Product Name: Philips GoLITE BLU Light Therapy Device – HF3332
Original Review Date: 16 July 2016
Updated Review Date: 24 August 2018
Price Guideline: $$$
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Note: All images used in this review have been kindly provided with the permission of Philips Healthcare
The Philips GoLITE BLU Light Therapy Device is a well made, high quality blue light that looks good and works.
- Editor Rating 83% 83%
In The Box
Philips GoLITE BLU Light Therapy Device Review
So How Does It Work?
The Philips goLITE BLU is a rather nifty little piece of kit that has the advantage of being battery powered and very compact, measuring 7 inches by 7 inches and 1 inch thick.
As a result it is very easy to take with you when you travel. It also has a metal rod that acts as a stand that stores away neatly in a magnetic impression in the back of the device.
It also uses a new technology developed by Philips called BLUEWAVE technology and produces a pure blue light rather than a white light. Philips have developed this technology over a ten year period in conjunction with medical universities and the National Institute of Health.
The idea behind the BLUEWAVE technology is that it provides a more effective response to SAD than most full-spectrum (white lights) at 1/10th of the intensity.
So for instance the Philips Golite Blu only provides 200 lux of blue light, but this 200 lux is as effective as 10,000 lux of white light.
There is a strong debate over the use of blue light which I have attempted to address further in my review below.
Anyway to use it, as with any SAD light, just place it in your field of vision but don’t look directly into it. The light should be placed anything between one to three foot away from you and at a brightness level you feel comfortable with.
If this is your first foray into the world of light therapy I’d recommend you start with the light on the lowest or next lowest intensity (25% or 50%) and place it around three feet from you and keep it on for 15 to 30 minutes.
You should be able to gradually increase the intensity, time and distance until you find something that works for you. Don’t dive full in on 100% intensity at 12 inches for 30 minutes! Work your way up slowly.
Eventually most users use it for around 15 to 30 minutes within an hour of waking up, with it set around 12 inches to 24 inches away. Repeated usage is necessary to make sure it is consistently effective.
The clock, timer, alarm and light intensity are all set using the touchscreen LCD panel on the front of the SAD light.
Two important bits of information:
- When you get the light you will need to fully charge the battery for at least eight hours before using it. This helps the battery hold its charge in the long run.
- The light should not be used by people with bi-polar
So one of the main selling points of the Philips goLITE BLU is its portability. It is smaller than an iPad mini (measuring 7inches by 7inches by 1 inch thick) and weighs less than 2lbs.
It has a well design padded travel case, so you can easily take it with you on holiday, to the office, move it around your home, etc, etc. In its travel case it easily fits in a suitcase packet, backpack or laptop bag. The travel case also has an opening at the end for charging.
The rechargeable battery is a great feature which of course aids the portability. Dependent upon your usage you should need to charge it once or twice a week – on a full charge the battery lasts around two hours.
There is also a display on the LCD panel that tells you when the battery needs recharging.
Slightly unusual in SAD lights – it has a built in alarm. The alarm tone is actually really nice, a very peaceful harp like sound. You can set alarm to wake you with just the light, just sound or both.
It has a couple of nice adjustable features. The timer you can set to anything from 1 to 60 minutes after which it will automatically turn the light off, meaning you don’t have to worry about watching the clock.
You can also adjust the strength of the light to set it at 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%. This helps you get acclimatised to the benefits of light therapy as at 100% the light is very strong. It is recommended you start with the light on the 50% setting.
You get a 45 day full money back guarantee and a limited two year warranty with this product as well. The warranty covers defects in materials or workmanship not damage resulting from an accident like you dropping it or getting water in it!
The lights are LED which can last for 50 years with 30 minutes usage per day (according to the manual) and it produces no UV or near-UV light.
Onto the contentious topic of blue light therapy! I will now try and mount my defence of it as it is a controversial subject.
In the back of our eyes we have cells that are not used for vision. Instead these cells have extensions that reach deep into the brain to something called the hypothalamus – this is where the body’s internal clock is believed to be located.
Any bright, full spectrum daylight will influence these cells, but research has proved that blue light is even more influential.
This research was carried out by Jefferson Medical University to find out what it is in the full light spectrum light that helps with mood relief, depression, and getting your sleep cycle back on track.
They found that the most effective light bandwidth is within the blue portion of the light spectrum and that these cells are much more receptive to blue light.
For this reason, the goLITE BLU only uses the blue light wave. Because you are getting the right kind of light you need, you actually use the goLITE BLU for about half the amount of time that you use a 10,000 lux light.
