The Philips Hue smart bulbs have long been a fixture in the smart lighting market. You would need to purchase a hub in order to take advantage of their connected features, though, but that’s no longer going to be necessary. The new Philips Hue smart bulbs come with Bluetooth and no longer require the $60 hub to function. They can be controlled entirely over Bluetooth.
The biggest benefit of adding Bluetooth to the bulbs is that for starters, customers don’t have to spend $60 on a hub. Secondly, anyone who has a smartphone can simply screw in these light bulbs and start controlling them right away using their device.
However, there is one downside to this as well. Bluetooth’s range is much shorter than the Zigbee wireless system used by Hue bulbs traditionally. They wouldn’t be connected to the internet remotely as well. So you won’t be able to turn them off when you suddenly remember at a party that you left way too many lights on at home. You’ll have to be within the Bluetooth range of the bulbs in order to control them.
Just because the new bulbs have Bluetooth support doesn’t mean Zigbee’s out. They still support it and once you make up your mind about the Hue system, you can always go ahead and buy the hub to get all of that extra functionality. The prices remain almost the same as before with $15 for the single white bulb and $50 for a full color bulb.