or one other vacation point of interest into your sensible lighting setup, the Festavia lights will probably be a terrific addition. 

Nonetheless, as of publication, the Festavia lights are offered out. Signify, which owns Philips Hue, tells us they’re engaged on getting extra stock. However if you would like your tree to glitter this season, you’ll be able to nonetheless seize some Twinkly lights on sale.

Images and video by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Good Residence Knowledge Privateness: Philips Hue Festavia String Lights

Bringing related units into your house additionally brings with it issues about how the info they accumulate is protected. The Verge asks every firm whose sensible dwelling merchandise we evaluate about safeguards it has in place in your information.

To make use of the Festavia string lights you want to join a Hue account, or you’ll be able to select a third-party sign-in choice. With both route, Hue will get your electronic mail handle and account title, and if you happen to enroll straight, they know your full title, password, nation, and language.

Hue’s privacy policy states that its merchandise accumulate information on location, machine data, and details about your product use. Location information stays within the machine and within the Hue Bridge. Any information collected by Signify is used for product enchancment, improvement, personalization, and advertising and marketing. Signify says it solely shares information when required by regulation or with consumer permission and that it protects consumer information with acceptable technical strategies. It additionally claims to solely hold information till its function has been fulfilled or except legally required to maintain it longer.

Comply with Proceed: Philips Hue Festavia String Lights

Each sensible machine now requires you to conform to a sequence of phrases and situations earlier than you should use it — contracts that nobody truly reads. It’s unattainable for us to learn and analyze each single certainly one of these agreements. However we began counting precisely what number of instances it’s important to hit “agree” to make use of units once we evaluate them since these are agreements most individuals don’t learn and positively can’t negotiate.

To make use of the Philips Hue Festavia string lights, you will need to have the usual Hue app put in in your telephone (iOS or Android). The Hue app requires entry to:

  • Native community units (iOS)
  • Bluetooth (each Android and iOS)

It additionally consists of agreeing to Philips Hue’s Phrases and Circumstances and privateness coverage, each necessary. A Philips Hue account is important for any distant, out-of-home management.

The full depend is 2 necessary permissions and two necessary agreements.

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