PhilipsLight LED lamps review (spring 2012)
So what lamps are we talking about exactly:
12w // 806 lumen // 2700K // Dimmable // 60w incandescent replacement
|MASTER LEDbulb DimTone
8w// 470 lumen // 2700K – 2200K // Dimmable // 40w incandescent replacement
|MASTER LEDspot DimTone
7w // 270 lumen // 2700K – 2200K // Dimmable // GU10 // 50 halogen replacement
MASTER LEDbulb (12w):
This is the ‘little brother’ so to say of the L-Prize winning LED bulb that recently got launched for sale in the USA - Image: Instagram - It is basically the same bulb, with the exception that it’s aesthetics and specs are a little bit better. That said, to me this is simply the best LED bulb out there at the moment (except for the L-Prize version which is only available for the US). One of the best things I like about it is its design. Aesthetically it got a ‘fresh’ design approach with its different than normal shape, fins and yellow (remote) phosphor. On the inside this goes further with all the electronics and the LED chips themselves – it really got a lot of attention. Overall it has a great ‘simple’ industrial look. When it turns on, it really starts to shine – literally. It has a very nice and true warm 2700K glow of light. It’s light distribution is 360 degrees and with 806 lumen a true replacement for 60w incandescent. It has a nice uniform light image and does a pretty good job on skin tones. It does a good job on color rendering, although I would like to see that getting even better. It dims really well on many different dimmers. Something not a lot of other LED bulbs do. Of course it can have miner flicker issues at lower dimming levels but having a compatible dimmer – list provided by Philips – will solve this. Although it stays at the same color temperature when dimmed (2700K) it is for me the only LED bulb lamp that gets away with it as it emits it light in such a pleasant way.
For me the only negatives are that it’s just available as 60w and 75w incandescent replacements. I would like to see a 40w and 25w replacement version. Second is the fact that there is a better, upgraded version of this bulb (L-Prize winner) available in the US. I don’t understand why that bulb is not available as a European version. To have this 12w LEDbulb instead of the L-Prize winning bulb feels like having the first IPad. It is a great product, but you know there is a better looking and better performing version available as well. Nonetheless this is a great bulb that beats all the others.
MASTER LEDbulb DimTone
One of the biggest requests from end users is the ability for LED lamps to get warmer when being dimmed. This way it mimic’s an incandescent or halogen. Philips offers this with their DimTone bulb and spot. First up is the bulb. It basically has the same aesthetic design as an incandescent (and like many other LED bulbs out there). To me this is the first disappointment, but for this review I don’t want get into design thoughts too much. When turned on it is straight away ‘a different experience’ then with the 12w bulb. There are two things most noticeably. First is the impression that it emits it light not as much all around (360 degrees) as the 12w bulb does. When putting the lamps in a lamp shade luminaire this is noticeable as well. Second is the fact that the light ‘feels trapped’ in its enclosure. The DimTone bulb has a phosphor ball within its outer (acrylic) enclosure. When turned on you really see and feel the light coming from within that phosphor ball and then somewhat staying within the bulb enclosure. It is a bit hard to explain without seeing it, but it makes a big difference when comparing to the 12w bulb where the surface really glows and light ‘gets out more’. It’s not all bad though! When dimming the bulb it will show its technology and true purpose > DimTone. At full brightness it starts at 2700K (although it looks to be a bit colder) and then dims to around 2200K. Nice and warm like an incandescent does. At lower levels it has some problems with smooth dimming, but again this has to do with using a standard old dimmer. In the dimming range there does appear to be a clear switch so to say, where the blue LEDs turn down and the amber ones turn on more.
Concluding, for me the biggest strength of the lamp is its DimTone technology. This has big promise to be great. For me though this is a nice start, but the lamp needs to be designed even better as it doesn’t hit the bar quite yet. I like the lamp, but that is for its future potential. Why that has to do with DimTone as a technology, read on!
MASTER LEDspot DimTone
Where DimTone doesn’t yet work as an overall solution on the bulb version; it certainly does with this LED spot! When taking it out of its package, the lamp feels rigid and strong. It has a nice look and when placed in an aluminum/steel luminaire I think the entire luminaire with lamps look more pleasing than with halogen lamps in it. The lamp has four blue rebel LEDs in it with a fifth amber LED in the middle. The lamp is not a ‘perfect fit’ lamp, so it might not fit perfect in all halogen luminaires, but it fitted great in mine and I think it will in most. Turning it on full brightness next to a halogen it straight away shows it strength. It has a good lumen output and nice light image. At full brightness its color temperature (CCT) is a bit colder than the halogen I am using. For me this is a positive as this means the CCT range I am getting is a little bit bigger. When dimed at 50% of full brightness there is no visible difference in CCT between the LED DimTone and the halogen. When dimmed at even lower levels I like the DimTone spot even better. It feels even warmer than the halogen (result of a bit more red in spectrum). Dimming goes nice and smooth.
For me, when looking for a GU10 LED spot, this is the one to get. It’s overall quality combined with a great execution of DimTone in its design makes this a winner end users (especially in hospitality) are looking for.