Philips had been teasing their newest addition for the hue family for a while and when the hue tap was finally available for pre-ordering at the Apple Store (albeit only in the UK for a few weeks) I put in an order for two of them.
The premise of the hue tap is as simple as it is necessary. While you can be all fancy and use only your iPhone (or IFTTT) to control your WiFi lightbulbs, the Wife Acceptance Factor isn't quite there with that sort of setup. And what if you're hunting for a drink at night and don't want to peck in your complex iPhone passcode before you hit your toe on the sofa?
Enter hue tap.
Hue tap is a lightswitch with 4 programmable buttons that, just like its more traditional counterparts, operates without batteries. The little power it needs to operate is drawn from kinetic energy you provide with your depressing of the switch.
Since it's not connected to any wires, you could consider putting it onto your coffee table. But since my monkey brain is trained to hunt for lightswitches on the walls, I decided to put mine in a central location on each floor.
Integration of a tap module into your hue system couldn't be easier. You launch the hue app, tell it that you want to add a new component, depress and hold a button on the tap you want to add and you're done. At this point you can map light recipes or scenes onto the individual buttons.
Which brings me to one of the clunky points about the hue tap, although it mostly isn't the fault of the switch itself but the fault of the hue app. I find adding and editing scenes in the hue app incredibly tedious. I'm not sure why I'd use a photo to set the individual light colors and mapping lights to colors or even grouping lights makes me want to stab myself in the eye.
Also, light recipes aren't supported by the, technically branded as "Friends of hue", LivingColors and LightStrips modules, which we have throughout our kitchen and living room areas. The reason for this is beyond me, since they basically support all the same color combinations. But those can only be used with more traditional light scenes.
Basically, I guess I'd like this scene generation part of the hue app to be more like the Goldee iOS app, which gives me pre-defined, dynamic lighting scenes without the hassle of meticulously mapping each light to a particular spot on a photograph.
But back to the lightswitch.
In the hue iOS app, you can map each button to either a light scene, a light recipe, or an off function, each of which can be assigned to one or more lights. While you're obviously not limited to controlling the lights on the same floor, I found it a lot more useful to control only the lights the hue tap itself its on the same floor with. But you could totally have an "all off" function mapped to one of the buttons that dumps your home back into pitch black land.
If you, like me, have years of muscle memory to unlearn when it comes to lights that now have both a traditional light switch (power on/power off) and hue bulbs controlled by a hue tap switch, I suggest buying a roll of gaffer's tape and simply fixing the traditional light switch to the "on" position for the forseeable future. I ended up with so many misses on the hue tap simply because I turned off the main light switch in a pinch, leaving the lights powerless and the hue tap helpless in my quest to have a nicely illuminated home.
Another minor remark from the muscle memory department: The 4 buttons on the hue tap actually consist of one huge button (basically depressing the whole device) plus 3 touch-sensitive buttons, that still require depressing of the whole device (because of the kinetic energy thing, remember?). This requires some time to get used to, simply because it's so different from a traditional lightswitch. Sometimes you'll depress a little off-center and the action of the "outer" button triggers instead of the one you actually wanted. Again, it's not a major issue, but takes some getting used to.
To sum it all up, the hue tap nicely bridges the gap between the fancy Philips lightbulbs and their up to now app-only control with the traditional world of wall-mounted lightswitches. With it you can control your lights easily with the touch of a physical button and don't have to worry about it running out of batteries. It's easy to integrate and fairly easy to operate.