We tested Spotify and Philips Hue synchronization: funny, but quickly tiring

Philips Hue and Spotify have teamed up to make your smart bulbs dance to the sound of your favorite music. We tested and the result is rather convincing, although a little gadget.

If you’ve ever dreamed of transforming your apartment into an alternative nightclub, Signify’s latest announcement should delight you. The manufacturer that markets connected bulbs Philips Hue announced on September 1, 2021 a collaboration with Spotify to make your connected lights vibrate to the sounds of your favorite titles.

The principle is simple: by linking your Spotify account with your Philips Hue application (the procedure is detailed here), your bulbs will vary their intensities and their color tones to try ” add another dimension to your music listening “. At Signify we are pleased to offer ” an immersive integration of light with music in a way that has never been done before “. Even the promotional clip promises to recreate the vibe of your most frenzied concerts in the middle of your living room.

How it works ?

Equipped with a dozen Philips Hue bulbs at my home, so I tested this new feature to see if all these beautiful promises were kept. Spoiler alert: it’s still less exciting than what the Philips demo wants us to believe.

The setup is nothing complicated. Once the application has been updated (on iOS or Android), all you have to do is go to the “Explore” tab of the Hue application, activate synchronization, then link your Spotify and Philips Hue accounts. The process is simple. Before having fun, the app will ask you to personalize your “leisure space” (your test room) by placing your lamps in a 3D pseudo-environment to create a diversified lighting atmosphere.

Philips Hue app screenshot
The integration of Spotify into the Philips Hue app is not very complicated. // Source: Screenshot

Once you have completed all of these steps, a new “Synchronization” tab should appear in your Hue app. With one click, you can access Spotify, play music, and watch your room change color as your music tempo changes.

And what does it look like in real life?

First small disappointment, only colored lights are able to react to the music. If you have filament or only shade-of-white Hues, they won’t respond to music, even with simple variations in intensity. While Philips colored bulbs are undoubtedly the most versatile, they are also the least aesthetic. If you have a filament bulb on the ceiling like me, it will break the feeling of immersion a bit, unless you turn them off. To put it another way, you need a bundle of colorful Philips Hue bulbs to truly transform your living room into a branch of the Macumba Night.

So for the sake of this test, I centralized all of my colored Hue bulbs in my living room. To the tune of Shake ‘Em Up Charlie from Mighty Mo Rodgers and Baba Sissoko, I turned my apartment into a test room, the result of which you can see below.

As you can see, in the dark and with a good amount of connected lighting, the result is quite convincing. We can still note about half a second difference between the tempo of the music and the rhythm of the bulbs. The effects are also much sharper with moving music rather than with long haunting ballads. Good point nonetheless, by analyzing the metadata of the titles you listen to in real time, the application creates colorful atmospheres quite similar to the mood of the music you are listening to (here a green-red dominant for reggae music).

A gadget feature

If the experience is funny to do to distract yourself for two minutes or to impress a possible company, you get bored quite quickly of this somewhat gimmicky feature, it must be admitted. This can be useful if you are having a party at home, but in everyday life, seeing your living room flashing in multicolored as soon as you launch a title on Spotify tends to quickly give you a headache. In addition to that, your bulbs will not return to their default colors once you stop the music, you will have to reset everything yourself.

We can not deny that the manufacturer has done a good job of optimization and the integration within the Hue app is quite successful. However, to create a real ambiance worthy of the name, you need at least 5-6 bulbs in two to three different corners of your room. Suffice to say that it is a feature that can quickly end up being quite expensive. But if you are already equipped with colorful Philips Hue, then you can give it a go. It doesn’t cost much and it’s fun, even if it gets tired quickly.

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