Control Your Home Lighting from Anywhere with these Apps


While using an iPhone to control appliances around the house is a major trend, few products pull off this feat as successfully as LED bulbs. With programmable (or smart) LEDs, you can dim, turn on/off, or set schedules for lights from the couch – or anywhere else in the world. After testing, we found two systems worth considering: one by Philips and another from TCP.

Setup with both is easy, and identical: Screw in the bulbs, plug a wireless bridge into your WiFi router, and download the free app to your smartphone (Android or iOS). The three-bulb Connected by TCP kit ($143, comes with a small remote control, but the app is more fun, with options to create preset lighting configurations (automatically turn a light on/off at night, etc.), or dim specific lights with a swipe.

The more expensive Philips Hue Starter Kit ($200, also includes three bulbs but has no remote. You can toggle similar settings for both single lights, or groups of them (the system works with up to 50). The major difference between these products, apart from price, is color customization. TCP's models are locked into a standard, pleasing soft-white color temperature, but the Philips can emit many different colors from odd greens to pleasing oranges and reds.