The goLITE BLU energy light emits safe levels of blue light, according to current standards. However, if you suffer from an eye disease or have a history of eye disease in your family, consult your ophthalmologist before you use the goLITE BLU energy light.
As great as the rechargeable battery is it does also have its downside. A number of users have noted that the battery, does after a couple of years begin to lose its charge.
So whereas a fully charged battery may last say four days, a couple of years later you may only get two days out of it. This isn’t a common problem but it is a little more than an isolated incident.
In addition to this the rechargeable battery cannot be replaced. It is a lithium-ion battery but not a standard size and not available from third-party replacement battery websites.
This doesn’t render the device useless because you can, of course, just used it plugged in.
Another slight niggle is the placement of the LCD control panel which is on the very front of the goLITE BLU directly below the light area. This means a slight slip of the finger whilst you are setting up the timer and you could have a very bright blue LED light shining directly in your face!
However once the light is set up you may well rarely change the settings so it is a very rare inconvenience.
On the subject of the control panel – the controls are not that intuitive. More than one user has reported setting an alarm that they struggle to reset and turn off! The LCD panel is also a bit hit and miss sometimes reacting to the slightest touch and other times not reacting at all.
Now back onto our old friend the subject of blue light therapy. In the world of light therapy blue light therapy is a relatively new innovation and as such there is much more research available to support the use of bright white light to treat SAD than there is for blue light as it has been around longer.
Something that has been associated with blue light is macular degeneration of the eyes. However this is actually associated with blue light within the full spectrum of sunlight.
That is white lights contain the same blue light as the blue only lights, like the goLITE BLU, so theoretically they pose the same risk.
It is probably best if you suffer from an eye disease or have a history of eye disease in your family, consult your ophthalmologist before you purchase this.
The Philips goLITE BLU definitely has a durable, solid, ‘high end’ feeling. The protective travel case is well made and the small metallic rod that acts as a stand neatly fits into the device when you are not using it.
It is neat and inoffensive and looks good – Philips have not cut any corners putting this together.
And Does It Work?
There is plenty of positive feedback on the Philips goLITE BLU. Certainly more positive than negative by far. Most people reported seeing results within a couple of weeks of daily usage and feeling much more alive, alert and energetic throughout the day.
SAD charity SADA have released figures showing that light therapy is effective in up to 85% of diagnosed cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is backed up by study after study that show light therapy makes a difference to those suffering with SAD:
- University of North Carolina study
- University of British Columbia study
- Harvard Health Publication
- Overview of numerous studies
In short – the chances are it will make a difference for you!
Small, compact and portable
Battery may lose its charge eventually
Battery cannot be replaced
Built in alarm
Control panel poorly positioned
Controls not intuitive
Blue light therapy?!
45 day money back guarantee and two year warranty
Blue light therapy!!!
The Philip goLITE BLU is great in many ways. Not least its portability which is aided by the rechargeable battery. The blue light is soothing and effective and it is well made to a high quality from one of the world’s leading electronic manufacturers.
There are concerns about whether blue light therapy is safe. This SAD light emits safe levels of blue light according to current standards. Also ask yourself, nature presents plenty of dangers – there are contaminants and pollutants naturally present in the air, even in sunlight itself.
Drugs are used to treat illnesses and these have side effects, but the benefits far outweigh them. Risk cannot be eliminated in this world.
If you want a high end blue therapy light then this is definitely worth considering.
- EDITOR RATING 83% 83%
This SAD light actually has more features than either the GoLite BLU Rechargeable Version (HF3429) or the GoLITE BLU Corded Power Version (HF3422). It has a timer, clock and alarm functioning as well as four adjustable light intensities.
However both the HF3429 and HF3422 look much nicer and are far cheaper than this one. Therefore if having a rechargeable battery isn’t a bit factor for you and you don’t mind being tied down to having to have a power socket nearby then the GoLITE BLU Corded Power Version (HF3422) would be our recommendation.
If you want the ultimate in portability and are prepared to spend a little more than the HF3422 then the GoLite BLU Rechargeable Version (HF3429) would be ideal.
If you would like to leave your personal review or experience of this product, or if you have any questions, please do leave them below. I would love to hear your feedback!
About The Reviewer
Lead Editor, Product Tester & WriterSteve first noticed he might be suffering from SAD in Autumn 2011. After 18 months travelling the world (and following the sun!) he returned to England in March 2011 and was plunged back into grey skies and cloud!
Find out more about the Shine A Light On SAD Review Team.