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Philips SlimStyle 75W Replacement LED review: A bigger, brighter, better Philips SlimStyle LED

Coming soon to a lighting aisle near you: 75W replacement versions of the funky, flattened-out light bulb.

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Ry Crist
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Ry Crist

Senior Editor / Reviews - Appliances

Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, and home networking.

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The SlimStyle wing of the Philips family tree is getting a little bigger, with the addition of new 75W replacement versions of the flattened LED lights. Due on Home Depot shelves the final week of November, the new bulbs will retail for $13 each -- cheaper than any other big brand 75W replacement LED currently on the market.

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Philips SlimStyle 75W Replacement LED

The Good

This bigger, brighter version of the Philips SlimStyle features the same strong heat management as the original, along with improved efficiency and dimming performance.

The Bad

You'll still find slight dim spots to the sides of the bulb. Also, you can do a lot better than the SlimStyle's 3-year warranty without paying very much more.

The Bottom Line

Philips' new SlimStyle is a strong performer that offers a good deal of value in the 75W replacement class.

With 1100 lumens to their name, the new SlimStyles offer the expected uptick in brightness over their 60W replacement predecessors , which put out 800 lumens each. They also offer improved dimming capabilities that won't flicker or buzz, and they boast a slight increase in efficiency, too.

Simply put, everything that was good about the original SlimStyle LED is good about these new ones, too -- along with some key improvements to the design. If you don't care about the extra brightness, the original is still the better value at $9, but among 75W replacements, the new SlimStyle looks like an awfully good deal.

A 75W replacement for the Philips SlimStyle LED lineup (pictures)

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Design

The whole point of the SlimStyle's funky, flat design is to distribute the light-emitting diodes along the perimeter of the bulb, away from its heat-generating base. This eliminates the need for bulky, aluminum heat sinks, which makes the plastic-bodied bulb cheaper to manufacture.

It also makes it incredibly lightweight, at least by LED standards. Like last year's SlimStyle, the 75W replacement variety weighs in at less than 3 ounces -- less than half the weight of the next lightest 75W replacement LED on the market.

The new 75W SlimStyle is a bigger version of last year's original SlimStyle LED. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The bulb is noticeably larger in size than last year's, though. This is pretty typical of 75W replacements (and even more so of 100W replacements); it shouldn't stop it from fitting into most lamps and fixtures, but be wary of any sconces or enclosures that are tight fits. Also increasingly typical: you'll be able to choose between the standard color temperature of 2,700 K, or a hotter, whiter version that sells at a slightly higher price.

Compared with those other 75W replacements, the SlimStyle is a pretty competitive bulb. Its stated brightness of 1100 lumens puts it right on par with a 75W incandescent, while the power draw of 13 watts makes it one of the most efficient bulbs in its class. With about 85 lumens per watt, it's a more efficient option than Cree , Sylvania, or Philips' own non-flattened 75W equivalent LED .

75W Replacement LEDs

Philips SlimStyle 75W Replacement LEDPhilips 75W Equivalent LEDCree 75W Replacement LEDSylvania 75W Replacement LEDTCP 75W Replacement LED
Lumens (stated) 1137 (1100)1047 (1180)1069 (1100)1130 (1100)1149 (1100)
Watts 131513.51413
Efficiency (lumens / watts) 84.6278.6781.4878.5784.62
Estimated Yearly Cost $1.57$1.81$1.63$1.69$1.57
Color temperature (stated) 2,670K (2,700K)2,586K (2,700K)2,679K (2,700K)2,548K (2,700K)2,777K (2,700K)
Lifespan 25,000 hours25,000 hours25,000 hours25,000 hours25,000 hours
Color rendering score 8079808080
Dimmable range 12.4 - 100%1.1 - 100%8.1 - 100%14.9 - 100%1.2 - 100%
Weight 2.85 ounces8.35 ounces5.85 ounces8.80 ounces6.90 ounces
Warranty 3 year5 year10 year5 year5 year
Price $13$20$15$18$25

That level of efficiency gives it a yearly operating cost of about a buck and a half at an average of three hours of use per day. That's an obvious improvement over a 75W incandescent, which'll cost you about nine dollars a year to run, but compared with an average 75W replacement CFL, which will add about $2.25 to your yearly energy bill, the savings are less significant. Upgrade from an incandescent, and the SlimStyle will pay for itself within two years. Upgrade from a CFL (compact fluorescent), and that number jumps up to well over a decade.

