A new flat LED light bulb from Philips, the SlimStyle, will go on sale in January at a rumored price under $10.
Philips has been broadly hinting that it will introduce an 800-lumen-class LED light bulb (replacing a 60-Watt incandescent) for under $10 before the end of 2013. The company almost made it. The SlimStyle, a flattened bulb, was introduced today and will go on sale at Home Depot on January 2, 2014. The price has not been released but I found evidence it will indeed slip under the $10 mark (see below).
First the specs. 800 lumens for 10.5 Watts, or 76.2 lm/W. A CRI of 80 and a CCT of 2700K. Dimmable. A claimed lifetime of 22.8 years and a 3-year warranty.
At first glance the SlimStyle is reminiscent of NliteN's 2D-Lite, whose Indiegogo project failed to meet its goal. However, the Philips bulb sports multiple LEDs in two rows around a torus, instead of a pair of LEDs centered on the two sides of a disk.
Philips claims the bulb is omnidirectional, but the seam around the outside of the plastic torus, where the two halves are joined, will clearly dim the light in a band around it -- this can best be seen in this Slashgear photo.
The bulb has no aluminum heatsink; the design is all-plastic. This has got to reduce its weight, bill of materials, and manufacturing cost significantly, so a sub-$10 retail price certainly looks achievable. How Philips manages to dissipate the heat from what appears to be 26 LEDs (see this Slashgear photo), each driven at about 400mA, is unknown at this time.
That elusive price
While neither Philips nor Home Depot has announced the retail price of the SlimStyle, I found a hint that the magic number will be $9.97. The image below is a screen shot from DIYChoice.com, a site that aggregates information about materials and supplies for do-it-yourselfers. The "SEE IT" button at the bottom right links to a nonexistent page on Home Depot's site. I grabbed the screen shot in case the link above is retracted, which seems a likely outcome now that we have shined a spotlight there.
Philips says the SlimStyle has already been submitted for EnergyStar approval, and assuming that is granted will qualify the bulb for rebates from energy companies across the US. That could drop the effective retail price to $5.
At a list price $3 below Cree's bulb, the SlimStyle should give the North Carolina company pause to think. Cree is spending R&D dollars to reduce its manufacturing costs still further, and I expect the company to respond rapidly to the price competition.
— Keith Dawson , Editor-in-Chief, All LED Lighting