Philips Hue Go Review: A smart Bluetooth light that you take on the road

An update to this portable light extends the battery life and adds stability to the design, but connecting to voice assistants is challenging

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Nothing like a re-fresh — particularly when it comes to a fan favorite. And that's exactly what Philips Hue has done with its popular Hue Go, a portable smart light that can be linked into the Philips Hue bridge and app, but can also work solely on its own as a soft lamp for the home, but also one that can go outside, to the beach and even stitched into a holiday display. The lamp can also be controlled via voice assistants, although we had a rough time, at first, before getting this feature to work.

Should we call it Go 2?

Philips Hue launched the Hue Go in 2015, one of the early addition to its line up, a half dome of light that ticked through different colors schemes, along with multiple tones of white light. The promise of Hue Go, though, was in the name: the lamp could go with you anywhere you wanted, with a battery life that kept it glowing for hours.

The update extends the life of the battery, and also adds a lip to the bottom of the lamp, allowing it be placed more firmly on a surface. That little detail makes a nice difference, a light source that can be more stable, which in a house with a child and a dog, is appreciated.

The round, white Philips Hue Go light on a white table as seen from the top The Philips Hue Go lamp connects to a Bluetooth app so it can be controlled remotelyGearBrain

Works with Hue Bridge and the app

Like other Hue lights, the Hue Go is neatly woven into the Philips Hue Bridge and the app. That means you can control it via voice through Alexa and Google Assistant, and also through the app, and tack the Hue Go into your smart light line-up.

Buy Hue Go Here

Yet the reason the Hue Go has been so popular, is that you don't need the Hue Bridge to make Hue Go work. It's an independent sort, a light that can stand out on its own. How simple is it to get the Hue Go to work? You unbox the lamp, plug in the charger, and juice up the battery. Within two hours the Hue Go is fully charged. However, you can use the bulb while plugged in as well.

You can also control the light via the Philips Hue Bluetooth app. Make sure you search for the Bluetooth version of the app — not the regular one — on either the App Store or in the Google Play store if you have an Android device.

Once you've downloaded the app, you'll be able to add your Bluetooth lights. With the Hue Go, plug it into a power source, and then you'll want to hold the button on the bottom of the lamp for 10 seconds to turn it off — wait for it to blink blue twice — and then turn it back on, all while keeping the lamp within three feet of your smartphone. The blinking, which is not written in the app, is crucial. You must wait for the light to blink before turning it on again.

We actually had trouble connecting to the app this way. The app just said it was connecting — and did this on and off for 30 minutes. We could not find any help on the web site. We finally reached out to Philips Hue, who told us to wait until we see the light begin to flicker and blink. That detail, we believe, should be added to the app.


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Light options

If you're using the lamp without an app, you do need to operate the lamp from the button on the back. Holding it down for two seconds actually puts the lamp into standby mode — if it's unplugged from the cable.

To go through the different colors, you'll just press quickly once— each press of the button brings up the color, intensities and white tonal options from warm to cool. There are 12 in total including green, purple and blue. If you double click quickly, and hold, Go will also cycle through all the colors as you keep pressing the button down.

The Philips Hue Go lamp glowing  in a reddish pink color The Philips Hue Go lamp can glow in millions of colors at different intensitiesGearBrain

One of our favorite lighting options turned out to the one that mirrors a flickering candle. You're not going to mistake this for a camp fire but it does create a lovely ambience — not really bright enough to read, but enough to make a cozy space. We used this in a Halloween set-up: perfect. But Go would also look great outside in a backyard garden event in the evening, or eve for a night bonfire with friends.

With the app connected to the lamp via Bluetooth, you can hit millions of colors, turn the light on and off, and adjust the settings in terms of brightness, and even edit the pre-sets that you get. The lighting options are endless.

You'll also find that when Hue Go is plugged into a power source the light is automatically brighter. If unplugged, the light starts to dim. You can, through the app, boost the brightness. But the dimness is a reaction to the lamp knowing it's working on battery power.

Battery

Interestingly, different color options either extend or shorten the battery life of the Hue Go. The night light mode actually runs the longest on battery — 24 hours — while the shortest are the brighter white tones, just 2.5 hours. The candle flicker lasts 18 hours — far long than you'll ever need for an outdoor event, or even Halloween. We tested this light option, turning it on at 10 pm at night, and leaving it in the same setting until 11 am the next morning. The lamp held up easily for those 13 hours without dimming.

