Tech

New Philips bulbs have WiFi and the competition at home

Signify has new bulbs and they are not Philips Hue

In 2019 Signify, the company behind the Philips Hue brand, acquired the Wiz brand. This had a catalog of smart bulbs whose main attraction was their value for money. When compared to the popular Philips Hue, they won by a lot of advantage. And is that a Wiz RGB bulbs could cost about 15 euros while a Philips Hue RGB was going to about 50 euros.

The difference between both bulbs, beyond the quality of the LEDs (something always questionable), the electronics itself, the percentage of the CRI index, etc., was mainly in the connection method. Philips Hue bulbs are based on the Zigbee standard and Bluetooth connectivity for the latest models. The B’sWiz smart light bulbs on the WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Better Zigbee plus Bluetooth or WiFi plus bluetooth? Well, here it will depend on the needs of each user, but it is true that in itself the Zigbee standard is much more interesting than the rest. First, because it avoids problems when the number of devices to control is high, and also because it does not saturate the WiFi network that we use to connect other more important devices such as laptops, consoles, mobiles, etc. And finally, because compared to bluetooth it has a greater radius of action.

However, having these characteristics allowed the brand to offer more competitive prices. So for Signify it was a good option to buy it in order to have more presence in the market. And that now begins to materialize with the new Philips Smart Led, smart bulbs that you will see next to the logo Connected by Wiz.

With the change of name the company of a boost to the Philips brand in terms of light bulbs and new options to users who will have cheaper solutions under a trusted brand: Philips. Although there are differences that you should know.

The dark side of Philips Smart Led bulbs

Despite the fact that they both have the Philips brand in their names, there is a difference between the two families of smart bulbs that makes the Philips Hue and the new Philips Smart LEDs not compatible with each other. First of all because of the different standards to use, we will see when Matter arrives and it is known if only the new models will update to support or will all be (the latter is unlikely).

The second and most important is that although the Philips Hue has always been the preferred option by Apple users who bet on HomeKit, the Philips Smart LEDs don’t integrate as well. They support the use of Siri shortcuts, but support for voice assistants is optimized for Google Assistant and Alexa.

Luckily, to support these bulbs you can turn to Homebridge on a Raspberry Pi, although you can also install it on a Synology NAS. Something that we have already talked about on more than one occasion and surely you are interested in expanding your ecosystem of home automation products to control with HomeKit.

A catalog full of options

The Wiz or Philips Smart LED catalog to be more exact it is made up of a total of 36 kinds of bulbs smart. They come in different shapes, types of cap and even types of light (color or just white with the option of regulating intensity and temperature, etc.)

The old packaging arrives with the Wiz brand, but the new ones already with their blue background reveal the name of Philips Smart LED. Just that again, Philips Smart LED bulbs are incompatible with Philips Hue bulbs. They can be combined, but the experience would be a bit strange. The same as if you combined those same Hue bulbs with those of Xiaomi or similar ones.

Until the final arrival of Matter and the support that each brand decides to give to its past products, we will not be able to say anything more.

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