We're big fans of IKEA's TRADFRI smart bulbs, not least because they're very affordable. But IKEA's range has lagged behind rivals such as Hue, and things hadn't changed significantly since we compared TRADFRI vs Hue some time ago. That's about to change. There's a brand new IKEA smart home app available for download today, and its brand new DIRIGERA smart home hub should appear in your local store in the next few days.
The new hub is compatible with your existing IKEA Home Smart purchases, but it's your future smart home stuff that really matters here.
Why IKEA's DIRIGERA is a big smart home deal
It's not implemented just yet – the feature will come in a near-future firmware upgrade – but the DIRIGERA will support Matter, the new smart home standard that aims to make everything much more interoperable. As someone who's previously had to install obscure apps to get early-model TRADFRI bulbs to play nice with a Hue hub, that interoperability can't come soon enough.
The vision here is for the IKEA smart home app to launch "scenes" that combine different kinds of devices – IKEA suggests sound, lighting, blinds, coffee machines and air purification – into scenes that you can trigger manually or at specific times. As the PR bumph puts it: "Imagine waking up in a bedroom with clean air, your blinds slowly going up while the lamps gradually brighten the room – all accompanied by your favourite music and the smell of fresh coffee being brewed."
I haven't had the opportunity to test the new hub but multiple reviews say that it and the new app work really well together, are easy to use and seem to be perfectly stable too. Migrating existing TRADFRI bulbs appears to be seamless, and the only real niggle appears to be that the new hub is more expensive than the old one – $69 / €59, which is about £51.
That said, it's worth reading The Verge's review (opens in new tab) in particular as there are some issues around Sonos products: the new hub needs speakers running Sonos's S2 operating system, which rules out the first-generation Play:5 smart speaker.