The updated bulbs steal a trick from their biggest competitors.
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Philips updated its Hue smart lighting kits just a few months ago, but the company isn't resting on its laurels. Today, Philips is announcing a new version of its Hue White starter kit called the Hue White Ambiance.
The new kit includes the same Apple HomeKit and Siri-compatible hub, but replaces the bulbs with two new tunable Hue White bulbs and adds in a wireless dimmer switch.
You might not be familiar with "tunable" bulbs, which can adjust the color temperature of their light from a warmer tone (in this case, 2200K) to a cooler tone (6500K). The old Hue White bulbs that we reviewed in our smart bulb roundup had a fixed color temperature of 2700K.
The bulbs arrive alongside a new Hue app feature called Routines. The Ambiance bulbs will allow you to take advantage of three new routines—Go to Sleep, Nightlight, and Wake Up. They adjust the brightness and/or color temperature of the bulbs to help you fall asleep, easily go back to sleep if you wake up during the night, and wake up in the morning.
While color temperature adjustability is a welcome addition, it's not new to the market. Competing smart bulb manufacturers LIFX and Osram Sylvania have offered tunable bulbs for some time now. In fact, the LIFX Color 1000 has a color temperature range of 2500K to 9000K. I'm not sure why you'd want to make your house glow blue at 9000K, but that bulb at least gives you the option.
A Philips spokesperson declined to provide pricing information for the Hue White Ambiance kit, or confirm whether the White Ambiance kit will in fact replace the old White starter kit. The new kit will go on sale this spring.