Philips Hue Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 | Differences Explained

Philips Hue Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. Gen 3

Philips Hue lighting can take your plain old lighting and transform it into something magical. Philips has been in the lighting business for what feels like forever, and they were one of the first companies to offer smart lighting solutions a long time ago. The Philips Hue was first introduced back in October 2012, and the Gen 2 and Gen 3 expand upon this excellent base to provide some of the best smart lighting on the market.

In this article we’ll take a look at the Philips Hue Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 to help you get a sense of which bulbs will best suit your needs. All three bulbs work with one another, so you’re free to mix and match and don’t have to limit your decision to just one. There are some key differences, however, so let’s dive into the details in a comparison between the three main Philips Hue products.

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Philips Hue Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 — Easy Bulb Comparison Chart

  Philips Hue Gen 1 Philips Hue Gen 2 Philips Hue Gen 3
Works with Philips Hue Bridge 1.0 Yes Yes Yes
Works with Philips Hue Bridge 2.0 Yes Yes Yes
Brightness 600 Lm. 800 Lm. 800 Lm.
Life-Span 15,000 hours 25,000 hours 25,000 hours
Accurate Green, Cyan, and Blue Colors Bad Better The Best
Dimming Good Better The Best

Philips Hue Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 — Easy Bridge Comparison Chart

  Philips Hue Bridge 1.0 Philips Hue Bridge 2.0
Shape Round Square
Works with HomeKit No Yes
Works with Alexa Yes Yes
Works with Google Assistant Yes Yes
Works with Siri No Yes
Hue Entertainment No Yes
Responds to Music No Yes
Lights with Movies No Yes
Technology ZigBee ZigBee

Last update on 2024-02-25 at 08:34 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Philips Hue Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 — What’s Different?

Philips Hue Gen - Extra - 02

  1. Philips Hue Bridge – As mentioned above, all three generations of Philips Hue bulbs require a Philips Hue Bridge in order to operate. They do differ, however, in the type of bridge that the starter kits ship with. With the release of the second generation of bulbs, Philips redesigned the bridge — so both the Philips Hue 2 and 3 starter kits come with the updated, square-shaped bridge.

    However, all generations of Philips Hue bulbs are compatible with one another, so if you were to purchase a 1st generation Philips Hue bulb and decide to add in some Hue 2 or 3 bulbs at a later point, you would be able to control your entire lighting system from your first generation bridge (round-shaped). Same goes for adding Philips Hue 1 to the updated bridge system.

  2. Brightness – You’ll notice a significant difference in brightness between the Philips Hue 1 and the Philips Hue 2 and 3. While the later generations both have the same brightness of 800 lumens, the Hue 1 only outputs light at 600 lumens. This essentially means that the later generations are 33% brighter, which may mean you’ll need fewer bulbs overall in order to light up a large room.

  3. True Colors – With the Philips Hue 1 and 2, you may notice that the bulb has difficulty providing green, cyan, and blue colors. With the release of the third generation of light bulbs, however, the issue has been resolved. With the first two generations, for example, you might see a yellowish green instead of the bright, vivid green you desire. With the release of the Philips Hue 3 with richer colors, you should now see pretty much any color you’re looking for illuminated in accurate, vibrant light.

  4. Entertainment – A unique functionality to the second and third generation Philips Hue bridge is the Entertainment feature. Philips Hue Light Bulbs that are connected to this square-shaped bridge are able to offer some fun features that make use of the Hue Sync App. This is one of the most entertaining ways to take advantage of the smart light bulbs, and the Sync app, as the name implies, allows you to sync up your lighting to different types of media. Increase your immersion in a video game by customizing color dynamically to suit your chosen title, or take your next movie experience to the next level with bulbs that change to match the colors on your screen. It’s a neat advantage that Philips Hue bulbs have over similar products — just make sure you purchase the bridge for generation 2 and 3 if you want to use the feature.

  5. Voice Control – All three Philips Hue light bulb generations support Alexa and Google Assistant controls, allowing you to do things like dim the lights and control other smart features hands-free. However, if you’re looking to use HomeKit, only the square-shaped Philips Hue bridge offers that support.

  6. Dimming – Although the Philips Hue states that the generation 2 and 3 light bulbs dim down to 5% luminosity, there’s actually a pretty significant difference in the ability of the gen 3 bulb to dim when compared to the first two generations. The ability of the Philips Hue 3 to dim to that level is a definite advantage, as it provides just enough lighting to see — the perfect feature for when you’re trying to get to sleep.

  7. Packaging – There are some subtle differences in the way that the 3 bulbs are packaged. This may not make a difference once everything is set up and installed, but unless you know what to look for it can be difficult to tell the three generations apart at first glance. The packaging actually doesn’t tell you which generation you’re buying, and you’ll have to rely on other indicators to know whether you’re setting yourself up with the Philips Hue 1, 2, or 3. This can be a pretty significant flaw when you’re targeting certain features, so here’s what to look out for:

    The Gen 2 Starter Kit has a small stamp at the bottom left corner that says “Works with Apple Home Kit.” If you’re looking for a third generation Philips Hue bulb, you’ll want the box with a small light bulb label in the upper right corner which says “Richer Colors.”

    Another easy way to distinguish between Gen 1 / 2 bulbs and Gen 3 is that the first two generations use silver lettering, while the latest model has gold lettering.

