Philips Hue Beyond Table Review
Philips' Hue Beyond table lamp combines LED technology and pleasing aesthetics to harmonize with any home. An array of features satisfy the tech savvy while a minimalist bearing fulfills the less-is-more ideal that exemplifies economy of space. Under scrutiny, however, this entry in the Beyond lamp series deserves some serious consideration before purchase.
THE GOOD / With several connectivity standards, including Apple HomeKit and ZigBee LightLink, the Beyond table lamp allows for full home-automation integration. The lamp's modern minimalist design ensures a smooth fit in any decor, and with its numerous color sets and scenes, you'll experience light you've never imagined.
THE BAD / Gimmicky apps, significant up-front investment and, if you need a bridge and bulb, appreciable back-end costs make the Beyond table lamp a tough sell -- one that mood-enhancing LEDs and web-message notifications can't justify. At around $500 including the Hue starter pack, you deserve a better piece of kit.
THE BOTTOM LINE / The Beyond table lamp fulfills its promises: it delivers message notifications, lets you select color sets to fit your mood and shows off its 16-million color capability when paired with apps that sync its uplight with music, movies and video games. A sleek design and broad connectivity standards make the Beyond table lamp worthy of any home -- but not necessarily worth its price tag. Unfortunately, the tech that sets Beyond apart ultimately impinges on its beautiful design.
Philips played it safe and designed the Hue Beyond table lamp in a modern minimalist style that fits most decorating schemes. You won't find any controls on the Beyond lamp -- you manage everything via app -- save the power switch that blends seamlessly into the side of the base.
Unobtrusive with clean lines, the Beyond table lamp fits in an art-deco bedroom as seamlessly as it fits in a French-country living room -- when paired with a complementary lighting scene, you can almost pass over it without noticing.
But until you can view the lamp as one piece -- not easy at first, since you have to attach the uplight to the downlight -- the uplight appears incongruent with the overall build and hides the soft contour at the downlight's apex.
As a stand-alone table lamp, the Beyond has a restraint and finesse in design redolent of Mies van der Rohe. As a piece of tech, however, the it lacks the substance to live up to its hype -- or its price.
Setup & Packaging
You won't run into any difficulty putting the Beyond table lamp together -- a quick assembly and you're done. You do, however, need a Hue bridge (sold separately) before you can, according to Philips, play around and experience light you never imagined. Easy enough? Sure -- until you want the Beyond to function as a regular table lamp.
You can turn the Hue Beyond on and off using its power switch or a receptacle switch, like you do a regular lamp. However, when you turn it back on, the light reverts to its standard yellowish shade, and you have to change it to your preferred scene using your mobile device. Still easy, but not ideal, especially for guests unfamiliar with the Hue app.
That said, you can purchase the touch-powered Hue Tap switch to recall your four favorite scenes. You can attach the Hue Tap anywhere you find convenient using screws or adhesive tape.
Philip's Beyond table lamp has impressive tech as far as home lighting goes. With 16 million available colors, music and movie syncing and IFTTT compatibility for message notifications, the Beyond's two LED banks have potential.
Third-party apps, such as HueVision and Hue Disco, inject a bit of fun into the Beyond, with the former providing dynamic ambient lighting that syncs with games and movies, while the latter allows you to apply color sets to music for effects like strobe lighting and mood control.
The Beyond table lamp's design does add some finesse to traditionally garish LED lighting effects, but you must fine tune the color temperature to achieve warm, relaxing tones without creating a rave effect. Gimmicks aside, humans can only discern about one million colors, making the 16 million available redundant. Couple that with the scrutiny the Hue has faced regarding color accuracy, and you have plenty to consider before making the investment based on technology alone.