Eve Light Strip outshines its Philips Hue rival at CES 2019

We got to check out a new Apple HomeKit-compatible LED light strip debuting at CES 2019 this week, and it's a bit brighter than our old favorite, the Philips Hue LightStrip Plus.

The Eve Light Strip is a 2m long bendable strip of LED lights. It's $79 (other region pricing coming soon) and comes with adhesive on the back so you can attach to your various parts of home for extra flair. People usually tape it under their couch, shelves, kitchen counter top, or behind their computer or television.

Eve Systems (formerly El Gato before selling off its gaming brand), is also selling $49 Eve Light Strip Extensions, also measuring 2m in length. You can add up to four extensions for a total of five strips, or 10m in length total. You can cut these light strips to size, but know that the remaining part without the connector cable won't magically work (that's a common question among new Light Strip users).

The Eve Light Strip works with the Apple Home app and Siri thanks to its HomeKit compatibility. You can easily change the colors with your iPhone, as there are pre-sets within the Home app. But like many smart lighting gadgets, the entire spectrum is available in the native app, so you'll want to keep the Eve app handy, too.

Eve Light Strip vs Philips Hue

The meaningful difference between the Eve Light Strip and Philips Hue Light Strip Plus comes down to brightness. Eve's strip is 1800 lumens, while Philips Hue's is capped at 1600 lumens. Eve claims the title of brightest HomeKit light strip to date.

Brightness is important when you're trying to set the right ambience. Moreover, for at least the first and second extension, Eve has found a way to make the 1800 per 2m brightness stick. It doesn't drop down when the first two extensions are added. The dirty little secret of most light strips is that they technically get dimmer as you add more extensions. Philips Hue with one extension may remain 1600 lumens, but adding that extension doesn't mean 1600 lumens x 2.

One other advantage for Eve: you won't need a separate hub to power these LED strips. It can connect through an Apple TV, HomePod, or iPad. It's one less gadget to buy if you own one of these three mainstream Apple devices. 

Both Eve Light Strip and Philips Hue LightStrip Plus are around the same price. The Hue extensions appear to be half the price, but note those are 1m in length. Philips has the more diverse smart lightning ecosystem, with outdoor strips and a variety of LED bulbs, but, really, with Apple HomeKit, you can mix and match these days.

Eve Light Strip is shaping up to be a better light strip from the presentation we saw and the brightness specs touted alongside that demo. But we'll have to test it out more in a full review and see what Philips Hue is up at CES 2019.

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Matt Swider