The back of the Philips Hue Go lamp with a lip or edge The new update to the Philips Hue Go lamp lets it lean upright on a tableGearBrain

Smart home integrations

Philips Hue Go works with the Philips Hue Bluetooth app, but can also be controlled via the Philips Hue Bridge if you have one set up in your home. With, or without, the Bridge, you can connect Hue Go to Amazon Alexa and to Google Assistant, allowing you to turn the light on and off, change colors, and even the light's intensity, just by asking aloud Instructions are neatly laid out in the app how to link both. But we found, with both Alexa and Google Assistant, we could not get Hue Go discovered, through an Echo Dot for Alexa, and a Nest Hub Max for Google Assistant at first. There were reasons, as we discovered.

Let's start with Alexa. First, you can only control Philips Hue Go with Amazon's assistant through:

  • The Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
  • Echo Plus
  • Echo Show (2nd Gen)

That's it — and that's why our Echo Mini refused to link. You can find that information online — but it's not on the packaging. It's also not information that Philips Hue's customer support told us when we called, instead directing us to reach out to Google and Amazon when we asked for help connecting. We switched to Philips Hue's customer support on Facebook, and after two days of messaging back and forth, were we told this information.

How did we get Hue Go connected to Alexa? We switched out our Echo Dot for the Echo Plus and did the following, which you can follow:

  1. Press the button on the Hue Go for 10 seconds, and waited for the light to blink blue twice. Then turned it back on.
  2. Say, "Alexa, discover devices," and after about five seconds the Hue Go should blink.
  3. Alexa told us the light hadn't connected. But when we went into the Alexa app on our phone, we saw it was connected.
  4. Change the name of device to "Hue Go," or anything you want, so you can remember the light.

Next was Google Assistant. Philips Hue Go will only work with the following Google Home devices:

  • Google Home
  • Google Home Mini
  • Google Home Max
  • Google Nest Hub
  • Nest Hub Max

So why couldn't we get the Go to connect to Google Assistant since we were using a Nest Hub Max? We were told we needed to clear the cache. Again, this isn't something customer service told us. We reached out to the company directly, who walked us through this — and now you can too. Here's what to do:

  1. Connect with the Hue Go in the Hue Bluetooth app, and with your phone close to the Hue Go
  2. Verify that it works by controlling the color of the light.
  3. From the Hue Bluetooth app, reset the light by going into Settings, then Select the light, then Reset to make it Factory New.
  4. Have the Hue Go close to the Nest Hub Max.
  5. In the Google Home app, go to home screen and press the "+" (Add) button. Then click, "Set up devices," then, "Set up new devices," then, "Next."
  6. Animation should start playing on your screen. Now you'll press "Set up some smart lights." The app should find the devices and list the Hue Go.
  7. When pressing that light option, the Hue Go should start to blink.
  8. Then follow the rest of the steps in the Google Home app.

This finally worked. And we were actually impressed we could have both Google Assistant and Alexa controlling the Hue Go. But know — if you run into trouble connecting on your own — we had issues too.

A screenshot of the Philips Hue Bluetooth app that tells you how to connect App instructions tells you to turn the Go off, but you also need to wait for the light to blink before connecting to the appGearBrain

Cost

Philips Hue Go is priced at $79.95.

Buy Philips Hue Go Here

Should you buy one?

The Philips Hue Go is a solid lamp for anyone looking for some portable lights, or frankly anyone who has a light strip jammed with things plugged in. The long life of the Go, plus the numbers of colors you can choose, makes this an easy choice for those who are budget-conscious, or just want some flexibility of where they can add a lamp to their home.

We liked the clever lighting options, like a wood fire, appreciated that you could control the lamp not only via an app, but also just through a physical button on the back. We wish we could have linked the Go to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and if that is something that is updated, we'll note that here.

If voice control is not something you feel you need, or you're not currently using Alexa or Google Assistant, then you won't miss this feature.

Pros:

  • Lamp works workout being plugged in for up to 24 hours on one charge
  • Price
  • Works without a Bridge via Bluetooth

Cons:

  • Instructions to connect to app not clear
  • Adding Alexa and Google Assistant controls can be confusing
  • Limited color options without the Bluetooth app

Hue Go Available Here

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