Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus (2020) review: Hue’s versatile, delicate LED light strip gets Bluetooth control

Easy to install and packed with the grouping, scheduling, and automated control functionality we’ve come to expect from Hue lighting products, the revamped Lightstrip Plus from Signify-owned Philips Hue makes for an easy, effective way to add accent lighting to kitchen counters, stairways, home theaters, and other indoor spaces. 

Following in the footsteps of its more recent smart bulbs and lamps, the new Lightstrip Plus arrives with support for both Bluetooth and Zigbee, meaning that those new to the Hue ecosystem can give the 80-inch light strip a try without investing in a Hue Bridge (with one of the trade-offs being able to operate a maximum of 10 Hue bulbs in your home via Bluetooth).

By their very nature, though, LED light strips are delicate creatures, and lo and behold, an initial Lightstrip Plus test unit failed shortly after we began testing it. A replacement held up well, but we still have questions about the Lightstrip Plus’s reliability.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart light bulbs, where you’ll find reviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping.

Design and specifications

The new $80 Bluetooth-enabled Lightstrip Plus replaces the previous Zigbee-only version, and there’s also a new 40-inch Lightstrip Plus extension for $25Remove non-product link. An 80-inch outdoor, Zigbee-only model of the Lightstrip PlusRemove non-product link sells for $90, while a 197-inch version retails for $160Remove non-product link. The Lightstrip Plus is also, of course, a member of the robust Hue ecosystem, which includes a dizzying number of bulbs, lamps, and accessories.

Rated to last for 25,000 hours and 50,000 on/off cycles, the new Lightstrip Plus emits an impressive 1,600 lumens, same as its predecessor. That’s more than enough to light up a workspace, and indeed, the strip had no trouble brightly illuminating my kitchen counter.

Ben Patterson/IDG

The 1,600-lumen Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus was easily bright enough to illuminate my kitchen counter.

The light strip’s white light can be tuned from a very warm 2,000 Kelvin to 6,500 Kelvin, the equivalent of midday sunlight on a hazy day. The strip’s LEDs can also glow in 16 million colors.

The light strip itself is about 0.57 inches wide and 0.22 inches tall, and it has a peel-and-stick adhesive backing. At one end of the strip is a six-inch integrated cord that snaps into a small module with its own adhesive backing. The module, in turn, connects to a roughly seven foot-long power cord that terminates in a chunky wall wart, which (unfortunately) is large enough to block the outlet beneath it. The other end of the strip has a (delicate-looking) six-pin connector for attaching one or more 40-inch Lightstrip Plus extensions.

Installation and setup

The first step in the installation of the Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus is deciding where exactly to put it, and a quick Google Image search reveals scores of interesting possibilities. Some Lightstrip Plus owners use them to illuminate stairways and hallways, while others stick them behind their TV cabinets to jazz up their home theaters. I opted for one of the most popular Lightstrip Plus locations: beneath a kitchen cabinet, perfect for casting a bright glow on my counters. (Another popular Lightstrip Plus arrangement is both above and below a kitchen cabinet.)