Wi-Fi with a hub

Philips Hue White Ambiance

Bluetooth bulb

C by GE C-Sleep

The White Ambiance is compatible with Philips Hue's wide range of accessories like motion sensors and dimmer switches, though it requires a hub for operation. Like the C-Sleep, it changes color temperature throughout the day.

$30 at Amazon

Pros

  • Works with all voice assistants
  • Wide range of Philips Hue accessories

Cons

  • Requires a Hue Bridge for operation
  • Not quite as bright as the C-Sleep

The C-Sleep works over Bluetooth out of the box, with an optional add-on hub that enables Wi-Fi connectivity and voice assistant support. It also changes color temperature throughout the day to match your sleep schedule.

$30 at Amazon

Pros

  • Works without a hub
  • Multiple bulbs can mesh together to extend Bluetooth range

Cons

  • No accessory ecosystem
  • Hub required for remote control and voice assistants

If you're in the market for a smart bulb that simply displays varying shades of white, Philips Hue and C by GE are worth considering. Both make bulbs that change color temperature throughout the day to ease you into your mornings and help you wind down at night, but each comes with a set of pros and cons — the trick is narrowing down which is better for you.

Trading Bluetooth compatibility for ecosystems

Both bulbs require a hub to operate over Wi-Fi, but the C-Sleep can fall back to Bluetooth 4.0. This lets it work out of the box without a hub, but it also means you'll be limited to a 50-foot range — though if you have multiple bulbs spread through the house, they can mesh together to effectively extend their range. With Philips Hue's White Ambiance, you'll need a Hue Bridge to perform even basic functions with it (the same goes for all Philips Hue bulbs).

That doesn't mean you won't benefit from picking up a C-Reach bridge for the C-Sleep bulb, though. Without it, you can't control your bulb when you're out of Bluetooth range (so when you're away from home), and you won't be able to use it with a voice assistant, either. Even with a C-Reach, though, the C-Sleep is only compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa, while the Hue White Ambiance additionally supports HomeKit and Cortana.

Both require a hub for Wi-Fi functionality, but the C-Sleep works out of the box with Bluetooth.

While both bulbs can be scheduled to gradually change color temperature throughout the day, the C-Sleep only supports four color temperatures — 2700K, 3000K, 4000K, and 5000K. The White Ambiance can display thousands of shades of white, ranging from 2200K to 6500K, and can connect with other smart home accessories like thermostats to further automate your home.

Philips Hue also has a wide selection of accessories for its smart lights, from wireless dimmer switches to motion sensors and options from third parties, and you can save money by buying these accessories bundled with the bulbs. By contrast, C by GE has a single motion-sensing light switch.

Both smart bulbs are plenty capable, but if you're already going to buy a hub to operate your bulbs over Wi-Fi and to maybe hook it up with other devices, you should buy the Philips Hue White Ambiance. Its wider range of color temperatures and vast support for accessories, voice assistants, and other smart home products makes it well worth the money. If you're okay with running strictly off of Bluetooth, however, and don't need to connect with other accessories or bulbs, the C-Sleep can be a significantly cheaper option without sacrificing much.

Wi-Fi with a hub

Philips Hue White Ambiance

Connects with more accessories and voice assistants

The White Ambiance requires an expensive Hue Bridge for even basic operation, but it supports a variety of accessories and connects with other smart home products.

Bluetooth bulb

C by GE C-Sleep

A hub isn't necessary — but it certainly helps.

You'll need a C-Bridge hub to use the C-Sleep over Wi-Fi, but if you don't mind sticking to Bluetooth, it's a significantly cheaper option that works right out of the box.

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