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Philips Hue Go table lamp review: battery-powered smart light for indoors or out

The latest Philips Hue Go smart light aims to be a great indoor table lamp that you can just pick up and head out into the garden with for impromptu illumination wherever you need it.

It costs £140 ($160), which makes it fairly expensive for a rechargeable lamp, although in line with fancier designs. It joins the smaller, dish-shaped £80 Hue Go in the company’s portable lineup.

What sets the Go table lamp apart is its integration with the rest of the Hue smart light system, behaving like a small regular table lamp until you pick it up from its charging base. It has a minimalist aesthetic, made of metal with a reassuring heft. It has a removable rubber grip on the shaft and is splash-resistant in case it rains.

The lamp has a colour-changing LED that shines downwards from the solid shade, providing a nice ambient or accent light. It shines at 370 lumens when turned on, which is the equivalent of a 4W LED or 25W tungsten bulb, but hits 530 lumens (6W LED, 35W tungsten) at its brightest setting. That’s enough to illuminate a small table, making it ideal for alfresco dining.

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Full controls including brightness and a spectrum of colours are available through the Hue Android or iPhone app. The lamp can be used on its own, controlled via Bluetooth from the phone. But it is best when connected to the Hue Bridge and grouped with other smart lights for various fancy features such as schedules and automations, party modes and voice control via smart speakers.

Specifications

  • Dimensions 35 x 14.2cm

  • Weight 973g

  • Water resistance IP54 (splash)

  • Connectivity Hue bridge and Bluetooth

  • Max brightness 530 lumens

  • Battery life 5-48 hours, depending on brightness

When used on its little circular power base, the lamp draws electricity straight from the mains, bypassing the battery to avoid it wearing out. Pick the lamp up and it switches to battery power, lasting up to 48 hours at its dimmest setting or about five at its brightest. That’s long enough for most outdoor evenings in the summer, but it isn’t the kind of lamp you’d take on a camping trip. I put it in the middle of the table for a dinner party in winter, synched it to Spotify for some music-linked lighting effects, and used it to light a night of cards, all of which worked very well.

The one thing you can’t do is see how long is left on the battery, which seems like an oversight. A full charge of the battery takes about four hours.

Sustainability

Philips Hue’s parent company, Signify, rates the battery in the lamp for at least 800 full charge cycles, with at least 80% of its original capacity and the bulb for at least 20,000 hours or at least five years of typical use. The battery can be removed, but replacement options are not yet available. When used on the base, the lamp is lit directly from the mains, bypassing the battery and prolonging its life.

The company commits to a minimum of five years of software support, but has a track record of much longer. Signify publishes annual sustainability reports.

Price

The Philips Hue Go portable table lamp costs £139.99 ($159.99) and is available in black or white with different-coloured grips.

For comparison, the Philips Hue Go 2 costs £79.99, rechargeable camping lights of a similar brightness start about £40, and rechargeable table lamps typically cost from £80.

Verdict

The Philips Hue Go portable table lamp is a good example of a dual-use product: one that works equally well indoors and out, potentially replacing two devices with a multi-purpose one.

It is a good small indoor table lamp, ideal for mood lighting when used on its base. It is very handy to be able to pick it up and add impromptu light to a table or carry it outdoors for summer evenings.

It feels well made, but its minimalist design might not fit with everyone’s decor, and the inability to tell how much charge is left in the battery is irritating. It could do with more onboard controls, too. Its integration with the Hue smart light system and all its trappings is the killer feature, for which privilege you are paying roughly £40 extra. If you’ve ever wanted to take a fancy smart light outdoors, this is it. There isn’t anything else quite like it.

But if you are not already a Hue user, it is an expensive colour-changing lamp and far less appealing.

Pros Dual-use indoor/outdoor product, multicolour, integration with full Hue smart system, control via Hue app, smart design saves battery when docked, splash-resistant.

Cons Expensive, battery life could be longer at brightest settings, can’t check battery life in app, top button can’t dim light or be customised.