Philips Hue lights are pretty good, but they have a mortal enemy: the humble light switch. If you’ve tied a Hue lamp to a standard light switch, flipping that switch means the Hue lamp will lose all of its power … along with fancy tricks like controlling the lamp from your phone or a voice assistant.
There are a few solutions to this, but most of the time the switch in question will have to be swapped out for something with a little more intelligence. This morning Signify (the company previously known as Philips Lighting) announced an official solution that will work with your existing switches, albeit with a caveat or two.
It is known as the “wall switch module” and is expected to ship later this year – in the spring if you are in Europe, or in the summer if you are in North America. Once wired, it turns your existing light switch into something of a hue controller so it can switch between different light presets instead of just cutting off power.
At $ 40 each (or $ 70 for a two-pack), it’s … not cheap. Add the fact that it is battery powered (presumably to eliminate the need for a neutral cord and simplify installation), with an estimated ~ five year lifespan. This is probably not what you want to implement house-wide. But for a light switch or two, it seems like a decent solution.
The company has also announced some new Hue accessories in case you want to expand your collection:
- A redesigned version of the portable dimmer switch that ships in February and costs $ 25. The separate on / off buttons become a single switch, and a “Hue” button is added that you can use to trigger a specific light scene.
- A new light bar, the Philips Hue Amaranth, to live outside and to be mounted on the floor or an overhang. It ships in March in North America and costs $ 170 each (though you’ll also need an outdoor Hue power box, which adds $ 60 to $ 70 if you don’t already have one).