Review of Sylvania TruWave light (new broadband blue emitter technology)

JoakimFlorence

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Sylvania TruWave "bright white" (3500K)

White LED light usually has a narrow wavelength of blue. In a spectral graph, this typically shows up as a tall spike of blue at about 450nm. This defines the character of typical LED, preventing the light from feeling as "natural" as some other light sources, and leading to some limitations in color rendering ability in the deep indigo and azure/cyan color areas.
Newer technology violet emitter white LEDs are one strategy that can be used to address this issue, albeit with a sacrifice in efficiency (as well as violet emitters being more expensive than blue emitters used in standard white LED), with the blue light being given off by a special phosphor.
But there is another LED technology that can attempt to address this issue, and that is broader-band blue LED, which emits a wider range of blue wavelengths than a normal blue LED. This has been discussed years ago in this forum, but it has now become incorporated into mainstream commercial products. Two retrofit LED bulbs that use this technology are the Philips "Ultra Definition", and the Sylvania "TruWave". The blue emitters use "quantum well" technology. An official spectral graph of Sylvania's Truwave product shows the tallest blue spike at what appears to be 430 or 440nm, another second slightly smaller spike at around 450nm, and then a third medium-sized spike at what appears to be 470 or 475nm, which partially overlaps into the green wavelength area, creating a relatively continuous spectrum (at least according to the graph, though I have reason to be somewhat skeptical).

diagram of spectral graph can be seen here:
-blue-range-and-full-spectrum-compared-to-sunlight.jpg


related older threads:
Is violet really the best way to go? (Jun 5, 2016 )
98 CRI from BLUE emitter (Nov 25, 2014 )
(mentions "Spectrafill" technology by Electrospell in post #8, first announcement of a broadband blue LED emitter)


picture of product:
Truwave 75.jpg


I decided to test the "TruWave" bulb to be able to evaluate the quality of the light, to provide a subjective description of it for the readers in this forum, and write a review.

The Sylvania TruWave was available in "Bright White", which I had mistakenly assumed would be 3000K in color temperature. It turned out that their "Bright White" version is actually 3500K. This is an unusual color temperature offering, as far as LED bulbs go.
I had decided to go with an intermediate color temperature because I thought 5000K would be too extreme, I would not be able to evaluate how natural that light felt very well, while on the other hand, with 2700K I was worried that the blue would not be a prominent enough part of the spectrum, and that is why I wanted to get this bulb, to evaluate how its special blue wavelengths affect the feel of the light.

Here is description of the light:

The 3500K color temperature looks very bright brilliant white and "clean". (This is indoors at night) The light feels very "white". (Maybe a little like one of those super "energy saver" halogen bulbs that is designed to push the color temperature all the way up to 3000K but doesn't end up lasting very long as result)

In appearance, the color rendering appears to me to look like exactly 90 CRI, no more, no less. Warm colors look noticeably less alive and saturated than another 91-93 CRI (3500K) LED lamp I have.

The CRI is "good enough" for most purposes though. Of course 90 CRI is a little bit better than the standard retrofit LED bulb. Fine print on the packaging claims it has improved color rendering compared to other 90 CRI LED lamps, which is probably true, since presumably it's basically using 90 CRI type phosphor but just has improved coverage in certain less usual color areas owing to the nature of the different blue wavelengths.

There is something strange feeling about the quality of the light. Objects under the light appear more detailed and higher definition, yet the light is also harsher.

Trying to describe the exact feel of the light, I would say the light feels like a mix of a 96 CRI (LED) emitter and metal halide. (I should clarify that, by that statement I do not mean to imply anything about color rendering or color temperature)
Maybe almost a little like the light of ceramic metal halide, if some of that were also mixed in.

Or another way to put it, I would say the light almost kind of looks like a three-way mix of LED, fluorescent, and a 3000K halogen incandescent, (I mean the type of halogen that has very white crisp clear light but also is just a little bit harsh, compared to 2700-2900K incandescent).
(Even that description is not entirely accurate, I'm afraid, since the blue light is neither really quite as "hollow" and out of focus as fluorescent, nor quite as entirely in-focus as halogen. In other words I'd say the blue light is more like some other light sources besides normal LED, but neither is it really precisely like what you'd get if you mixed those other light sources)

I did make reference to 96 CRI light, because I have some Oslon 96 CRI emitters and the quality of the light seems noticeably a little more clear, in-focus, and "natural feeling" than the light from other LED sources. Well, the TruWave kind of goes a little notch above this (though still not quite to the level of violet emitter).

