Set the Right Mood With Multiple Shade Apps
Philips Hue’s own iOS and Android apps are pretty simple tools for customizing Philips smart lights and accessories, planning what to do at specific times, and combining sensors with lighting and preset scenes so you don’t have to touch the light switch again. But the app has limited customization options and can be frustrating when it comes to expressing your colorful sense of style (or getting light to display the right shade of red in the evening). You may be complaining that your smart lights are only a little smart, or you can spend a few bucks and get your hands on some Hue-friendly apps that unlock new features, controls, and other customization options for your lights, sensors, and switches.
iConnect Hue ($ 4.99)
iConnect Hue is one of the most popular Hue apps for iOS, and for good reason. While Philips’ own Hue app combines simplicity with more functionality, iConnect Hue is heading in a different direction. It’s designed to help you customize just about every aspect of your Hue lighting system (after you get used to the interface). It is a universal app, so iPhone and iPad screen sizes are supported. Multiple in-app purchases unlock additional features that make lighting control easier and more convenient, especially if you’re an Apple Watch user. Think of it as an investment in the functionality of your smart home, not an expensive app.
You can use the iConnect Hue, for example, to adjust the lighting to match the sunrise and sunset times at your location, or change the night light mode to use dim red light instead of the standard Philips dim yellow light to keep your sleep cycle going if you need to commit midnight trip to the toilet. You can quickly create sleep timers, group a selection of lights to sync color, brightness, or animation settings, and even create and customize animation effects for your lights and assign them to your physical hue switches for an instant party.
Pretty much every action takes place on the Hue Bridge itself, so you won’t lose much functionality if you don’t have a phone (although location-based actions depend on your device’s location).
In addition to customizing lighting, you can add additional functionality to Philips’ own Hue Tap and Hue Dimmer switches by assigning multiple actions to a single button depending on when and how you press (or hold) the button you are using.
It is not the most intuitive application, and its interface is functional rather than elegant. Controlling multiple lights in a room can be confusing, and remembering which icons respond to taps or long presses takes some getting used to. Beyond the interface, the fully functional iConnect Hue app should be your main app for customizing smart lighting to suit your environment and activities. While the $ 4.99 purchase price gives you a ton of features, in-app purchases unlock additional features like location-based actions or a notification widget. However, it is worth it. It also lacks HomeKit and Siri support, but an in-app purchase that unlocks Apple Watch support allows you to perform voice commands using the Apple Watch app.
Hue Pro ($ 1.99)
The Android Hue Pro app makes it easy to set up light groups and create animation presets, and add some entertainment features for music lovers and party planners. At $ 1.99 it’s pretty inexpensive and offers more customization and scheduling options than the official Philips app. In addition to the necessary lighting control and grouping options to allow for more preset lighting options, Hue Pro can use your Android device’s microphone to make the light respond to any music you play (you can also tweak these effects).
With a little bit of work, you can use the Hue Pro to control your lighting even when you’re not at home – great for making your seat feel busy when you’re out of town. The Hue Pro also supports widget functionality, solving one of the most annoying problems with the Philips Hue app on Android devices: horrible widgets.
You can use Control Center on iOS, but setting up smart home controls on Android isn’t as robust. The Hue Pro widget allows you to control every room at the same time or room by room. You can even add preset lighting schemes for easy one-tap mood changes from your device’s home screen. The Hue Pro also has location-based actions, although you’ll need the Hue Pro Tasker companion app (and a Wi-Fi connection to indicate you’ve arrived or left).