Nanoleaf Bloom review: Lighten up the room, and your wallet

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MSRP: $40.00

The Good The eye-catching Nanoleaf Bloom uses clever programming to dim without the need for a dimmer. It's also the most efficient 75W replacement LED we've come across.

The Bad The Nanoleaf's dimming trick isn't as precise as more common methods, and might not add enough functionality to justify the price tag.

The Bottom Line With LED and smart lighting prices continuing to fall, $40 feels pretty steep for a single non-connected bulb, even one as unique as this one.

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7.0 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Value 5
  • Performance 7

Review Sections

The Nanoleaf Bloom calls itself a dimmable light bulb that doesn't need a dimmer. Thanks to clever programming, the bulb will fade up to full brightness over the course of a few seconds after being turned on -- flip the switch off and on at any time during that period, and you'll lock in the light level at that specific point.

That's a pretty neat trick from a pretty neat-looking bulb, but you'll have to pony up if you want to try one out. Reserving a Nanoleaf Bloom from the Toronto-based startup's already-successful Kickstarter campaign will cost you $40 -- roughly AU$45, or £25 in the UK. That price is more than twice as much as you'll spend on LEDs from brands like Philips and Cree that boast comparable brightness and efficiency specs.

That $40 price tag is also higher than some of the increasingly affordable smart bulbs we've seen lately, and those offer built-in dimming smarts of their own, along with automation capabilities. It's easy to like the Nanoleaf Bloom, but with competition like that, it's hard to see the value.

Available in grey or black (or a variety of colors for bulk orders), the Nanoleaf Bloom sports the same, unique, 3D-printed exoskeleton as its predecessor, last year's NanoLight (now known as the Nanoleaf One). That product ultimately raised well over 10 times its funding goal, and Nanoleaf looks to have the same crowdfunding momentum this year, so it's a design that clearly seems to strike a chord with consumers.

That isn't terribly surprising given the fact that Nanoleaf's light bulbs look utterly unlike anything else in the lighting aisle. There's an audacious quality to the diode-dotted jigsaw assembly, as if you're looking at an early prototype of a futuristic game-changer.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

But from a pricing perspective, the Nanoleaf Bloom is less the bulb of tomorrow than it is the bulb of yesterday. Last year, 75W replacement LEDs were hard to come by, and -- like the original NanoLight -- often fetched prices of $30 or more. Since then, new options have entered the mainstream, and prices have come down considerably. At $40, the Nanoleaf Bloom is priced to compete with last year's LED market, not this year's.

All that said, an elevated price point is justifiable if the product in question offers elevated features, too, and to an extent the Nanoleaf Bloom succeeds in this regard. Beyond the bulb's unique dimming capabilities, the Bloom offers exceptional efficiency, putting out 1,200 lumens from a power draw of just 10 watts. That's dramatically more efficient than the nearest competitors from Philips, GE, and Cree.

I was a bit disappointed by the Bloom's color rendering capabilities, though. Our spectrometer measured its CRI score at 77, which makes it incrementally inferior to the other 75W replacements we've tested. While largely an unnoticeable difference, I still expect a bit better from a $40 bulb.

Nanoleaf Bloom Philips 75W Replacement LED Cree 75W Replacement LED
Lumens 1200 1100 1220
Watts 10 13.5 15
Efficiency (lumens/watt) 120 81.48 81.33
Lifespan 30,000 hours 25,000 hours 25,000 hours
Color Temperature (stated) 2,855 K (3,000 K) 2,679 K (2,700 K) 2,586 K (2,700 K)
Color Rendering Index 77 81 78
Weight 4.45 oz. 5.80 oz. 8.30 oz.
Warranty 2 years 10 years 5 years
Price $40 $16 $20

In terms of lifespan, the Nanoleaf Bloom promises a slightly longer-than-average 30,000 hours, though the 2-year warranty isn't quite as long as what you'll get from a major manufacturer like Philips or Cree, which offers a 10-year warranty on its 75W replacement LED.

The team at Nanoleaf also claims that you'll be able to use the Bloom in enclosed fixtures without needing to worry about the light overheating. In the event that it does get too hot, the bulb will automatically dim down until things cool off. In our tests, this feature never needed to kick in.

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