Skip to main content

Hands-on: Philips Hue Outdoor sensor: an ideal smart home companion [Video]

Last Friday, Philips expanded on its lineup of outdoor smart lighting products that it began introducing last year. At CES 2019, Philips revealed the Hue Outdoor sensor, a $49.95 product that we were able to go hands-on with while in Vegas. Like the company’s existing indoor sensor, the outdoor sensor allows users to automate smart lighting via motion sensing.


  • Wireless installation
  • Battery-powered
  • Weatherproof
  • Automates your lights
  • Motion, light, and temperature sensor
  • 2-year minimum battery life
  • IP54 rating
  • 2-year warranty
  • Works with Apple HomeKit

The advantage of the IP54-rated outdoor sensor is that it’s weatherproof, meaning that it’s been engineered for harsher outdoor environments. In addition, the Hue Outdoor sensor can be placed anywhere due to its wireless, battery-powered setup that can be mounted in just minutes on a flat wall or in a corner using the included mounting hardware.

Hue Outdoor sensor video walkthrough

Subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more videos

The Hue Outdoor sensor can be used to trigger both outdoor Hue lights and indoor lights. Using the Philips Hue app, users can configure the sensor to trigger the lights you specify, as well as the ability to trigger scenes.

Like other Hue products, the sensor supports HomeKit, so you can set up automation directly from the built-in iOS Home application.

Along with motion sensing, the Hue Outdoor sensor includes an integrated dusk-to-dawn sensor, which ensures that your lights are only triggered when it’s dark outside, saving on energy costs. There’s also a temperature sensor included that can be used to trigger automation using the Home app.

Philips sells a variety of outdoor lighting, including specially-designed Outdoor Lightstrips that you can use to accent walking paths, patios, flower beds, and other landscaping. The company sells the Lily Outdoor spot light, along with a wide array of additional lighting products intended for outdoor use that it launched in 2018.

Hue Lightstrip Outdoor

Combined with one or more Outdoor sensors, Philips is hoping homeowners will seek to put together a more responsive and energy-friendly outdoor lighting plan. You can purchase the Hue Outdoor sensor today from Philips, or via its retail partners.

One of the biggest advantages of the Hue Outdoor sensor versus the standard Philips Hue motion sensor is its viewing angles. Here’s the size of the standard motion sensor versus the outdoor variety.

Hue Outdoor sensor comparison

The Hue Outdoor sensor features 160 degree field of view, a step up from the standard version’s 100 degree FOV, coupled with an 80 degree vertical viewing angle that can almost see straight when mounted on a flat surface. This means that the sensor will detect motion well, even when mounted on high, out-of-the-way surfaces.

And while the standard motion sensor features a detection range just over 16 feet, the Hue Outdoor sensor doubles the range at 32 feet. These specs, coupled with the weatherproof design have obviously been engineered with outdoor use in mind.

The Hue Outdoor sensor comes with a standard and corner mount, which is ideal since a corner installation will provide a wider range of motion-sensing coverage.

Because we have terrible, freezing cold and snowy weather right now, I wasn’t up for attempting a full on, permanent installation outdoors. However, wanting to test the Hue Outdoor sensor, I set up a temporary install in a patio area.

This was a good opportunity to put the Hue Outdoor kit’s weather resistance to the test thanks to the less-than-ideal conditions outside. I placed the Outdoor sensor on a snow-covered side table, and put one of the Lightstrips directly on the cold concrete below.

Obviously, you’ll want to be a bit more creative when it comes to your install, as I plan to do when it gets warm and vegetation begins to sprout. For now, though, this provided a good opportunity to test the sensor + light combo.

Before you do any testing, you’ll need to configure the Hue Outdoor sensor with the Philips Hue app. This is, of course, assuming you already have a Philips Hue Bridge, which is a prerequisite before adding any Hue devices to your network.

Configuring the sensor with the Philips Hue app is an easy exercise, and setting up specific lights to trigger when the Outdoor sensor detects motion is just as simple. As noted, you can make it so both indoor and outdoor lights are triggered when it detects motion, which makes for a decent theft deterrent.

9to5Mac’s Take

At $49.95, the Hue Outdoor sensor is a solid buy for those already invested in the Hue ecosystem. Because the sensor is wireless and comes with a 2-year pre-installed battery, installation is simple and straightforward.

Not only does the Hue Outdoor sensor allow you to automate outdoor lighting, but it works with the lights inside your house as well. Outdoor motion sensing is nothing new, but having an easy-to-install sensor that can automate indoor lighting might prove to be a good theft deterrent.

If you have other HomeKit-enabled devices in your home, you can use the Philips Hue Outdoor sensor to trigger events for other devices, even those not made by Philips. For example, you can set up the motion sensor to automatically adjust your Ecobee thermostat when it detects motion, or even trigger your Yale smart lock. That’s not to say that these are automation scenarios that you’ll actually want to use, but it illustrates some of the possibilities.

If you haven’t already, be sure to follow resident HomeKit expert Zac Hall’s HomeKit Weekly column. In it you’ll find all sorts of insightful tidbits about the latest HomeKit-enabled products.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel



Avatar for Jeff Benjamin Jeff Benjamin

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.