Philips Hue Go review: is it really worth the hype?

Looking for an honest Philips Go review? Tech expert James Peckham shares his thoughts on this portable, standalone light from Philips

Philips Hue Go review
(Image credit: Philips)

Real Homes Verdict

The Philips Hue Go has a contemporary look that you either love or hate. It’s portable but, with a battery life of just three hours, you need to charge it regularly. At around £70, it’s not cheap, but we love the Hue functionality.

Reasons to buy

  • +

    You can ask your smart speaker to initiate particular lighting routines or change the colour of the light.

  • +

    You can turn the light on from the app on your phone – even when you’re out.

  • +

    You can set it to slowly get brighter, waking you up gently in the morning.

Reasons to avoid

  • -

    If you don’t own a Hue Bridge you’ll lose out on the smart features and just have a normal light.

  • -

    Tricky to stand up while it’s charging.

Looking for an honest Philips Hue Go review? If you’re thinking of investing in the Philips Hue Go as a smart lighting solution – either as your first foray into the world of smart lighting, or to expand an existing Philips Hue set up – you’ll want to check whether it’s worth the money before you invest.

We enlisted the help of TechRadar’s James Peckham to talk us through the pros (and cons) of this model, so you can decide whether it’'s right for you. You’ll find everything you need to know below.

Want to consider all your options? Browse our pick of the best smart lighting gadgets to light up your home. Then, for more smart home tech advice, information and specialist reviews, check out The Hub, our handy technology home page.

What is the Philips Hue Go?

The Philips Hue Go isn’t a light bulb that will connect into the existing sockets around your home, like in the Starter Kit. Instead, it’s a standalone lamp that you can buy to use separately, plus it’s portable so you can take it away from where you normally keep it.

Philips Hue Go review

(Image credit: Philips)

Philips Hue Go Design

The Philips Hue Go has a dramatically different design from a lot of the other products in the Hue range, which usually attempt to hide away as they look like normal light bulbs or thin strip lighting. The Hue Go is a large circular light that’s unashamedly bold.

It’s a circular device that many will appreciate, and it’s designed to fit on a bedside table or side table with ease. That said, it won’t be to everyone’s taste.

The rear of the light is rounded, but there’s a small lip at the back of the device that you can use to stand it up. I found this to be a touch frustrating as where you plug in the power cable is just below the lip, meaning you can’t stand the light up when you’ve got it on charge.

Philips Hue Go review

(Image credit: Philips)

It did further encourage me to use the light without the power cable though, reminding us that this is a portable light after all. It’ll last for three hours on maximum brightness, which isn’t particularly impressive when you consider some other lighting options on the market.

Like the rest of the Philips Hue range, you’ve got the choice of 30 million different colours. You’re not going to use all of those shades, but it gives you lots of choices when deciding on a colour within the palette included on the app.

There’s a button on the rear of the device that I found to be an easy way to control the light. It’ll turn on from a single press, or you can cycle through a variety of options including dynamic light effects, a warm white colour, and a selection of other shades including blue and green.

My favourite feature comes when you pair the Philips Hue Go with a smart speaker though, but you’ll need to own a Philips Hue Bridge to be able to do that. That’s something that’s included in the Philips Hue Starter Kit, or you can buy it separately to open up a world of smart features. 

It’s worth making clear here that if you don’t own a Hue Bridge you’ll lose out on the smart features of the Philips Hue Go and instead you’ll just have a normal light.

Read more about our pick of the best smart speakers.

Smart features

Pairing the Go with a Hue Bridge means you can control the light from your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant (both of which we’ve reviewed) or Apple Siri sporting smart speaker as well as through an app on your iPhone or Android device.

We’d heartily recommend connecting it to both as it makes the Philips Hue Go a much more accessible and feature-packed product rather than just a singular light that will work on your bedside table when you press the button.

Once you’re set up, you can ask your smart speaker to initiate particular lighting routines, to change the colour of the light in your room, make the light warmer, or turn it off altogether. Doing that with your voice is a joy, especially for the first few times you do it.

Philips Hue Go

(Image credit: Philips)

One of our favourite features is the fact that you can turn the light on from the app on your phone, which means you can even put your lights on from the car when you get home on a winter’s night. It also means you can make it look like someone is living in your home when you’re away to deter burglars.

The fact that the light can display 30 million colours is difficult to comprehend. You can either ask your smart speaker for a generic colour, or you can find an exact shade using the colour palette functionality within the app on your phone. If you’re looking for a very specific shade, you’ll want to use the app. 

Once you’ve found a colour, you can save it as a favourite and in the future you’ll be able to activate it on the smart speaker by saying the name you saved it as. The app also allows you to set up routines for the light so you can schedule it to work like an alarm, slowly getting brighter to wake you up in the morning.

Verdict 

The Philips Hue Go isn’t the most attractive product in the Hue range, and it doesn’t disappear into your decor like some products in the family. If you’re looking for a bedside lamp, or you don’t mind the design, this likely won’t be a problem.

With a battery life of three hours, we’re not convinced this is particularly portable for long trips away, but it’s lovely to have the option there so long as you remember that you’ll need to charge it up after a few hours of use.

At around £70, it’s one of the more expensive options for a portable smart light but it works well and comes with all of the Hue functionality we’ve come to love. The smart features are where the Philips Hue Go particularly excels. 

We love the fact that you can control it easily with your voice, as well as the controls within the phone app, and the buttons on the back of the device make it easy for you to quickly cycle through a variety of different modes, too.

Looking for more expert tech reviews?