The $49.99 Philips Hue Faucet Dial swap is a good lighting controller for the Hue superuser. It’s probably the most highly effective and revolutionary Hue accent thus far, with 4 buttons and a bodily dial for dimming. Out of the field, the buttons and dial are tied to a zone or room, making it look like an overpowered Hue Good Dimmer Change. However why restrict your self to 1 room when this will management your Hue lights all through your own home?

The Faucet Dial is a wi-fi, battery-operated good swap that may flip your Philips Hue lights on and off, brighten and dim them, and set lighting scenes. With a magnetic base, it may be connected to its included wall plate like a daily wall swap or positioned on any metallic or flat floor to be used as a distant management.

It’s a part of Hue’s good lighting ecosystem, which works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Residence, and Samsung SmartThings. Signify (house owners of Hue) additionally confirmed to The Verge that the swap will likely be upgraded to work with the new good residence customary Matter. Meaning sooner or later, it would have the ability to management much more than simply Hue lights.

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The Faucet Dial is hefty, weighing simply over two and a half ounces (an oz. heavier than the Apple TV distant). However that weight is to its benefit; you may flip the dial whereas it’s sitting on the desk, and it gained’t slide round. The dial itself has an excellent strong really feel as you flip it, with good haptic suggestions. It’s lots like rotating a Nest Studying Thermostat, and it’s solely a smidge smaller than that. It additionally labored rapidly and reliably, and the dimming motion was easy and responsive, with no noticeable lag.

Out of the field, it’s set as much as dim whichever lights, room, or zone you pair it with within the Hue app. Buttons one by way of three regulate the sunshine ranges, and the fourth cycles by way of 5 Hue scenes. The dial offers extra exact dimming, and an extended press on any button turns the lights off. (Hue scenes are totally different mixtures of brightness, shade temperature, or shade, relying on the sorts of bulbs you’ve got.)

However there’s no actual cause to purchase the Faucet Dial if you happen to’re simply going to regulate a single room or zone. That’s what the Hue Dimmer Change does effectively at about half the worth. The Faucet Dial shines as a multizone controller for folks with plenty of Hue lights.

Flip the dial to the correct to brighten your lights and to the left to dim. The quicker you flip it, the faster it brightens; the slower you flip it, the extra exactly you management the dimming degree.

I arrange the Faucet Dial in my entry corridor, with every button programmed to regulate a distinct a part of my home. Button one turned on all of the Hue lights in the home, button two these within the entry corridor and lounge, button three the upstairs lights, and button 4 the downstairs lights. I additionally added some colourful scenes for subsequent button presses (you may press every button as much as 10 occasions to cycle by way of extra scenes) however didn’t discover myself utilizing them typically.

I set the dial to regulate all of the lights without delay. One limitation of utilizing the Faucet Dial this manner is that the dial can solely management both all lights or a single room or zone. I’d prefer it to dim or brighten the lights for whichever button you simply pressed. The marginally clunky workaround right here is to make use of the second and third presses on every button to dim the lights that aren’t managed by the dial.

The default setup within the Hue app (left); the settings for the dial (which embrace the choice to dim to minimal brightness and to off); and the choice to cycle by way of a number of scenes (as much as 10) with subsequent presses.

The upside is I’ve a central lighting controller that provides me bodily entry to all of the lights in my home with out having to drag out a cellphone or use a voice command. That makes this gadget actually helpful. If my home had been absolutely outfitted with Hue lights, I might contemplate this a vital buy. It isn’t, although, and till this will successfully management each good mild in my residence, no matter model (which it could possibly do when Matter will get right here), this makes it extra of a nice-to-have than essential for me.

The opposite problem is that even with what I assumed was an intuitive setup, it’s not straightforward to recollect which button does what, and I’d like the choice to label them with slightly icon or emoji.

The Faucet Dial is weighty within the hand, and its robust magnet snaps simply again into the wall plate.

In case your complete house is kitted out with Hue bulbs and lighting fixtures, it is a helpful bodily controller to handle all of them. In case you have Hue outside lighting, it may be programmed to regulate these, too. At $50, it’s an costly piece of package, plus it makes use of Zigbee, so you must have a Hue Bridge ($59.99), however there aren’t many good options for dimming good bulbs.

Most good dimmer switches solely work with customary bulbs, not good ones. Your different choices for Hue bulbs, exterior of asking a voice assistant to set the lights to 70 p.c or hopping right into a smartphone app, embrace urgent and holding a button on the Hue Dimmer Change ($28) or twisting the rotating dial on the Lutron Aurora ($40), a retrofit possibility for toggle switches. I’ve tried all these, and the Faucet Dial is unquestionably the nicest to make use of.

The Faucet Dial swap can be utilized with or with out the wall mount, which is bigger than an ordinary wall plate.

The 4 buttons have raised dots so you may know which you’re urgent even at midnight.

The swap makes use of a single CR2032 battery that ought to final two years. (The primary Faucet swap was powered kinetically).

For those who solely have just a few Hue bulbs, you’ll be higher off with the cheaper Hue Good Dimmer, which may do every part this system does, simply with much less particular person room management and with a clunkier interface for dimming.

The Good Dimmer additionally has the choice of time-based lighting — the place the lights activate at a sure brightness primarily based on the time of day — an incredible characteristic that, oddly, is just not but provided on the Faucet Dial. Kelly Hrank, head of PR at Signify, instructed me the characteristic is coming quickly. The swap can also be not built-in into the Hue Labs characteristic of the Hue app, which helps you to arrange extra highly effective lighting scenes, and Hrank says there are not any plans to take action.

Like the sooner now discontinued Hue Faucet, the Faucet Dial can be utilized as a HomeKit scene controller, however proper now, you shouldn’t hassle. The dial doesn’t work in HomeKit (which is a limitation of Apple’s, not Hue’s), and you’ll solely use a single press to set off Automations. That makes this $50 dial swap a much less helpful model of the Wemo Stage I simply reviewed, which is designed particularly for HomeKit and was faster at working HomeKit Automations than the Faucet Dial in testing.

The Faucet Dial will likely be getting extra options shortly. The choice to “Configure in HomeKit” has been obtainable for Hue equipment for years, however the Hue app now incorporates an choice to configure the Faucet Dial in one other app — the Faucet Dial is the primary Hue accent to help this. The choice doesn’t do something but, however Hrank instructed The Verge that Amazon Alexa will likely be among the many apps you may set the Faucet Dial up in.

This ought to imply you’ll have the ability to use the Faucet Dial to regulate any Alexa-compatible good system (not simply Hue, and never simply lights), as is the case if you happen to use it in HomeKit. Plus, if the dial is uncovered to Alexa, this may be a really helpful lighting management for the huge Alexa ecosystem, particularly if you happen to might use the buttons to set off Routines. I’ll check this as quickly as it’s obtainable and report again.

All this openness is probably going a part of the preparation for Matter, a novel characteristic of which is multi-admin management — the choice to set units as much as be managed by any Matter-compatible ecosystem. With Matter-support, the Faucet Dial may very well be used to regulate each mild in my home regardless of who made them — a a lot better proposition than being locked into Hue’s costly ecosystem.

However don’t purchase the Faucet Dial now for what it would have the ability to do later. In case you have Hue lights all through your private home and need to have the ability to management them from a single system (with a bodily dimmer!), the Faucet Dial is beneficial now. For anybody else, wait and see what’s coming.

Images by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

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