Philips Hue Fair Ceiling Lamp Unboxing & First Impressions
It’s been a while since I posted here about installing any new Philips Hue lighting kit. Well, I’ve got something new to share! We’ve installed the Philips Hue ‘Fair’ Ceiling Lamp into our entrance hallway. I’m pretty pleased with it, and today I’d like to share what it is, how we found the install process, and what it’s like as a lamp.
When I first started New Home Tricks, the Philips Hue product portfolio was a lot smaller than it is today. That isn’t to say it wasn’t a comprehensive set of products, but since that time, they’ve dramatically expanded the products on offer.
This has mostly come in the form of their lamp products. There are ceiling lamps, pendant lamps, wall lamps, table lamps, light bars, outdoor lamps - even an outdoor LED strip! These products come in one of two categories; light fittings that take regular bulbs but of course ship with Hue bulbs in the box (or pre-installed), and fully integrated lamps that have some form of LED array inside that is not user-replaceable.
If that last part about lamps where the actual light component is not user replaceable sounds like a bad deal, remember that LEDs have a very long lifespan. The lamp I’m focusing on here is rated for 25,000 hours of use. If used for 6 hours a day, that’s over a decade of life.
The Philips Hue ‘Fair’ ceiling lamp comes in two varieties. First there’s the ceiling lamp that hangs down from the ceiling to create a more low-level light effect. This is good for over a dining table for example. Then, there’s the flush fit version I’ve got for the entrance hallway. It comes in black or white, and has an output of 3,000 lumens. It’s one of Philips Hue’s ‘White Ambience’ Products. So, the brightness and warmth is adjustable, whilst the actual colour is not.
The product also ships with a Hue Dimmer switch in the box. This means you can actually use a product like this as a starter kit if you’d like. The dimmer switch can control up to ten lights without the need for the Hue Bridge. Of course if you want to get more sophisticated with your smart lighting, or have more than ten lights, then you’re going to need the bridge. Without it, you’re not going to be able to use the app for example, or engage in automation, or hook in to other smart home products like Alexa or Google Home.
Installation had a few snags. First was more related to our house - the ceiling turned out to be a false plasterboard ceiling, so locating the correct places to drill holes was a challenge. After that, the next issue was that the lamp itself didn’t really have connectors that were appropriate for a common UK lighting setup. In the UK, ceiling light wiring can be part of a loop, so each light also needs to be a junction on the loop. The Hue Fair lamp connectors didn’t really provide for this, and there were no additional connector blocks in the box.
In addition, the wiring diagrams in the box were basic at best. From an installation standpoint, it’s clear that the intention is for someone who knows what they’re doing to handle the wiring. If you’re not confident with this sort of thing, then get a professional to do the installation for you.
Once installed however, the rest of the process of adding the light to our Philips Hue system was exactly the same as for a bulb. Discover the light, add it to a room (or setup a new room if needed), and that’s it!
With the Hue Dimmer installed, we also had a nice way to control the light without needing to launch the app every time we want to turn the light on and off. We also added a Philips Hue motion sensor so the light will come on automatically when anyone walks through the entrance hall area. Plus, we added a Hue White GU10 spot for a small under-staircase cubby-hole where we store shoes / coats etc.
The lamp looks great, and disperses the light nicely over a good area. It sits just shy of an inch from the ceiling, and casts some light upwards to give a nice ‘glow’ just above the light. Now, upon entering the house, light comes on automatically, and certainly looks a lot better than the old light we had installed.
The lamp is a little on the pricey side, and I would say that it would be more appropriate at a slightly lower price point. That said, I’m not disappointed, and will certainly consider looking at other Hue lamps for further expansion in our home.