Signify (Philips) has a leading position in the smart lighting market with their Hue range . Until the beginning of last year, the range was mainly focused on indoor lighting. After this, Philips made the transition to outdoor lighting, with the Philips Hue Calla as a result.
It is of course possible to place a ‘normal’ Hue lamp in a fixture that is suitable for outdoor use (IP44 and higher). If you want extra light points in your garden, you have to install 220V. This can be quite a job, especially if you want to use pedestals to illuminate your garden path, for example.
There are of course also other options available for paths and gardens, such as lighting using solar panels. However, these often only have a limited clarity and duration of action. In addition, they are often manufactured so cheaply ‘made in China’ that they do not have a long lifespan.
A better solution for garden lighting is low voltage wired lamps. The Philips Hue outdoor lighting works on 24V and can easily be connected by means of plug & play connections. The outdoor lighting has the same features as all other Hue lighting such as wireless control, dimming and a rich color spectrum of 16 million colors. To be able to control the lamps wirelessly (remotely) with your iPhone or smartphone , a Hue bridge is required.
Hue Outdoor lighting
The Hue Outdoor lighting is available in various versions. For example, you can opt for spots, bases, light strips and other fixtures. For our garden we opted for one Hue Lily spot and the four Hue Calla pedestals, the latter are also available in a higher version for the large gardens.
Because we mainly own the Hue Outdoor Calla bases , the review will mainly focus on this type, but the operation of the other Hue Outdoor lighting is the same, only the fixture is different.
What’s in the box?
When purchasing the Hue Outdoor lighting, you have to pay close attention to which version you buy, because the lighting is available in two versions: a starter pack and extension. The Calla starter pack consists of a base and a 24-volt power adapter. The extensions are slightly cheaper and do not have this adapter, but are equipped with a T-connector to loop the lighting through. Both versions are supplied with a 5 meter extension cable and a ground stake.
The plinth is made of aluminum with a powder coating and feels very solid. The adapter of the starter pack is equipped with a 60 cm cable to which the supplied 5 meter extension cable can be connected. This means that the mains adapter does not have to be placed directly in the vicinity of the first base. The cables are well insulated cables, durable and have threaded waterproof connectors. There is also a sturdy die-cast aluminum ground spike that can optionally be attached to the lamp via a stainless steel screw base.
IP65 classification makes the pedestal lamp fully suitable for outdoor use, so it can withstand heavy rain or the garden hose without any problems.
The power supply has an IP68 rating, allowing it to be completely submerged in water for a certain period of time. However, it is advisable to mount the power supply 20 to 30 cm above the ground, for this there are screw holes.
Hue Calla design
With a height of 25cm, the Calla has a pretty solid appearance without being too obtrusive. The height is sufficient to generate a bright beam of light. In addition to the 360º horizontal diffuser, the top also has a diffuser that allows diffusion of upward light. The result is a beautiful atmospheric glow that radiates on nearby walls or plants.
The supplied cable with threaded couplings can be laid above the ground, but can also be buried without any problems. The cable is quite flexible when you buy it, so you can easily bury it right away. It will take you an afternoon of work, but then it will be neatly finished. The three notches on the bottom of the lamp make this possible because the cable can always be fed in a desired direction.
Communication between the Hue Outdoor lamps
Like all other Hue lamps, the Hue Outdoor lamps also use the Zigbee protocol for smooth operation and the building of a mesh network. If the Hue lamps are less than 7 meters apart, they can communicate with each other, even if lamps are outside the direct range of the Hue bridge. Each lamp transmits the Zigbee signal to each other, so you can easily reach the end of your garden.
Because the Calla uses an aluminum housing, the internal Zigbee radio antenna is placed behind a small black plastic panel on one side, which ensures that the radio signal can be transmitted. It is therefore smart to place the lamps with the black plates towards your house or other Hue lamps for the best possible Zigbee signal.
A maximum of 5 Calla lamps of 5 watts can be connected to one power adapter, which means that by using the extension cables, a length of 25 meters can be used. If necessary, extra extension cables can be added, these are available separately with a T-piece.
Because each lamp is independent of the other lamps, you can also connect other 24V Hue outdoor lighting to the same power supply, such as a Lily spot or wall lamp . Please note that you can connect a maximum of 25 watts to the power supply. Each lamp controls its own communication and can be controlled individually.
The Calla lamps can be placed in the grass or a border with the help of a ground spike. You can attach this ground spike to a hard plastic adapter at the bottom of the lamp with the help of a screw thread.
You can also remove this adapter from the lamp and use it to attach the Calla lamp to a flat surface. To do this, screw the adapter onto the surface and then reattach the base to the adapter. With the help of one of the notches you can then route the power cable back to the next lamp.
For the installation of 5 lamps you need one starter pack and 4 extensions. A power adapter is only available in the starter pack. This makes the extensions cheaper, but they are equipped with the special T-connectors to connect an extra lamp.
Light output:Philips Hue Calla
In terms of light output, the Hue Calla has a full color gamut with up to 640 lumens (equivalent to about 50 watts). That is enough to provide good mood lighting and certainly sufficient for path and garden lighting. The fact that the light also radiates through the top helps to illuminate the immediate surroundings.
By placing a few Calla lamps you create a very pleasant and pleasant atmosphere in the garden. The low placement of the Calla lamps means that lamps cannot be used as a functional light source, other Hue solutions are available for this. The Calla lamps are only intended to create atmosphere.
Compatibility:Philips Hue Calla
The Calla Lamps are controlled via the Philips Hue Bridge and the accompanying Hue app for iOS. The bridge also has standard support for Homekit, so you can also control the lighting via the Home app (iOS / macOS). However, the control options in the Home app are more limited than the options in the Hue app.
With the Hue application you have access to automated functions such as geolocation-based triggers. For example, you can have your garden lighting switch on automatically when you come home, and activate scheduled timers with different color effects.
You can also combine the Hue Calla lamps with the Hue Outdoor Motion Sensor , so you can automate the outdoor lighting based on movement and ambient light.
Conclusion:Philips Hue Calla
The Philips Hue Calla is a high quality product that can use all existing smart Hue integrations. The plinth has a stylish but unobtrusive design. The light output has good brightness and very beautiful colors.
Installation of the Hue Outdoor lighting is super easy and can be done by everyone. If you already have Hue lighting, you can simply register the Outdoor Calla lamps on your Hue bridge. If you don’t have Hue lighting yet, you also have to purchase a Hue Bridge in addition to the lamps.
The price of the lighting is on the high side, Philips can easily afford these prices, because there is simply no qualitatively equal alternative. Dutch pride Philips sets the bar so high with the Hue lighting that no other manufacturer comes close.
My only other concern is the longevity of the diffuser panels used. These are the white parts through which the light comes. These are not made of glass but of a hard plastic type. Time will tell whether these will turn yellow with prolonged exposure to UV light. Hopefully Philips has thought about this ….