When converting your home over to smart lighting, the task of swapping in a bunch of smart light switches can be daunting. Turning off the power to the room, wiring in the switch, and hoping you didn’t mess something up along the way.
The Philips Hue Smart Dimmer Switch aims to solve not just that problem, but a few more. This switch is easy to configure, has nice versatility, and most importantly, is highly affordable.
Wireless switch runs on a battery
The first thing you’ll notice is that Philips has designed this to be wireless. Instead of having to play amateur electrician, this unit operates via battery (CR2450). Not only does that simplify the installation process, but it allows you to place the switch anywhere in the home.
Philips provides a couple ways to mount the dimmer switch to your wall. You can either use some adhesive on the back or screw the plate in. While the adhesive works flawlessly, the location of the screws don’t line up with a standard junction box (which is an egregious design flaw). You also can’t really put this into a standard decora faceplate without some meddling.
The Philips Dimmer Switch is built in two separate parts. The wall plate and the detachable remote control. The two connect via some strong magnets which works surprisingly well. As a late night reader, it’s nice to be able to remove the remote so that I can turn off the lights without getting out of bed.
There is an older feel to the remote’s design. It blends in well with traditional wall switches and utilizes four push buttons. This is a sharp contrast from other smart dimmer switches which can feature touch pads and lights. While this is done to preserve battery life, I do miss those little extras that make your smart gadgets seem futuristic.
No need for a Philips Hue Hub
For some of you, this will be another addition to your Philips Hue ecosystem. But for those testing the waters of smart lighting, this dimmer switch gives you the opportunity to start without their $40 hub.
Without the Hub, you can control up to 10 Philips Hue bulbs off a single remote. You don’t even have to connect to the internet either. But you are limited to the standard functions on the dimmer switch. It essentially becomes a remote light switch.
Hue Hub adds smart home functionality
To get the most out of the Philips Smart Dimmer Switch, you’ll need the Hue Hub. This allows you to connect up to 50 lights in your home to the switch. That offers up a lot of possibilities, although the range isn’t that great.
The Hub also adds some additional features to the switch. You’ll be able to configure 4 different scenes that can be triggered using multiple presses of the “ON” button. For instance, I set up a scene specifically for when I leave the house. It turns on a light in the front window while turning off the others in the room.
With the Hue App (or one of the alternative options like iConnectHue), you can customize everything. Create timers or schedules, set up scenes, and even sync it up with one of the many Philips partners. They include Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and more.
Flexible gadget at an affordable price
At its core, the Philips Smart Dimmer Switch is a simple remote control switch. You can set it up just about anywhere and control a Philips Hue bulb in seconds. Heck, if you buy their kit, the bulb that comes with it is preconfigured to work with your switch. Doesn’t get much easier than that.
For those who are looking to get started or need a simpler solution to their lighting, this is a great buy. Not only is it handy for the everyday homeowner, but an affordable tool for elderly individuals or those with disabilities.
Advanced Philips users can find some value here too. This is half the price of the popular Lutron Caseta that features a remote. And it seamlessly integrates into your existing Hue ecosystem.
Overall, you can’t go wrong at this price. It doesn’t have the fancy look of some competitors like the Wemo Dimmer Switch, but is more flexible due to its wireless build. I’m annoyed it doesn’t screw in to existing junction boxes. But if you can overlook that design flaw, this is another great product from Philips.