Dec 182013
 
Philips-slimstyle-LED-bulb-3

Philips-slimstyle-LED-bulb-3

For a few months now there have been rumors about something interesting coming from Philips’ lighting department. This new product was said to be LED-based, affordable — under $10 — and interesting. We didn’t know just how interesting but Philips had practically gone on record stating that the company would have a sub-$10 LED bulb before 2013 was over. Today the curtain was pulled back and the SlimStyle was revealed.

The SlimStyle is a 60W-equivalent LED bulb that produces 800 lumens and operates at 10.5W (76 lumens-per-watt). In many ways it’s a standard consumer LED bulb: it’s rated for 25,000 hours of life, it’s dimmable, it has an omnidirectional light pattern, and it has a CRI (color accuracy) rating of 80. All this means that Energy Star certification isn’t just possible… it’s pending. But after a single glance at the SlimStyle you’ll know that it’s not just another LED bulb. In fact, the term “bulb” isn’t exactly appropriate…

SlimStyle

Philips-slimstyle-LED-bulb-1

Philips-slimstyle-LED-bulb-1

When looked at straight on, the SlimStyle appears to be bulb-shaped, but that’s actually only true in 2D. When turned, it’s clear that the lamp is flat on both sides and has a ring running around its outside which serves as a light guide. The design is unlike anything else found in the LED market today but not only because of its unique aesthetics, it’s also missing a part found on every one of its competitors: a metal heatsink.

Basically, LEDs don’t like to get hot — the heat decreases lifetime and brightness (I’ve spent a lot of time explaining that) so a metal heatsink is used to disperse heat, moving it away from the sensitive LEDs. With the SlimStyle Philips was able to move to an all-plastic body and still keep the LEDs cool enough to promise a 25,000 hour lifetime. And, in doing so, the company was able to move to this cool new design. Best of all: not only does the flat design help conduct heat away from the LEDs, says Philips, it also helps cut down on costs.

Unfortunately we don’t know the price yet. Philips has told us that the SlimStyle will be available through HomeDepot.com as of January 2, 2014. So the company’s sub-$10 LED bulb won’t quite make it into 2013. That is, of course, assuming that it is under $10.

The January 2nd release date isn’t just important because it’s soon, it’s also the start of 2014 which means that EISA (the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007) will have officially phased out 60W and 40W incandescent bulbs. At that point 60W-equivalent LED offerings won’t just be the best option available, they’ll be much closer to being the only game in town.

SlimStyle LED

Philips-slimstyle-LED-bulb-2

Philips-slimstyle-LED-bulb-2


I’ve been testing the SlimStyle for some time now and I have to say that I’m pretty impressed. The bulb is impressively engineered, extremely light, very compact, and it just plain looks cool. The light quality is fine, well into what I would consider the acceptable range for the home. In fact I’ve been using the SlimStyle in my living room without a shade, just to get a feel for it.

Philips’ early spec sheet didn’t note the color temperature, but it looks to be about 3000K to me, but it’s 2700K, and the lighting pattern is omnidirectional enough to suit my purposes.

As you can probably tell, I haven’t been overly analytical with this lamp just yet — I haven’t even taken it apart. I’ve spent my time simply using it, testing how this strange-looking bulb adapts to normal situations. You probably won’t be shocked to learn that it does its job, just like any quality LED bulb should. I haven’t found that it gets terribly hot or that it’s lost any brightness, so it seems like Philips was truly able to pull off the heat sink-free design.

Before SlimStyle goes on sale on January 2nd we should have more details on pricing and how Philips was able to deliver a LED lamp that offers solid performance, a great design, and — very possibly — a highly competitive price.

Now read: Philips LED carpet turns floors into incredibly helpful dynamic signage

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