A long time coming, but so worth the wait.
Early adopters of the Philips Hue bulbs are used to messing around with third-party apps by now. Philips opening up its APIs at an early stage was a smart move, and the number of incredible apps to have come from that are well worth talking about. At the same time, one of the big reasons many users turned to third-party apps in the first place was due largely to how confusing and downright featureless the Philips Hue app was.
Recently Philips released Hue Gen 2, a replacement to the original Hue app. We've been using it for a few days now, and it is without a doubt the most complete app you can have for your smart bulbs today.
First things first — we have Material Design for the new Hue app, and it's fantastic. There are a lot of flat card-like interfaces, a FAB in the bottom right or just about every screen, and the animations for this whole app are fantastic. Hue put a lot of work into the design, and the app feels so much nicer than the previous design.
Philips has done a fantastic job here.
The design is far from the big feature here, though. That honor goes to Hue's decision to finally implement room organization for its lights. You can split bulbs up by room, and control entire rooms all at once without having to program different scenes for each room. It's exactly as simple as it should be, without sacrificing individual bulb controls or the Philips scene system. All of the original Philips features still exist, but the organization has shifted to rooms before scenes, and the difference that makes is significant. It means you can quickly toggle entire rooms, and if you're using multiple colors in a room you see that displayed right in the main menu.
Remote access features that were added to the original Hue app have become a great deal more functional in this second generation app as well. Auto-dimming lights as you leave the house, or remotely controlling your bulbs from the Hue app is significantly more reliable. There's also a separate section of the app for setting up Friends of Hue, which includes things like Nest and Amazon Echo integration.
All around, this new app is a significantly more complete complete thought when compared to the previous experience. It looks nicer, runs smoother, and all of the features are nice and easy to access. Philips has done a fantastic job here, and Hue bulbs finally have a single app that covers all of the core features nicely. There are still great third-party apps out there for folks who have already found a comfortable alternative, but the core app is incredible for now and it's about time.