CNET First Look
Cree TW Series LED bulb shines brightColors shine with Cree's TW Series LED -- but is this bulb really an upgrade?
Hey, CNET. Ry Crist here and I've got the Cree TW Series LED Light Bulb to look at today. This is a 13.5-watt bulb that's made to replace a 60-watt incandescent and it does a good job of it. It puts out 800 lumens compared to the 880 you'll get from an incandescent, so it's plenty bright enough. Now, this bulb comes on the heels of Cree's original LED bulb, which was a 9.5-watt bulb that put out the same amount of lumens. So, it's actually more efficient. That bulb is $12.97 at Home Depot. You can get it a little cheaper in some place just because of energy rebates. It is Energy Star certified which helps and that's a great deal. That bulb was a very tough act to follow. So, this is their follow up, this is their attempt at it and what they've done is it made a very strong effort to increase the CRI, which is the Color Rendering Index of the bulb. And that's why this bulb has kind of this bluish hue. It's got a little bit of a tacky feel to it and all of that is part of an effort to make it better at rendering colors. Now, the CRI score with friends from 1 to 100 being the best, is 93 on this bulb and that's the highest score you'll find for an LED that's commercially available right now. Unlike the $12.97 bulb before, this bulb cost $19.97. So, what are you getting for that extra 7 bucks? Well, you're getting more accurate colors and is that worth it? Depends on what you need. I want to test out just how much of an effect this had on colors. So, I look for the most colorful thing I could find in the office here and that turned out to be a bowl of Fruity Cheerios which we were actually using for vacuum cleaner testing. Now, we're gonna light this bowl of cereal using just the Cree light to see how nice it makes, these colors look. And then for comparison, we'll do the same thing with a basic standard 60-watt incandescent bulb. So, I'll go ahead and I'll take the Cree bulb and I'll screw it into this apparatus here and we're gonna hold it up above. Let's go ahead and kill the lights. So, here we have the Cree light and only the Cree light illuminating the cereal and as you can see, the colors do look a little bit more vivid in my opinion. Now here, we have an incandescent bulb. This is 60 watts. This is the comparable bulb to the Cree. This is the type of bulb you have to replace season's Cree light and we're gonna hold this up right above the serial just like before that the film had stopped wobbling there a little bit and just like that we see that it looks fine. You can see it, you could eat this bowl of cereal in the middle of the night if you use this light but the colors might not look quite as vivid as the Cree looks, and this because the incandescent is not going to be as accurate at rendering colors as the Cree TW Series. So, the question is, is that worth it? Is that worth $7 more especially if you are sacrificing a little bit of the interview efficiency of the bulb? For most consumers, I think that efficiency is probably the top priority. So, I would recommend the previous Cree LED bulb but if you want that high CRI, if you want accurate colors, if you're displaying artwork and you have a lot of need for that type of bulb, this is a fabulous bulb. You'll be very happy with it. For CNET, I'm Ry Crist.