Philips Hue has added new bulbs to its lineup that add Bluetooth compatibility to the existing Zigbee protocol. Since the new bulbs don’t require the Hue Bridge, consumers have an easier path to get started with Hue. The first set of bulbs to hit the United States market come in A19 and BR30 sizes in three styles. There’s [amazon_link id=”B07R2MQ2PY” target=”_blank”]plain white[/amazon_link] for about $15, [amazon_link id=”B07QZHMT9J” target=”_blank”]white with color temperature control[/amazon_link] for about $30, and [amazon_link id=”B07QWB3H1Q” target=”_blank”]full color[/amazon_link] for about $50. Expect to see more models in the future.
Bluetooth smart bulbs typically have the distinct disadvantage of becoming “dumb” bulbs when they’re more than ≈30 feet from your phone. As a result, you can’t control them remotely like with Wi-Fi bulbs or bulbs that use some bridge or hub. However, the company also announced that these new Bluetooth bulbs are compatible with Google Home and Amazon Echo devices. Bluetooth bulbs are nothing new for Google Home. That is what the C by GE models use.
But this is new ground for Amazon. Previously, Hue bulbs required the Hue bridge or a 2nd generation Echo Show or Echo Plus, connected via Zigbee. But the new Hue Bluetooth/Zigbee combo bulbs also work with the 3rd generation Echo Dot, with more device support coming. The bulbs will even come pre-paired to your Echo device if you purchase them on Amazon with the same account. If you want to avoid the Hue bridge, this is the way to go since it enables remote accessibility.
Overall, this is a nice enhancement to Hue’s line of bulbs to make it easier for beginners. Having one product, instead of separate Bluetooth and ZIgbee models, prevents someone from having to buy new bulbs when they are ready to explore more advanced automation options. If that time ever comes, adding the Hue bridge will open more possibilities to sensor based automations, more advanced scenes, and accessory control.