Best answer: If you're already deep into the Philips Hue ecosystem, the Tap is a great way to manage multiple Hue bulbs with a single button press, but it's expensive and some may still prefer controlling their lights from their phone.
Amazon: Philips Hue Tap ($45)
What exactly is the Tap?
One of Philips Hue's biggest advantages over competing smart light brands is its support for various hardware accessories, including motion sensors and light switches. The Tap is a circular remote control for your Hue bulbs that can be assigned to a room or multiple rooms of lights, but doesn't need to be hardwired into the wall like a traditional light switch. It includes a detachable plate you can adhere to the wall with 3M adhesives, but it works completely wirelessly.
The Tap features four customizable buttons, each of which can be assigned to a different scene from within the Philips Hue app. This means that with the press of a single button, you can turn the lights in one room purple and the lights in another room blue. Or turn only of your three bulbs on in a given room, the possibilities are endless. As with the rest of Philips Hue's products, you'll need a Hue Bridge to make the Tap work — but if you have Hue bulbs, then you undoubtedly already have a Bridge anyway.
One of the most interesting parts of the Tap is something you almost never need to think about. It doesn't run off of battery power, instead using the kinetic energy generated when you press the buttons. Because of this, there's no battery to charge or replace; Philips Hue rates the Tap for 50,000 clicks, which should mean that it'll last you for years, especially considering it likely won't be your sole means of controlling your lights.
Do I need one?
As with smart bulbs themselves, the Philips Hue Tap is all about convenience. Sure, you can call out commands to the voice assistant on your phone or smart speaker, but that isn't always the quickest way to get things done — especially when you're wanting to change multiple bulbs at once.
Pressing a single button on a remote is much more efficient than saying, for example, "okay Google, turn kitchen Light 1 blue, dim kitchen Light 2, and turn off the bedroom lights" (a niche example, I know, but it's a command I've had to issue before). Even for simpler voice commands, a physical button is just quicker when you're walking into a room.
That speed and convenience comes at a cost, though. The Philips Hue Tap costs a hefty $45 on Amazon right now — down from its original price of $60. That's as much as a Hue White and Color Ambiance bulb, which is a lot to ask for a remote. Still, if your home is already decked out in Hue bulbs, this is a fantastic way to operate your lights — though if you only have a few bulbs and merely want the option to turn on or dim your lights, you might be better off with the cheaper Smart Dimmer Switch.
Smart light switch
Assign scenes to each button for easier light controls.
The Tap has four customizable buttons and works without the need for a battery. It's a great way to control multiple Hue bulbs at once, but some may still prefer using their phone for everything.
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Hayato was a product reviewer and video editor for Android Central.