Philips Launches New WiFi-Connected Lightbulbs Not Named HUE

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Hot on the heels of the expansion of the Philips HUE line into Bluetooth territory, Philips is announcing a brand new series of Philips-branded lightbulbs called 'WiZ Connected'. These new bulbs connect directly to WiFi and don't require a hub or bridge to connect to the Internet.  That makes getting setup less expensive and much easier than what Philips currently offers with HUE. They're also significantly less than Philips existing line of HUE bulbs, and a color A19 WiZ bulb can be bought for the same price as a white-only HUE bulb.

So why in the world would anyone still want to pay more for a Philips HUE bulb? Turns out Philips WiZ Connected bulbs are a rebranding of WiZ bulbs, a company that Philips' Signify lighting division acquired in April of this year. As such, they won't work with the existing HUE ecosystem and require an entirely separate app to function.

That's pretty confusing for consumers who are just looking to get a name-brand Philips smart bulb.

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Falling outside of the HUE ecosystem certainly makes these bulbs less attractive on the surface. But they have plenty of upsides that people will likely choose over the existing line of Philips HUE bulbs. As said before, these bulbs are significantly cheaper than existing Philips HUE bulbs. Some bulbs also offer more functionality, depending on the type chosen. A single Philips HUE White A19 bulb can be purchased for $13.97 at Home Depot. A Philips WiZ Connected Color and Tunable White A19 bulb is $14.97.

One dollar more for added color functionality and direct WiFi connectivity is a pretty incredible deal.

Direct WiFi connectivity is a huge advantage over the Philips HUE line. Philips HUE bulbs require a $60 bridge to connect the bulbs to the Internet. HUE also has a maximum of 50 bulbs per bridge. It's not difficult to see how the WiZ Connected line can quickly become a significantly cheaper investment. WiZ Connected bulbs don't need a Bluetooth radio inside since they connect directly to WiFi. That means an easier way to get things connected out of the box and no need for extra equipment either.

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The WiZ app supports Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Siri Shortcuts, and even IFTTT as well, meaning you won't lose connectivity with your favorite services or virtual assistants. All of these are important as they enable you to control the bulbs not just with your voice, but also with a plethora of other smart home gadgets as well, unifying your home under a single virtual assistant or set of rules.

Home Depot Only, for now.

Home Depot's website is currently the sole place to purchase these bulbs for the time being, but Philips WiZ Connected bulbs will be in Home Depot stores soon as well. Five different types of Philips WiZ Connected bulbs are available on Home Depot's website right now.

A19 Color and White.

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A19 Edison Style White.

ST19 Edison Style Amber.

G25 Edison Style White.

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BR30 Spotlight Style Color and White.

There's no word on Amazon or other store availability at this time.