Alongside its Hue smart light bulbs, Philips has been quietly selling stand-alone lamps for a few years now. The Wellness and Wellner are two of the company's latest tabletop offerings. Both come with White Ambiance LED bulbs, which can mimic a range of natural daylight color temperatures and are meant to help you wake up, concentrate, relax, and fall asleep.
As with any Hue light, installation is basically a three-step process: Screw in the bulb, power up your Hue bridge (sold separately), download the Philips Hue app and pair it with the bridge and bulbs. The whole process takes only a few minutes. Note that while both lamps do come with the A19 White Ambience bulbs, you'll need to either own or purchase a $60 Hue bridge if you want to control the lights with the app.
We spent a week using the Wellness and Wellner as dedicated bedside table and desktop lamps, respectively. Because they're aimed at well-being—that is, they're supposed to help get you out of bed in the morning, concentrate during the day, and then relax and fall asleep at night—we wanted to place them in settings where we could test those claims. After setting up "wake up" and "go to sleep" routines in the Hue app, we added both lamps to Apple's HomeKit and Amazon's Alexa, and spent the week experimenting with light.
You don't need to spend a winter in Anchorage or suffer from S.A.D. for light to play a role in how you feel. As diurnal animals, we rely on specific intensities and wavelengths of light to signal when to sleep, when to get up, and when to get down to business. Screw up your natural circadian rhythm, and you also mess with your metabolism, alertness, and memory. The exact effects light has on humans is still being studied on a variety of fronts, but customizable lighting is still enjoyable, with or without the medical benefits.
The Philips Wellner and Wellness desk lamps are like f.lux (https://justgetflux.com/) for your real life. Design-wise, both lamps are inoffensive and unremarkable. We imagine that's at least partly intentional. They both resemble luminous gumdrops, which, while slightly weird, are far better at blending in to a variety of decors than Philip's retro-futuristic Hue Beyond and Phoenix lamps.
The frosted glass housings on both lamps do a great job of evenly distributing the light, and the Ambiance LED lumen output (~800 lm) is bright enough to light up even larger rooms. As far as specific tricks go, there's nothing here that current Hue users won't be familiar with. Once we set up the lamps, we had no trouble using Siri and Alexa to turn them on and off as well as call up specific scenes. The Hue app also lets you establish "wake up" and "go to sleep" routines to have the lamps gradually fade in (or out) at specific times. You can also choose to just have them pop on and off instantaneously at a given brightness and color temperature. Having the Wellness lamp gradually illuminate our bedroom in the morning was indeed a much more pleasant way to get up, when it got us up. Unfortunately, it's not as effective as a smartphone alarm. We slept through a couple artificial sunrises.
You can adjust the lights from a warm 2200K to a harsh blue-white 6500K. We experimented with that upper limit, which is associated with Hue scenes like "concentrate" and "energize," on the office Wellner but found them grating regardless of the time of day. The warmer "read" and "relax" scenes were far better for working although we can't say we were any more productive.
There were some things about both the Wellness and Wellner we weren't crazy about. We know these are "smart lamps," but it seems like a pretty glaring oversight to omit a basic on/off switch on both. We also wish Hue lights in general were compatible with more physical smart switches. You're basically stuck with Hue's own dimmer and light switch if you want a physical, non-screen and non-voice-based way of control your lighting.