Meet Tap, my latest purchase in the ever-important "playing with light" home improvement category.
Yes, I bought a physical button for my ligths. It has four buttons, the main surface and the three smaller buttons within it, each of which can be assigned individual functions from the Hue app. It can be wall-mounted by glue or by screw, but so far I have brought it around to try and see if there is any particular place it might belong or if it should remain a nomad. Not only is Tap wireless, it works without batteries too, using power generated by the actual button press to send a signal. Pretty nice.
Look and feel
I like the look of Tap a lot, but the feel is a bit cheap. It feels very plastic-y, and the buttons go quite deep and manage to feel somehow toy-like to use. I suppose all the fancy newfangled Apple haptic-ness might have ruined me on physical buttons, but I believe Tap would have felt a little loose and cheap to me even before that.
If I end up keeping Tap nomadic, I would like to find some kind of back for it. As it is made to be wall-mounted, the back is kind of open and has both mounts for screws and a covered strip of adhesive, none of which feels right in the hand. A nice pop-on lid or something would feel great I think, and might make Tap very fiddle-friendly too.
Apart from the feel, the design is great. There is never any hesitation over which button is which, and despite the generic labels I learn in no time what I have set each button to.
The trick is of course to figure out just what I want to set each button to. And here comes the one particular limitation I found surprising: using the Hue app, each button can only set one thing, not toggle it. Fortunately, Huelabs come to the rescue. Huelabs is a collection of extra "formulas" - settings you can use to get more functionality out of your Hue things. Google would probably call it the beta section or something similar, and Philips throw in a few friendly warnings about watching out for bugs, but everything I have tried from Huelabs as just worked and kept on working. In this particular case, the "Tap toggle" formula is the magical solution I was looking for.
My current setup
I currently have the "Tap toggle" formula assigned to two of the buttons. The first is on button one (the larger surface) and toggles all my lights beetween off and their last set state. The second one is on button four and toggles just the kitchen between off and its last state. The kitchen light is the one I most rarely need at night, and thus the one I most often find myself wanting to switch on and off by itself.
A side-effect of assigning a formula from Labs to any button is that the Hue app becomes unable to list what each button is set to, so right now I can not actually see which exact setting is on each of those two buttons. Button two seems to turn on all lights to a bright scene, while button three toggles the living room lights between off and a color cycling formula using the "Living scenes" formula.
I like my Tap. It does what I want it to, it is simple and intuitive to use, and I look forward to finding the perfect button assignments. In fact, it produces a bit of the same "want more" feeling as the lights themselves, in that after getting one I start to think of ways another one might be handy. My next purchase is still going to be more lights, but Tap feels better and more fun than any light switch frankly has a right to. Well done, Philips. Again.