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Cree's LED floodlight falls a bit shortThe LED upstart's BR30 bulb gets overshadowed by its competitors.
Hey I'm CNet's Ryan [INAUDIBLE] and this is my review on the Cree BR30 LED. Now BR30 means [INAUDIBLE] reflector and that just means that the bulb bounces the light out in one direction instead of the omnidirectional light you might get from a standard light bulb. And this one does a very good job in terms of efficiency. It uses 9.5 watts to put out a total lumen output of 650 lumens. That's good for 68 lumens per watt. Very decent for an LED flood light. And if you're upgrading from an incandescent or halogen like this one, you're going to be happy with the power savings. Like other BR30 LEDs, the Cree light promises to last for 25,000 hours or over 20 years at an average of three hours per day. So it's gonna save you money for a long time. It puts out light at a nice, yellowy 2,700k. It looks good. On paper, it's a perfectly fine bulb. But I still don't recommend it, and here's why. The bulb costs twenty-dollars, and that was a good price a year ago when LEDs hadn't come down yet, but, they have. And there's more competitors out there, and there's pretty good competitors out there like the GE Reveal BR30 LED which just won our Editor's Choice. That bulb has the same general specs as the Cree light, a slight uptick in the wattage makes for better color quality, but still very efficient. It also costs two dollars less, so you can get that bulb, the same ten year warranty, the same overall quality for less. I think it's a much better deal than the Cree bulb. If they cost the same, I'd probably still prefer the GE reveal, so the fact that it costs less is just the icing on the cake. In edition to that price point, the, [UNKNOWN] LED has some other problems with it that I'm not a huge fan of, the first of which is the fact that it does flicker a bit on dimmer switches, your performance may vary, there are a lot of dimmer switches out there, but on every switch we tried it with here in our lab, we found that it flickered quite a bit. Now [UNKNOWN] has been pretty aggressive about their pricing, getting to the bottom of that price range right away to try and get out in front of the competition, with BR30's it feels like they've fallen a bit behind. Other bulbs that CREE has put out has seen price cuts in years since they've been out. They've kind of adjusted to make sure that they're still very competitive. This one has not. It's the same price point as when it was first introduced back in July, 2013. It might get a price cut in the near future. You don't know. But even if it did, I don't know that I'd recommend it because the market has already come down. Just take a look at this Philips B-R-30 SlimStyle. This is a 13-dollar bulb, does a perfectly good job, has some of the same problems as Cree with flickering but, all in all, pretty comparable. I don't think Cree is gonna come down to 13-dollars. They'd have to, in order to compete with this one. In the end, Cree bulbs are very good overall, and in most categories, they tend to lead the way, but in BR-30s, they are behind the curve, and until they play catch-up, I say skip it and go with something else. For CNET, I'm Ryan Crist.