We don't need no stinkin' heatsinks!One of the recent major innovations in the fast-moving world of LED lightbulbs was Philips' flat Slimstyle, pictured below.
What was special about it was that the flat shape - providing ample surface area to each individual LED to dissipate heat - allowed Philips' engineers to do without the heavy heatsink that could be found on pretty much all LED bulbs up to that point. This greatly reduced the cost and weight of the bulb, allowing it to go on sale for less than $10 (even less in many places where utilities offer rebates for energy efficient lighting).
But what if you don't like the flat approach, for whatever reason...
Philips has decided to use some of what it learned on the SlimStyle and create a more traditional-looking light (some would even say it's a bit boring compared to the spaceship-worthy LED bulbs that Philips has done previously). It might look like many other LED bulbs, but the first thing you notice when you pick it up is how light it is. It feels very plastic-y, for lack of a better term. In this case, that's a good thing, because one of the top priorities with LEDs is to make them cheap enough that people have no excuses not to use them (other priorities are to increase their efficiency and light quality, but today we're already doing very well on these fronts).
Another small side benefit from the lack of a metal heatsink; part of the base of the bulb is translucent, letting a little bit more light out. It's not a huge thing, but it can't hurt.
As you can see at the top of this post, the new Philips LED bulbs are available in two models, one is equivalent to a 60W incandescent, producing 800 lumens and using 9.5 watts, and the other is equivalent to a 40W incandescent, with 450 lumens using 6.5 watts.
That's an efficiency of 84.2 lumens/watt for the brighter one, and almost 70 lumens/watt for the other. That's about 10% more efficient than the SlimStyle 60W-equivalent LED from Philips (which used 10.5 watts to produce 800 lumens).
CRI for both bulbs is 80.
These also exceed ENERGY STAR specifications, and are rated to last over 22 years. Compared to an equivalent incandescent, they will reduce energy consumption by 85% and save an estimated $138 in electricity costs during their lifespan. Why anyone still buys incandescents, I don't know. Pure financial madness.
These LEDs are dimmable, and Philips has put an interesting twist on this: "Unlike other LED bulbs that just lower the light output, this offering from Philips has a gradual dimming feature that enables light levels to dim to warm, amber tones, similar to traditional household bulbs." Philips calls this feature 'Warm Glow', and it apparently dims the light from 2700 to 2200 kelvin.
I just received my review units, so I haven't had a chance to properly review them, but at first glance, their light quality seems good. Stay tuned for more details, as I like to live with new LED bulbs for a while before making up my mind, comparing them to my stable of other LEDs.
If you're interested, the new LEDs are available at HomeDepot.com for $9.97 and will be on the shelves at The Home Depot on March 1st. I'm sure they'll also be available at other stores, but I can't be sure of availability. And make sure to see if your local utility offers rebates, because in many places these bulbs will be available for around $5 after instant on-shelf utility rebates.