Something else to factor into the mathematics of long-term value is the bulb's warranty. Like the original SlimStyle, the 75W replacement version only offers three years of coverage. That's not terrible, but it's far less than you'll get with a bulb like the Cree 75W Replacement LED, which offers a 10-year warranty and costs just $2 more upfront.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Performance

Across the board, the Philips 75W Replacement SlimStyle LED did very well in our tests. By the obvious metrics -- brightness and efficiency -- it's right at the top of the pack. It also does well with niche concerns like heat management and dimmability.

In our brightness testing, the SlimStyle clocks in at 1137 lumens, comfortably above the stated light output of 1100 lumens. That number is second only to the 1149 lumens that you'll get with the TCP 75W replacement -- a bulb that costs almost twice as much. Interestingly enough, the SlimStyle easily outperformed Philips' standard 75W replacement LED. That bulb claims a lumen output of 1180, but actually comes in well below that 1100 benchmark.

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The new SlimStyle has the same subtle dim spots as the original. They're easier to see when the image is augmented (right). Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The SlimStyle's brightness isn't 100% omnidirectional, though. With the diodes distributed along the outer perimeter of the horseshoe-like bulb, you'll get more upward light than downward light. Also, you might notice subtle dim areas to each side of the bulb, same as with the original SlimStyle.

Another brightness-related concern is dimmability. Most of today's LEDs promise to dim on demand, but some will dim better than others. The previous SlimStyle LED did poorly in this regard, flickering and buzzing on our dimmer switches as much as any other LED we tested.

Fortunately, the new SlimStyle shows a lot of improvement in this area. Testing it out on multiple dimmer switches, including an older rotary model intended for incandescents only, the bulb never failed to dim to our satisfaction, and it didn't flicker or buzz one bit. It won't dim down quite as low as I like, cutting out around 12% brightness or so, but it still did well -- enough so that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it for someone with dimmer switches in their home, an endorsement I couldn't give the original SlimStyle.

The new SlimStyle doesn't flicker or buzz when the light's dimmed down. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The new SlimStyle boasts one other strong point, and that's the way it manages heat. All LEDs will produce a modest amount of heat as they're left on. This heat will cause a barely noticeable dip in brightness during the first thirty minutes or so of use, before the bulb plateaus at what's called the "steady state."

Some bulbs will see a more drastic dip in brightness than others, and some bulbs will take longer to reach a steady state. Both of those results are indicative of a bulb that's particularly sensitive to heat, and one that probably wouldn't be ideal in an enclosed fixture, where the heat can't dissipate.

The SlimStyle is just the opposite, dipping less and hitting its steady state faster than any other 75W replacement in its class, the same as we saw with the original SlimStyle and the 60W replacements we tested it against. Results like that tell us that these bulbs are really good at dealing with heat, and that they might be the ideal choice for an enclosed fixture.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The verdict

75W replacement LEDs like the new Philips SlimStyle fall right in a weird middle ground. You'll obviously find better brightness at the 100W level, while 60W replacements will offer better overall value. That makes for a category with a pretty tight window of demand, and one that you might expect manufacturers to gloss over just a tad. The fact that you'll actually find options as decent as the new Philips SlimStyle tells you a lot about just how far the LED market has come in recent years.

For a similarly impressive bulb with a better warranty, you might consider spending an extra two bucks on the Cree 75W Replacement LED. The 75W replacement from TCP might also be worth a look if you're willing to spend extra for a comparable LED that can dim almost cleanly down to zero. Aside from that, though, the Philips SlimStyle looks like your best bet.

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Philips SlimStyle 75W Replacement LED

Score Breakdown

Design 8Value 8Performance 8
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