It feels like half an eternity, but it’s only been three and a half years since Philips Hue launched its first outdoor products. In June 2018, the Calla base light launched alongside the Lily garden spotlight. Now, in spring 2022, one of the founding members of the Hue Outdoor family is available in a new look: the Hue Calla with a stainless steel housing.
But before we get to the new features, there’s one thing we really need to talk about: The price. When the Calla was launched in 2018, you paid 99.99 euros for the extension including cable and T-piece. The basic set with outdoor power supply was sold for 139.99 euros.
Unfortunately, those days are long gone. The Calla now costs 119.99 euros. And you pay even more for the stainless steel housing: 139.99 euros. The stainless steel Calla is not even offered in a bundle with the outdoor power supply unit required for operation. If you do not yet have an outdoor system from Philips Hue to which you can connect the Calla, you will have to pay another 39.99 euros for the power supply.
These are really, really sporty prices. However, after trying out Innr or Müller-Licht Tint, we also discovered that these low-voltage solutions are no real competition for Philips Hue. And this despite the fact that not everything runs smoothly even with the market leader.
The thing about material quality
The Calla is a very good example of this. The version available so far has two weak points: First of all, condensation in the lampshade, which is not a problem in most cases. Much worse, however, is the material of the housing, which tends to fade, especially in direct sunlight. I have already received reader photos here that are really hefty. My Callas are protected in the shadow during the day, so I don’t really have any problems here.
If you like the look of the Hue Calla and are looking for an easy-to-install outdoor system that can also be flexibly expanded, then you should definitely go for the new stainless steel model, even if it costs a little more. At least as far as the durability of the material is concerned, you should be on the safe side here – even though we still lack practical experience.
Visually, the silver Calla is definitely something to behold, with only a small black rectangle interfering with the stainless steel casing. But that is absolutely necessary, because behind it is the ZigBee radio module. At least there are four cable outlets, one on each side – so you can easily turn the Calla so that you don’t see the plastic cover of the radio module.
The brightness thing
The technical specifications of Philips Hue cause a lot of confusion. On the packaging and on many pages in the internet, only 350 lumens are given as the maximum brightness. From the “old” Calla, on the other hand, we still know 640 lumens as the specified brightness.
Since the end of 2021, however, the standard brightness must be specified at a white tone of 2,700 Kelvin – and that is only 350 lumens. At 4,000 Kelvin, on the other hand, the Calla achieves 590 lumens. This is also somewhat less, but Philips Hue now gives exactly the same values for the black Calla. And I could not see any difference in two Calla models placed directly next to each other.
The Calla therefore remains a recommendation for all those who do not want to or cannot install 230 volt wiring in the garden. The low-voltage system by Philips Hue is very easy to install and thanks to more and more products, it is also very versatile.