What do all Three Philips Hue Generations have in common?

  • Light Bulbs Options – Philips Hue 1, 2, and 3 represent three generations of the same product family. Each of the Philips Hue generations offers three different types of light bulbs that each have something different to offer. The Philips Hue White, Philips Hue White Ambiance, and Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance have pretty self-explanatory names, but there are some key differences between the three bulbs that might not be immediately obvious.

    The Philips Hue White Light Bulbs emit soft white light at 2700K color temperature. The Philips Hue White Ambiance expands upon the base Philips Hue bulb, and allows you the choice of cool white, soft, and warm white light, with color temperatures between 2200 to 6500K. This flexibility makes it an excellent option for those who want the ability to adjust their lighting on the fly, or for those desiring white light that is either cooler or warmer than the Philips Hue White Light.

    The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance takes everything good about the White Ambiance bulbs, and adds a massive selection million other colors. The color control also options up more benefits and features in the Philips Hue app.

    As far as the differences between the three generations go, you’ll generally notice an upgrade with each new bulb. These improvements are small, but are noticeable improvements in aspects like lumens, color intensity, and the various dimming options.

  White and Color Ambiance White Ambiance White
Color All shades of white
+ 16 million colors
All shades of white Soft white
Smart control Yes Yes Yes
Light Schedules Yes Yes Yes
Away-from-home control Yes Yes Yes
Comfort Dimming Yes Yes Yes
Wake-up Yes Yes No
Wellbeing Yes Yes No
Create your Ambiance Yes Yes No
Paint with Light Yes No No
Sync with Music Yes No No
Sync with Movies Yes No No
  • Philips Hue Hub – To control the Philips Hue Light Bulbs, you’ll need a Philips Hue Bridge. This piece of equipment uses Zigbee technology in order to communicate with your bulbs via the Internet. If you don’t have the Hue bridge, you won’t be able to adjust the settings on your new smart light bulbs — so if you want smart functionality, make sure you purchase the bridge!

  • App Control – Regardless of which Philips Hue generation you choose, you’ll be able to control your lighting from anywhere you have an internet connection. App control allows you to do everything from make sure your entryway is lit up when you get home from work, to adjusting the lighting thousands of miles away on vacation. It also makes it easy to adjust settings without moving an inch. As long as you have access to your smartphone, you’ll have complete control over the Philips Hue ecosystem.

  • Works with Existing Switch – The Philips Hue 1, 2, and 3 all work with existing switches, although you’ll generally have to control the light bulbs through the Hue app or by using a voice assistant like Alexa.

    You should always leave the existing light switch on, as if you were to turn it off the Hue bulbs in the room would lose their power and be unable to respond to actions to turn it on. If you do happen to turn the light switch off, turning it back on will return it to its default setting — a bright, warm white glow — and you can then adjust it back to your preferred settings using the app or voice assistant. This is also the case were you to lose power.

Philips Hue in a Smart Home Environment

While Philips Hue smart bulbs are fantastic in and of themselves, one of the biggest advantages to purchasing one of the three is their integration with other smart products. As mentioned above, depending on the model you’ll have support for Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.

All three models also support IFTTT — an excellent smart home control system that allows you to set conditional triggers. Set your Philips Hue lights to turn on when you come home, or change colors when you turn on your smart speaker.

Other supported partners for Philips Hue bulbs include Logitech, Nest, Razer, SmartThings, and Vivint products.

For a full list of the “Friends of Hue”, click here.

How to Make Philips Hue Even Better?

Philips Hue Gen - Accessories - 01

There are a number of ways you can extend your Philips Hue bulbs with additional accessories. Some of the most notable ways to take your Hue lighting to the next level come in the form of the Philips Hue Light Strip, and Go, Bloom, and Beyond Lamps. These products provide the perfect ambiance for general well-being, and are also the perfect addition to your meditation session. Ultimately, these products focus more on relaxation than they do fancy and exciting lighting — but they’re welcome additions to the Hue family for those who are looking to chill out rather than start a party.

Other accessories include dimmer switches, tap switches, and motion sensors — all of which make it easier to customize the Philips Hue bulbs to suit your needs. Every accessory is compatible with all three generations of Philips Hue bulbs, and that is one of the primary advantages of going with these product families: no matter what generation of bridge of bulbs you have, you can rest assured that everything will work together seamlessly.

Which Would We Choose for Our Home?

Philips Hue Gen - Extra - 01

The primary difference when comparing the Philips 1, 2 and 3 all comes down to HomeKit support and design. If you don’t need HomeKit support or entertainment features, you’ll probably be fine with the 1st generation bridge. This bridge can be paired with light bulbs from any Philips Hue generation. However, Philips doesn’t sell this bridge directly anymore. You can still buy the 1st generation kit off of Amazon, but if you want to buy from the company directly you’ll have to go with the updated bridge.

As far as the bulbs go, the primary deciding factor is going to be the luminosity, as the second and third generation bulbs are significantly brighter than the Philips Hue 1. If you’re looking for richer green, blue, or cyan colors, you should definitely go with the Philips Hue 3, as the problem with those hues was only worked out with the latest model.

Other than brightness and color fidelity among the colors mentioned above, there aren’t too many differences between the three Philips Hue bulbs overall. Feel free to mix and match as needed, as any of the bulbs will work with either bridge.

Last update on 2024-02-25 at 08:34 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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