This week I bought two LED lamps. I picked the ones that looked best in each store, to see how they would look in a home environment.
First up is the less famous cousin of L Prize lamp (previously reviewed by SaveTheBulb):
12W Philips ‘MyAmbiance’ GLS Bulb
Info: 12W (12.5 really, but it’s marked 12W), E27 socket, 806 lumen (about 200 lumen more than most 60 W-replacement CFLs!), dimmable, 25 000 hour life rate, “Made in China”.
Price: Almost €70!
Colour: 2700 Kelvin, and truly warm-white.
Impression: First impression is how heavy it is! Almost 200 grams when I weighed it. A standard incandescent A-bulb weighs 25 grams. (Edit: grams, not kilograms.)
Brightest LED for home use that I’ve seen so far. Even quite glaring, so best used with a lamp shade.
While it looks very incandescent-like when you look at the lamp itself, the light from it is visibly not quite the same quality as that from incandescent lamps. Comparing it with the crystal clear halogen light it renders colours somewhat greyer. And when using it as the only light in the room, the whole ambiance turns a bit gloomy and dull, though more subtly so than lower quality LEDs and CFLs. And still the best I’ve seen so far.
Next I tried to dim it and got the similar unpleasant surprises as Kevan Shaw in his review above. 1) It immediately started buzzing! 2) Light colour got colder. 3) I was not able to dim it very far before it cut out altogether. But at least it didn’t fry my dimmer…
Edit: It also got very hot after I’d left it in for a while and tried to remove it again. Not as burning hot as a halogen lamp of course, but still enough to require gloves or leaving it to cool for a while.
I think I’ll use it as replacement for my 53W halogen porch lamp. Then I can leave it on when leaving home during the dark season.
Update: This is how it looked when I put it in. Good enough for outdoors, but the light is not quite as clear as that from the halogen lamp, and still has that ever-so-slight pink-white tint of all phosphor-coated light sources, though too subtle to catch on camera.
Update 9 Oct: I could no longer stand the unnatural fluorescent-looking pinkish light, so today this expensive LED got switched to one of the 60W carbon filament incandescents I’ve hoarded and now my porch looks nice and cosy again.
3W Rusta LED Candle Lamp
Info: 3W, E14 socket, 1-diod, 100 lumen, 140 degree beam angle, non-dimmable, 25 000 hour life rate.
Price: About €9.
Colour: 2700 K and fairly warm-white.
Impression: This one caught my eye in the store as the lit demonstration lamp looked different than other LEDs I’ve seen in that it was somewhere inbetween clear and frosted, with a thick, semi-transparent, very cleverly designed inner glass that focuses the light and makes it look almost like a decent bright point replacement for a chandelier incandescent candle lamp.
However, it disappointingly looked better in the shop (and in the above picture) than in real life at home. Light colour not quite as warm as such a low-watt lamp should be, more pinkish-white than in my photo. It also had a duller light and created a gloomier ambiance than my original incandescent lamp.
Funny thing happened when I put it in… As I held it by the painted metal base, it started glowing faintly blue at skin contact, even though the light switch for that particular luminaire was turned off.
I think this will be all for a while. If these are the best lamps I could find on the household market today, I see no use in reviewing any of the lamps that looked inferior already in the store.
(If anyone thinks they have a lamp that is better than these, feel free to send me a sample. My mail address can be found on the About page.)