Philips launches Bluetooth-based Hue bulbs so you can get set up without a hub

Hue light bulbs
Hue light bulbs (Image credit: Philips)

Philips today took wraps off a new line of Philips Hue bulbs that enable you to get in on the smart lighting game without forking out for an additional hub. The Philips Hue with Bluetooth (opens in new tab) range is now available to order and still gives you app- and voice-based control over your lights with the ability to change brightness, color, or set up scenes.

If you've been put off the Hue ecosystem because of the cost, the new range makes it much more affordable — and easier — to get set up without the $60 hub (opens in new tab). Getting started with the bulbs is as simple as screwing them into place and using the Philips Hue with Bluetooth app (opens in new tab) to set them up. If you order the bulbs via Amazon and have a compatible Echo device (opens in new tab) associated with your account, you can have Alexa set the bulbs up for you too. They also work with Google Home and Nest (opens in new tab) devices.

Philips Hue's Jasper Vervoort said:

People often underestimate the power that lighting can have on the look and feel of a room. With our Philips Hue Bluetooth smart lighting, we're making it easy to experiment and have fun with light at home. All it requires is the smartphone you already have. We're confident that once you start, you'll want to keep exploring what else Hue can do.

If you get set up with a few Philips Hue with Bluetooth bulbs, you can still use them to create scenes to set the mood or match your daily routine. Multiple users can also control the same lights, too. Right now, the range just includes white, white ambience or white and color bulbs for a few different fittings. It's unclear if other lighting types will be added down the line, like lightstrips and outdoor lighting though Philips has confirmed that "more products will be Bluetooth-enabled later this year and in 2020". If you end up liking the Hue system and want to expand its capabilities, you can always add the hub at a later date to work with other smart home accessories and gain extra features like away from home controls and Philips Hue Entertainment (opens in new tab) functionality.

You can order the Philips Hue with Bluetooth bulbs in a few different packages today at Amazon (opens in new tab) and directly at Philips (opens in new tab).

Adam Oram

Adam Oram is a Senior Writer at iMore. He studied Media at Newcastle University and has been writing about technology since 2013. He previously worked as an Apple Genius and as a Deals Editor at Thrifter. His spare time is spent watching football (both kinds), playing Pokémon games, and eating vegan food. Follow him on Twitter at @adamoram.