312014Mar

Philips shines a light on aesthetics with the new Clear LED

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Philips

The frosted bulbs on today’s LEDs aren’t just there for softer light — they also hide the unsightly hardware inside. But what if you’re a fan of the exposed bulb aesthetic, and looking for a worthy replacement for those translucent incandescents lining your bathroom mirror?

Philips thinks it has just the thing with its new Clear LED, a 40-watt replacement bulb which the Dutch company promises will mimic the “elegant shape and sparkling light” of traditional incandescents. With its A60 shape, clear glass bulb, and inconspicuous heat sinks, this LED is designed to do strike a more familiar tone with consumers than its often irregular-looking competition.

Like Philips’ standard 40-watt replacement LED, the Philips Clear puts out 470 lumens at a color temperature of 2,700 K, claims full dimmability and omnidirectionality, and promises a lifespan of 25,000 hours. The Philips Clear is the slightly more efficient bulb, though, drawing 6 watts as opposed to 8 from the standard Philips LED. This puts it right in line with the Cree 40-watt replacement LED, which puts out 450 lumens at 2,700 K using 6 watts.

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Philips

Still, it’s the bulb’s traditional appearance and “sparkling” light quality that Philips is focusing on, here — not comparative performance claims. It isn’t the first time Philips has marketed an LED’s design as its chief selling point. The recently released Philips SlimStyle LED has an eyebrow-raising, flattened design that distributes the diodes around the perimeter of the bulb (if you can even call it a bulb).

The Philips Clear doesn’t use quite as unusual an approach, but it does signal that manufacturers are starting to look beyond the usual performance claims and comparisons with incandescents when marketing their bulbs. Philips seems to think that bulb aesthetics might be the next LED battleground, while manufacturers like Cree and GE appear to be focusing more on color quality.

There’s no word on exactly when the Philips Clear will go on sale in the US, although it should arrive at European retailers this July. Philips isn’t sharing the bulb’s cost just yet, but with the SlimStyle selling for less than $10 (£6) and the Cree 40-watt replacement selling for less than $5 (£3), I’d expect the Clear to land somewhere in that ballpark.

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