Yesterday, Philips Hue introduced its first light chain, and as of today, Festavia can be ordered directly from Philips Hue's online store for 159.99 euros. In the smart home market, there is one competitor in particular that specialized in fairy lights years ago: Twinkly. Today, I would like to take a look with you at the advantages and disadvantages of the two products and who might come out on top in the end.
The price: Twinkly benefits from wide availability
The first Twinkly string lights appeared a few years ago. A model comparable to the Hue Festavia costs 149.99 euros, which is 10 euros less. While the chain of lights from Philips Hue will initially only be able to buy for a fixed 159.99 euros in the in-house online store, the Twinkly string lights are also available in free trade. The street price is currently between 110 and 120 euros.
The model range: One against all
While Philips Hue only offers a single light chain with 250 LEDs and a length of 20 meters at the start, there is significantly more choice with Twinkly. Not only are there different lengths with up to 600 LEDs, but also different cable colors and LED technologies. For example, there is a cheaper variant that can only display white tones. Another advantage is that the Twinkly string lights are also suitable for outdoor use. Overall, this point clearly goes to Twinkly.
Control – part 1: Twinkly is absolutely specialized
What Twinkly has come up with from a technical point of view is quite impressive. The tree with a string of lights can be scanned via app in order to capture every single LED and control them individually. Thus, even spectacular animations and effects are no problem. The Hue Festavia definitely cannot keep up here. However, you will have to get to grips with the Twinkly app a bit before you exhaust all the possibilities.
Control – part 2: Philips Hue Festavia is absolutely simple
If you have already installed a Philips Hue light source, you will also be able to install the Festavia light chain without any problems. After all, it behaves exactly the same way in the Hue app. Conjuring up a great color gradient with matching transitions on the tree? Piece of cake. Pick five favorite colors and make the tree light up colorfully? It's definitely easier, faster and more intuitive with the Hue app than in Twinkly – especially if you already use Philips Hue.
The accessories: there's a clear winner
Not everyone wants to control their lights every time via app or use a voice assistant. While Twinkly doesn't offer any accessories apart from a music dongle – Philips Hue offers a similar function directly via the bridge – you also get switches and sensors from Philips Hue. One exemplary idea: a dimmer switch can be used to turn the tree on and off, as well as to dim it. With the Hue scenes button, you can switch through five different settings. If desired, even together with other Hue lamps in the house.
Connectivity: Everything important is on board
Both Twinkly and Philips Hue (in conjunction with the Hue Bridge) get along with the three major systems Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa – so for now, everything important is there. Beyond that, however, it is Philips Hue that benefits from its wide distribution. For example, they have already announced that they will support the new Matter standard from the beginning of 2023. Whether this will subsequently also apply to Twinkly string lights is still completely open – so far, the manufacturer has not commented on the topic of Matter.
The bottom line: So similar, yet different
There is no doubt that the Twinkly light chain is a great piece of technology and absolutely impressive. On its own, it's certainly the best smart light chain currently on the market. So far, however, there has been no real competition either. In terms of variety and possibilities, the new Philips Hue Festavia light chain is probably inferior to the competition from Twinkly, but here you benefit from a perfect integration into the Hue system with all conceivable advantages. Especially for people who fully rely on Philips Hue at home, the new light chain is definitely an interesting story.
Philips Hue Festavia Lichterkette