Consumer Reports gets first look at web-enabled LED home light bulbs

CLEVELAND - Would you pay almost $200 for a package of lightbulbs? Consumer Reports took a first look at the Hue LED lightbulb system from Philips, which goes on sale October 30 exclusively at Apple stores.

What's unique about the Hue? It lets you change the color of the bulb's light to any shade you want, and you can do it wirelessly with a free app for your phone, tablet, or via your computer.

You can also set what time you want the Hue to go on and off.

So what do you get for $199? Three, 50-watt equivalent LED lightbulbs and a device you attach to your wireless router.

Consumer Reports tested the Hue for color temperature, brightness, and accuracy in this sphere. It evaluated the bulb at different light settings, including the default, around 2,700 Kelvin -- the color of a typical incandescent bulb-- and the "concentrate setting," which is a whiter, bluer light.

"We found that when the light was whiter, it was bright but the color wasn't very good. When the light was a warmer color and the accuracy was better, it wasn't quite as bright," said Consumer Reports' Celia Lehrman.

Still, Philips says the bulbs can provide 16 million different colors so you can customize the lighting in each room. Additional bulbs cost $59.

The Hue's app lets you to control up to 50 bulbs. So, you can light your entire home with these LED bulbs. That is, if you can afford them.

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