Philips may be the biggest electronics corporation in Europe, but it’s the humble light bulb that made the Dutch brand what it is today. Take a look at the nearest bulb to you, and the chances are it’ll be a Philips.
This goes some way to explaining why it’s obsessed with adding jazzy lighting to its popular Ambilight range, and now you can enjoy the glow without shelling out on a TV. LivingColour is an LED lamp and puts the Ambilight concept in a simple and attractive remote controllable design.
Like a clear Perspex bowling ball with flattened sides to sit on, the LivingColor lamp can bathe your room in any colour you like. Philips’ manual encourages you to ‘express yourself and colour your emotions’, but the lamp’s got as much gadget intrigue as new age nonsense.
The remote control has an iPod-style click wheel that fires up combinations of the four coloured LEDs to produce any shade of the rainbow you like. Run your finger all the way around the dial and it’ll scroll through the whole spectrum. Its other controls, meanwhile, let you alter brightness and dispersion.
Because the remote uses radio frequency, rather than infra-red, you don’t have to actually point it at the lamp and can use the same remote to operate up to six lamps. Just hold the remote near the Philips branding on each lamp and press power button until it flashes. Congratulations, you can now stage your own Jean Michel Jarre concert.
For the best results, you need to point the spot at a wall or corner of the room and, to quote the instructions again, ‘let LivingColour cater to your desire for self expression’. It’s not the brightest LED lamp in the world, so it won’t illuminate a whole room, but it does throw a lovely pool of colour wherever you want it.
The Perspex bowl is a beautifully simple design and because it uses LEDs rather than a fluorescent bulb, it draws much less electricity and doesn’t get hot. There are no controls on the lamp itself – not even an on/off switch – which could be a problem if you misplace the remote, but it’s hard not to fall for the crystal ball looks.