Philips Hue Play Gradient Light Strip For PC REVIEW
He thought it was all smoke and mirrors, but now PAT PILCHER reckons this light strip is the visual equivalent of surround sound.
Then I got my hands on the Philips Hue Play Gradient Light Strip For PC. It literally blew me away. With it installed, my PC Gaming sessions have become much more immersive. It’s a bold claim to make, but humour me.
So, what exactly is it? Philips Hue Play Gradient Light Strip For PC is what it says in the box. It’s an LED light strip that attaches to the back of a PC monitor to shine ambient light on the wall matching the colour and brightness of what is happening on screen. The strips come in three different sizes; one for 24-27-inch displays, another for 32-34-inch monitors and an even longer one for those with a truly bonkers gaming monitor like Samsung’s Odyssey G9 Monitor.
The review sample supplied by Philips was perfect for my BenQ Zowie 24-inch screen.
Curious about how the light strip worked its magic, I engaged in some RTFM (reading the fucking manual). It turned out that getting set up was incredibly easy, which given their Philips pedigree, makes a metric shit tonne of good sense.
Starting with a bunch of adhesive mounting brackets (which I strategically stuck around the back of my monitor), I clipped the LED light strip into place on each of the mounting brackets. I then connected it to the control box, which was, in turn, plugged into the supplied power brick.
From there, I downloaded the Hue Sync desktop PC app, which tells the light strip which colours to display. I’d assumed there would be a DisplayPort pass-through that would do all the leg work, but all I needed was the app and the Hue Bridge I already use for the many Hue lights around my home. It’s a simple and elegant solution. Best of all, the total setup time was just shy of 15 minutes.
So, did adding an LED light strip improve my PC gaming mojo? In a word (or two), hell yes! Gaming became far more immersive. With the light strip mounted onto the back of my PC display, its combination of 16 million different colours and brightness levels shone onto the wall behind my screen. It helped take gaming beyond my PC’s screen. Light strip colours were uncanny in their ability to match on-screen content. Imagine that, say, a red balloon is partially displayed on the left edge of the screen. The light strip will shine a red area matching the size and location of the balloon on the left side of the wall, exactly where the part of the red balloon that’s off my screen is.
The net result is that my PC’s screen extended beyond the boundaries of its bezel. This really adds to gameplay. Being Hue based, there are many tweaks and settings to play with. I was also pleased to note that the light strip worked for many games and synced up with audio visualisations and streamed video.
With the lighting shining onto the wall behind my PC’s screen exactly matching the on-screen action, everything seemed larger, pulling me into games and streaming content. The effect is very cool, and once you’ve seen it, there’s no going back. Ordinary, non-modded monitors seem dull by comparison.
I also could sync the other Hue bulbs in the room with my PC’s gaming/AV action. It’s a cool effect that gave me the visual equivalent of surround sound, which is very cool indeed.
The Philips Hue Play Gradient Light Strip For PC might be the first real LED bling for PC might that is actually useful. Suppose PC gaming is your jam, and you’re also a Hue smart bulb user. In that case, the very reasonable NZ$299.95 for the light strip is a good investment that’ll really add to your gaming experience.