Philips Hue Bloom Review
The Hue Bloom -- part of Philips' Friends of Hue series -- likely does more than any LED lamp you've seen. With home automation compatibility with major players like Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit and a 16-million color palette, the Bloom elevates accent lighting to a higher level -- and to a much higher cost, as well.
THE GOOD / The Bloom's LED technology provides as much as 80 percent energy savings over regular light bulbs and lasts for up to 12,000 hours, according to Philips. Certainly, since the Bloom doesn't function as a regular light, the energy savings typifies false analogical reasoning, and 12,000 hours is standard for an L80 LED bulb.
THE BAD / The Bloom's low light output means surface conditions of the wall or object it illuminates can impact light quality. For example, a dark wall with a matte finish reflects the Bloom's light fractionally as well as a bright wall with a glossy finish does. You'll have to experiment with positioning to know which placement works best in your home.
THE BOTTOM LINE / As an accent light replete with all the bells and whistles that current domestic LED technology offers, the Philips Hue Bloom meets expectations. Although the Bloom doesn't set any new benchmarks in lighting technology, it provides plenty of features to keep you busy -- for a while. Features of this type easily to turn to tiresome novelty, and when you consider its premium price point, the Bloom withers.
The Bloom resembles a utility lamp -- police spotlights, freestanding track lights and industrial flashlights all bear an aesthetic kinship to the Bloom. But the lamp's function as a accent light somewhat justifies its appearance, as you likely won't use it as a centerpiece fixture -- the Bloom is meant to fulfill a supporting role in the play of light, not the lead.
Like other lamps in the Philips Hue series, the Bloom has clean lines and a pleasing minimalist design. Unfortunately, it also has a power cord -- a long, obtrusive, aesthetic-marring power cord you cannot easily hide.
That said, at just 5 x 5.1 x 4 inches, the Bloom exemplifies economy of space and fits just about anywhere -- behind a television for backlighting, under a favorite painting as an uplight or on a nightstand for mood enhancement are a few of many possibilities.
Setup & Packaging
The only difficulty you might encounter setting up the Bloom doesn't involve technicality -- it involves upfront investment. You must first purchase a Hue Starter Pack and includes up to three Hue bulbs and a hub for wireless functionality, or a Hue bridge.
You don't have many options for concealing the Bloom's unsightly power cord, though. Conduits attract as much attention as the cord itself, and while baseboard or raceway concealment is an option, the cord measures just 5.9 feet, making it unfeasible without an extension.
Bloom supports up to 16 million colors, with one exception -- it can't replicate the white ambiance of a traditional light bulb. The Bloom's plastic lens, however, diffuses light, which provides a degree of warmth. But again, as an accent light, the Bloom fulfills its purpose -- it highlights, accentuates and enhances its immediate surrounding area.
The Bloom only produces about 120 lumens -- about the equivalent of an eight-watt light bulb -- not so good for task lighting, but ideal for IFTTT functions where subtlety works best, such as email notifications, weather change alerts and rhythm syncing with online music providers.