After having problems with the TP-LINK Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb, we went to the Amazon Pop-Up store in Westfield San Francisco Centre and exchanged it with the only other lighting solution sold there, the Philips Hue Starter Kit.
Philips had largely existing the home consumer electronics market but smart home adoption creates an opportunity to leverage its long history in lightning technology into the fast growing IoT space.
The Philips Hue Starter Kit sold at the Amazon store doesn't win any packaging design awards, just coming in a plain brown box and some stickers for labeling.
In an interesting twist, all the labeling and documentation inside and outside the Philips Hue Starter Kit box showed support of Apple HomeKit rather than Amazon Alexa. There was no mention of Amazon Alexa anywhere inside the box.
The Philips Hue Starter Kit comes with two regular LED lightbulbs, the Hue wireless bridge, and AC power adapter.
The Hue wireless bridge connects Ethernet networks to a low power mesh based ZigBee network that connects the Philips light bulbs to the bridge. Unlike the TP-LINK Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb which incorporates Wi-Fi inside the light bulb itself, Philips uses a different architecture where only the bridge needs to be added to your local network, which is convenient if you have a lot of lights to install.
There is a wired Ethernet connection at the back of the bridge but you need to make sure you have ready access to your home's network through an Ethernet cable. The Philips Hue Starter Kit doesn't support WI-FI.
There is also an Apple HomeKit sticker at the bottom of the Philips Hue Starter Kit's bridge. Amazon Alexa doesn't use a sticker to connect devices to the Amazon Alexa App.
The Philips Hue Starter Kit we purchased appears to support both Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit which is useful for a lot of Apple users that also use Alexa. It also supports Google Home for those that prefer Google's view of the world. While the TP-LINK Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb supports Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and did have an iPhone App, it didn't support HomeKit meaning Apple's Home App and Siri couldn't control the device.