Philips Hue

Photo of Philips Hue
8 years ago


Philips Hue is one of the most popular connected lighting products on the market and offers an array of internet-enabled lights. The Philips Hue Hub v2 is the current iteration of the hub device, which is required to control any light bulbs, and requires an ethernet connection directly to the internet to function.

The Philips Hue lineup has expanded into a range of different lighting, from the traditional connected A12 / E17 light bulbs into connected filament LED bulbs, the Hue LED strip and even smart outdoor lighting options such as the Hue White and Colour Ambience spot lamps.
Last updated 10 months ago

Device basics

These 8 points help you understand how a device's basic functionality compares.

  • Privacy 🚨
  • Data Ownership
  • Lifespan
  • Security 🚨
  • Standards support 🚨
  • Works offline
  • Subscription-free
  • Software updates


Our score: 🚨
Philips Hue's privacy policy is broad and collects a large amount of data with an unclear purpose. The company collects data such as usage activity, lighting interaction and user location, and doesn't detail what it needs that information for. However, it does not share usage data with third parties for marketing or commercial purposes, and data can be deleted upon request.

Users can also choose not to connect their Hue with a Philips account, in which case no identifying data is collected. This, however, has the side effect that Hue can't be controlled remotely, with the exception of when using Apple HomeKit.

Data Ownership

Our score: ✅
Philips Hue doesn't require an internet connection to achieve full functionality, and can be used without a Philips account at all, if desired. 


Our score: ✅
Hue has a good history of supporting its devices and has not depreciated any lights since it launched in 2012. It has actively added features to its oldest devices, since launch.


Our score: 🚨
While Philips Hue hasn't been hacked, it has been hijacked by security researchers and the company has been shown to use weak encryption methods that are vulnerable to attack if executed locally to the device. Philips updated its encryption in 2018 to be much stronger, and these attacks may no longer work.

Hue's authentication functionality does, however, have serious flaws: there are no user accounts that can later be revoked, and authentication to a Hue hub is performed by pressing a button on top of the device to provide access. Once granted, this access is non-trivial to revoke, and requires an API call or device reset. 

Standards support

Our score: 🚨
Hue supports standards like Apple's HomeKit and Samsung SmartThings, which allows control of its lighting without using the Hue app at all, and should guarantee long-term support even if Philips were to shut down the APIs.

Philips has, however, shown a disdain for third-party products. The company's 'Friends of Hue' program allowed other light-bulbs to show up in the app as if they were Hue bulbs (like those from IKEA Tradfri), but the company tried to block these bulbs suddenly with a software update in 2015.

When Hue users complained en-masse, Philips apologized and backed down, allowing third-party bulbs to continue to function within the app, but it's unclear if that will continue in the long-term.

Works offline

Our score: ✅
Hue lights can be controlled locally when the internet is down using the app, and doesn't depend on an internet connection to function. It is complicated, however, to control them if the WiFi is also down, rendering the app useless. Hue light switches, however, allow direct control in this situation.


Our score: ✅
Hue does not require a subscription to function, and has not asked for additional money from users since launch. It's unclear how it plans to monetize the complex server architecture that the platform runs to support the lightbulbs in the long term.

Software updates

Our score: ✅
The Hue Hub and associated bulbs are regularly updated with security fixes, new features and functionality. The user is not forced to install these updates.

User reviews

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