First launched again in 2015, the first-generation Dimmer Swap from Signify-owned Philips Hue was beginning to really feel decidedly dated, which makes the arrival of its drastically improved successor greater than well timed.
Not solely does the second-gen Dimmer Swap look extra modern, it additionally provides a brand new Hue button and a time-based gentle scene mode, together with a bigger wall plate that enables for each peel-and-stick in addition to screw mounting. In the meantime, one of many killer options of the unique Dimmer Swap—the power to configure it through HomeKit—hasn’t gone anyplace. Additionally unchanged: the cheap $25 price ticket.
This evaluate is a part of TechHive’s protection of the perfect sensible gentle switches and dimmers, the place you’ll discover opinions of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options it is best to think about when looking for one of these product.
Design and specs
Measuring 3.6 x 1.4 x 0.3 inches (HxWxD), the brand new Hue Dimmer Swap is (when measured with out its included wall plate) roughly the identical dimension as the unique, however that’s the place the similarities finish. For starters, the corners of the swap are extra rounded than the older, boxier swap, and relatively than the shiny—and to be completely frank, cheap-looking—end of the unique, the brand new model has a matte end that’s (mockingly) way more polished-looking.
In one other change, the brand new Dimmer Swap ditches the four-button design of its predecessor. Now, as an alternative of “on,” “brighter,” “dimmer,” and “off” buttons, there’s an “on/off” button, a brightness up/down rocker, and a “Hue” button for switching lighting scenes. By combining the on/off buttons and including the Hue button, the brand new Dimmer Swap basically offers you a further button to play with. I’ll describe the performance of the Hue button in a bit.
Additionally modified is the Hue Dimmer Swap’s wall plate. As with the swap itself, the plate now has a matte look relatively than the shiny end on the unique—a welcome, better-looking change. And whereas the unique plate was commonplace dimension (4.5 x 2.75 inches), the brand new plate is midsize (4.88 x 3.13 inches). It additionally is available in two snap-together items, with the rear part boasting each a peel-and-stick adhesive backing in addition to six holes for mounting screws.
As with the unique, the brand new Dimmer Swap magnetically snaps onto its wall plate, though even that performance has modified. Now, as an alternative of being housed contained in the wall plate, the magnets now sit throughout the swap itself. Which means (just like the Hue Sensible Button) you may snap the swap onto something steel, similar to a fridge door or a steel lamp pole.
The brand new Dimmer Swap is powered by a CR2032 coin cell battery (versus the CR2045 cell battery for the older mannequin), and Signify guarantees two years of battery life on a single battery.
Set up and setup
As with its predecessor, the brand new Hue Dimmer Swap could be put in utilizing the wall plate’s peel-and-stick backing. I ended up sticking my check unit in precisely the identical spot on my kitchen wall the place the unique swap was. (Watch out eradicating the previous wall plate, by the way in which; the adhesive on mine took a piece of wall paint together with it.) And as I simply talked about, a brand new choice is to screw relatively than stick the plate to your wall.
As soon as that’s carried out, you merely fireplace up the Hue cell app, faucet Settings > Equipment > Add accent, after which observe the directions. For me, the app discovered the Zigbee-enabled Hue Dimmer Swap inside a couple of seconds, and a minute later it was linked to my Hue Bridge. You then get to decide on which lights the swap will management; you may decide a room, a zone (similar to upstairs or downstairs), or a number of particular person lights.
Talking of bridges, the Hue Bridge is required to make use of the Hue Dimmer Swap. When you’ve got Hue lights in your house that you just’ve been controlling through Bluetooth relatively than Zigbee, you’ll must pony up for the bridge so as to add the brand new swap to your setup.
Options and performance
The addition of the Hue button marks the most important change between the previous Dimmer Swap and the brand new one, and you may set it to certainly one of two modes: “scene cycle” or “time-based” gentle.
As you most likely guessed, the scene-cycle mode cycles your lights by way of a collection of lighting scenes as you press the Hue button. You may decide as much as 5 completely different scenes; so, for instance, urgent the Hue button as soon as would possibly activate a “Shiny” scene, a second press might set off the “Focus” scene, and so forth. The previous Dimmer Swap has the identical scene-cycle performance, besides you cycle by way of scenes by urgent the facility button repeatedly relatively than the Hue button (which the unique Dimmer Swap lacks, in fact).
The second mode for the Hue button is “time-based” gentle, which prompts completely different scenes upon urgent the Hue button relying on the time of day. You get 5 three-hour time zones, beginning at 7:00 within the morning. Relying on the way you configure the time-based mode, urgent the Hue button at dawn would possibly set off a heat gentle scene, whereas urgent it at midnight would possibly activate the night time gentle scene.
Moreover configuring the Hue button, it’s also possible to select what the facility button does. One choice is for the facility button to show in your assigned lights with the last-used lighting scene, whereas the opposite choice at all times triggers the identical assigned gentle scene. It’s also possible to assign an motion to urgent and holding the facility button, however there’s only one: turning off all of the lights in your home (the opposite “press and maintain” alternative is solely to do nothing).
Whilst you can configure the swap’s “energy on” performance, you may’t do the identical for “energy off.” In different phrases, if the lights that the Dimmer Swap controls are on and also you press the facility button, the lights will at all times flip off, and there’s no choice for altering that conduct. For many customers, that’s most likely not a difficulty, however should you had been hoping for full management of the facility button for extra elaborate setups, that’s the deal.
Lastly, there’s the central dimmer rocker, and it does precisely the identical factor as the 2 dimmer buttons on the unique Dimmer Swap: It both brightens or dims your managed lights. As with the primary Dimmer Swap, the dimmer controls on the brand new model can’t be configured in any respect—or at the least, not with the Hue app.
Simply as with the primary Dimmer Swap, the brand new model is configurable with HomeKit, and that features all 4 buttons (HomeKit counts the central rocker as two buttons, therefore a complete of 4). Which means you could possibly assign any HomeKit scene or automation to any of the Dimmer Switches buttons, in addition to management any HomeKit-compatible sensible machine.
For instance, you could possibly set the Hue button to activate (say) your LG TV and set it to your Apple TV enter, or make the swap’s energy button open your HomeKit-enabled sensible shades. You may even assign a number of scenes or automations to a button press, too.
In different phrases, you could possibly use HomeKit to show the Hue Dimmer Swap right into a management panel to your HomeKit gadgets, and the bounds of what you could possibly do are just about certain by your creativeness. Fairly superior.
I’ve lengthy felt that the plastic-y, cheap-looking Hue Dimmer Swap from 2015 was a weak hyperlink in in any other case spectacular Hue lineup. However with this revamped model, Signify has rectified a lot of the authentic’s shortcomings, with the end result being extra polished, trendy, and purposeful. On the similar time, first-gen Dimmer Swap options that did work effectively—together with the simple set up and setup, plus the HomeKit compatibility—have stay unchanged. For Philips Hue customers with a bridge, the brand new Dimmer Swap is a straightforward advice.