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Green Creative BR30 Cloud LED review: A clever design helps the Cloud LED shine

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The Good The Green Creative BR30 Cloud LED topped our leaderboards in both brightness and efficiency. The unique design does a great job at keeping heat build-up at bay.

The Bad The Cloud LED is weak when it comes to color rendering, and it flickers a bit on dimmer switches.

The Bottom Line For basic household usage, the Cloud LED is a solid value pick that gets the important stuff right.

8.5 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Value 9
  • Performance 8

The Green Creative BR30 Cloud LED looks like something straight out of Star Trek, but the futuristic-looking build serves a purpose. Floating the LEDs up above the body of the bulb reduces the weight of the bulb, and also helps it manage heat better, which, as anybody who's ever owned a laptop that was prone to overheating can attest, is a good thing.

Sure enough, the Cloud LED manages heat exceptionally well, and also boasts ample brightness and better efficiency than any other floodlight we've tested out. Though not quite as well-rounded as the Editor's Choice-winning GE Reveal BR30 LED , Green Creative's Cloud LED is a very solid pick for directional lighting, and at $13 each ($5 cheaper than GE), it's a great value, too.

Design

The majority of LEDs on the market today strive to replicate the classic look of incandescents as best they can. The Cloud LED strives for something different, eschewing familiarity and taking a fresh approach to BR30 design. This isn't simply a means of standing out -- the hollowed out build means that the bulb requires less materials to produce.

It's a similar design approach to what we saw with the equally priced Philips SlimStyle BR30 LED , where the diodes sit in a flat disk atop a skinny stub of a body. Both lights weigh considerably less than their competitors, and both promise to manage heat better, too.

green-creative-cloud-led-vs-philips-slimstyle-br30-led.jpg
The Cloud LED's closest competitor is the shapely Philips SlimStyle BR30 LED. Ry Crist/CNET

Comparing the two spec for spec, you'll find that the Cloud LED comes out ahead at almost every turn. Both bulbs claim a light output of 650 lumens, but when we tested that out with our spectrometer and integrating sphere, the SlimStyle actually came in at 627 lumens, while the Cloud LED came through with a very impressive reading of 710 lumens.

We got the same result when we double checked with a second 2,700 K Cloud LED, and saw equally impressive, above-the-benchmark numbers from Cloud LEDs at other color temperatures, too. These include an extra warm 2,400 K Cloud LED, and a white light, daylight version of the Cloud LED that shines at 4,000 K.

BR30 LED Floodlights

Green Creative BR30 Cloud LED Philips SlimStyle BR30 LED GE Reveal BR30 LED Cree BR30 LED
Lumens (measured / stated) 710 / 650 627 / 650 707 / 630 655 / 650
Watts 8 9.5 12 9.5
Efficiency (lumens per watt) 89 66 59 69
Color temperature (measured / stated) 2,680 K / 2,700 K 2,730 K / 2,700 K 2,752 K / 2,850 K 2,690 K / 2,700 K
Color rendering index 79 80 89 81
Dimmable range 7 - 100% 0 - 100% 5 - 100% 8 - 100%
Dimmer switch flicker Light Moderate None Light
Lifespan 25,000 hours 25,000 hours 25,000 hours 25,000 hours
Weight 3.25 oz. 3.5 oz. 7.6 oz. 6.4 oz.
Energy Star Certification Yes Yes No Yes
Warranty 3-year 3-year 10-year 10-year
Price $13 $13 $18 $20

I was also impressed with the fact that the Cloud LED puts that light out from a power draw of 8 watts. That's less than any other BR30 LED we've tested. Coupled with the bump in brightness, the Cloud LED is easily the most efficient BR30 that's ever passed through our lab, putting out nearly 90 lumens per watt. No other bulb we've tested has managed to hit even 70 lumens per watt.

If there's any disappointment to be had with the Cloud LED's specs, it sits with the color-rendering score, which fell just below 80 out of 100. The color rendering score measures how accurately a given light source is able to illuminate colors when compared to pure daylight. Most LEDs claim scores right around 80 -- a fairly unimpressive number that typically results from especially low scores with red tones, an area where LEDs tend to struggle.

Color rendering isn't the Cloud LED's strong suit. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Our color-rendering winner in the category is the Editors' Choice-winning GE Reveal BR30 LED , which clocks in at a score of 89, and offers incredibly well-rounded performance by nearly every metric. While I wouldn't expect a baseline light like the Cloud LED to score quite that high, something at least a point or two above 80 would have been nice to see.

Additionally, while the 3-year warranty is perfectly fine for an LED that's priced relatively low, it's worth noting that you can get 10-year warranties with both the GE Reveal BR30 LED and the Cree BR30 LED . Of course, you'll pay more up front for each one, too.

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