Philips continues to expand its popular Hue lineup of ingenious lighting products with the introduction of its first wireless dimmer. The four-button (on/off, dim up/down) dimmer can be stuck to the wall just like the Hue Tap wireless switch. And like Tap, it can be popped out of the wall plate for use as a remote control.
However, unlike Tap, Philip’s new dimmer is powered by a thin CR2450 battery instead of the kinetic energy generated each time you press a Tap button. That will make the dimmer feel more like a traditional switch since you don’t have to forcefully mash the buttons to generate power. It’s also notably thinner than the $59.95 Tap as a result (11mm vs. 25mm) and costs just $39.95 for the dimmer and one Philips Hue warm white (2700K) bulb which usually costs $19.95 when purchased separately.
Prevents family members from inadvertently cutting the power
Best of all, it’s just the right size to replace traditional wired dimmers and switches. While Philips doesn’t encourage it, there’s nothing to stop owners with basic electrical skills from removing their existing switch and faceplate from the wall, capping off the existing wires, and using the new dimmers to cover the hole. This prevents family members from inadvertently cutting the power to light sockets and thus rendering Hue bulbs useless to apps, IFTTT commands, and any other intelligence you add to your home.
Philips promises smooth, flicker-free, buzz-free, and instant-on control over as many as 10 Hue bulbs — something that’s not guaranteed if you’ve ever tried pairing a cheap dimmer with certain LEDs. It’s also "future-proof," according to Philips, which means it can be upgraded when connected to the company’s Bridge hub (not included). In other words, it’ll work with HomeKit when Philips opens the door to Apple in the fall.
So really, unless you want mushy push-button access to scenes, there’s very little reason you’d ever want to purchase the Tap now that the smarter, smaller, and cheaper Hue dimmer has arrived. Look for it in all the usual places around North America when it ships in September.