Philips Hue Impress vs Hue Turaco: Which Hue outdoor light wins the wall?

Both boxy, both brilliant. Bare brick begone: these are some stunning wall lights with super-smart capabilities

Philips Hue Outdoor Impress v Turaco
(Image credit: Philips Hue)

Philips Hue lights don't leave you short of options, that's for sure. There's a wide range of smart light options inside the home, and an even wider range of Philips Hue outdoor lights to turn a dull garden or lacklustre porch into something far more exciting. Some are slimmer and spotlighty – check out our head to head of the Hue Lily vs Hue Appear, for example – and some are boxier and aim for a more subtle glow, like the two we're smashing together here.

But which deserves its place on your wall more? Is it the Philips Hue Impress outdoor wall light, a glass box with an interior column of RGB light – or the super-classy (but plastic-boxed) Philips Hue Turaco outdoor wall light? Let's compare and contrast, then help you make the decision that's right for you.

Hue Impress vs Hue Turaco: Price

It looks like an immediate win for the Turaco here. It is priced at £65/around $90/around AU$120, though note that it is not officially on sale in the US or Australia. Australians can, though, get hold of the similar Fuzo light for AU$175.

The Impress is a sight more expensive at £110/around $150/AU$230, with availability not widespread in the USA. UK buyers can also opt for a slightly larger-framed version, at £120. That would put it in a solid second place were this not a cost/benefit analysis; there's a bit of a difference here in terms of materials and quality, as we'll find out, so the extra money spent on an Impress or two may leave you more satisfied in the long run. 

Philips Hue Turaco

The Philips Hue Turaco is the cheaper of Philips' boxy wall lights

(Image credit: Philips Hue / Signify)

Hue Impress vs Hue Turaco: Wiring

Both lights here are mains powered, which means you'll need to splice a cable from an indoor lighting ring and run it through your wall. This is probably a professional job, so you won't need to worry to much about installation difficulties, but neither is a particularly tricky thing to get hung. There is apparently a low-voltage version of the Impress in existence, one which can hook up to the same transformers as the Hue Lily range, though this will require a trailing cable. We cannot explicitly find it for sale at the time of writing, but your mileage may vary.

At this point we should probably note one key difference between the two: the Impress uses integrated LEDs for its full-colour lighting, while the Turaco is essentially a bulb holder, coming with a standard Hue White Ambiance E27 bulb. This certainly suggests you'll get a longer lifespan out of the latter, but it's not without its drawbacks.

Hue Impress vs Hue Turaco: Lighting

The Turaco's use of a bulb gives it flexibility but a few owners have commented that it doesn't do it any favours in the lighting department; as decent as its plastic diffuser is, the more compact cluster of LEDs means it can't avoid there being certain brighter spots. The built-in LED array of the Impress gives it a much more consistent all-over glow, and it's brighter, too, putting out 1,200 lumens next to the Turaco's 800-ish.

By default, the Turaco comes with a White Ambiance bulb, but you could presumably switch that out for a Colour version if you were so inclined; the Impress, with its RGB LEDs, offers more colour options out of the box. 

Bear in mind also that the Turaco is edged on two sides by a couple of rather opaque chunks of aluminium, which restricts its light output somewhat; the Impress, conversely, has its top and bottom edges blocked off, although its translucent light column, surrounded by glass, gives an overall effect we suspect most will find more appealing.

Philips Hue Impress

The Philips Hue Impress gives an impressive coloured glow

(Image credit: Philips Hue / Signify)

Hue Impress vs Hue Turaco: Control

The Philips Hue standard is probably the best around, and certainly one of the reasons Hue has maintained its place at the top of our guide to the best smart bulbs for so long. It is not necessarily the domain of too many wacky effects, but for consistency, speed, smart home integration and automation it's fantastic – and both of these wall lamps, naturally, conform to it. 

You'll need a Hue Bridge or equivalent to operate the Impress; the Turaco, being bulb-based, can also take advantage of the Bluetooth connectivity in Philips' latest bulbs so doesn't technically require a hub… but Bluetooth's range tends to be very limited when it goes through exterior walls, so you'll probably want to stick with the Bridge.

Since they both use Zigbee, they're both able to act as repeater nodes for its inherent mesh network. That means extra range, so you should have no problem placing them within the sphere of an existing Hue network, and they can help out other lights in your garden too. 

Hue Impress vs Hue Turaco: Which is best?

The Philips Hue Turaco certainly has its place, and if the prospect of replacing an entire lamp once it dies is a little unpalatable its bulb-based system suggests (but doesn't guarantee) a little longer lifespan. It's cheaper, too, which is an important consideration if you're doing more than just installing one lamp.

Money no object, though? We're taking the Philips Hue Impress every time. It is the more impressive of the two by some way, with a great look, good lighting glow and superior materials.

Alex Cox

T3 magazine's own Gadget Guru is a 25-year veteran of the tech writing wars, and has the scars to prove it. He's written for the UK's biggest technology publications, and knows everything from smart doorbell voltage needs to how to bend Windows to his every whim.