Looking at the spectrum of the light through a diffraction grating, I can still see a gap between the blue and the green. The difference is that the blue seems a bit wider, ranging into the deeper 430-440nm violet-blue and a little into the 470nm "ice blue" territory, though the very light whitish 485-490nm "cyan blue" is still almost completely absent.

This does make me skeptical about the company's graph being accurate. I would guess that the intensity of wavelengths between 480 and 490nm might only be 30 or 40% of the intensity of the rest of the blue, conflicting with the company's graph that only shows only a shallow 20% dip in that area.

When I say the light is "harsher", it almost hurts my eyes after looking at the bulb for two minutes. An experience I do not have with normal LED, but which I do have with fluorescent. Although I'd say it is only maybe 45% as bad as a comparable compact fluorescent bulb (of equal color temperature).
This harshness is not so different from the light peaking in through a window on a completely overcast day with grey skies from the cloud cover.

The marketing hype claims this new technology has "reduced glare" and is "easier on the eyes", but it is not (in my opinion), rather it is actually worse.

However, there is no denying that the light also feels a little "higher definition" than the light from regular LED light, and I would say this effect is almost noticeably so. When reading small black print against a white background, the print appears a little "clearer" to me, with the edges of the print more defined. Whereas under regular LED light, fine print can appear almost just a little bit out of focus, with less clear edges between the black and white areas.

Both of these attributes are what one would expect from including a little bit of a wider range of blue wavelengths.

In terms of color rendering, I did notice the light seemed to do a little bit of a better job rendering both deep royal blues and lighter blue teal colors. It made blue colors appear a little more natural. I would not say it was extremely noticeable, but neither would I say it was hard to see if someone was trying to pay attention to that specific difference and had it pointed out to them. I had a teal-blue color in my shoes that looked noticeably brighter and lively under the TruWave light, but looked dead and less bright under normal LED light (which was 90 CRI, 3000K).
 
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defloyd77

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I recently bought a new "mother daughter" lamp at a Menards and came across these when I was getting a bulb for the lamp. I'm very much a neutral white guy, so 3500K caught my interest, so I got a 3 way version for the 3 way socket in that lamp. I absolutely love it. It looks so clean and bright, honestly I can't think of any other way to describe it. I don't seem to be having the same problem with harshness as you are. Since then I've put 2 of the 60 watt ones in one bathroom, anther 60 watt in my kitchen and another bathroom and 4 (40 watt I think?) flame shaped ones in the ceiling fan in my dining room.

As far as the color rendering goes, it does seem a bit weaker in reds than some of my more expensive 95+ CRI bulbs from companies such as Yuji and Waveform lighting, but in my opinion looks a lot better than the other 90+ CRI bulbs like Feit that big box stores sell.
 

JoakimFlorence

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recently bought a new "mother daughter" lamp at a Menards and came across these when I was getting a bulb for the lamp. I'm very much a neutral white guy, so 3500K caught my interest,
Yes, this 3500K almost sort of feels like 4000K light, but ever so imperceptibly just a little on the warmer side rather than on the slightly colder side. It feels pretty close to "neutral white" to me, especially at lower lighting levels.

It almost sort of feels like the very upper range of what is possible from halogen, I mean in terms of color temperature and brilliant white color.

Unlike those adjustable color temperature bulbs, this Sylvania TruWave bulb has no flicker whatsoever.
 

JoakimFlorence

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As far as the color rendering goes, it does seem a bit weaker in reds than some of my more expensive 95+ CRI bulbs from companies such as Yuji and Waveform lighting, but in my opinion looks a lot better than the other 90+ CRI bulbs like Feit that big box stores sell.
To me, this TruWave seems about exactly equal to other 90 CRI LED bulbs when it comes to "warmth" of wood and skin tones, and color contrast between reds and greens.

Although I do have to say that 3500 or 4000K is a good color temperature to bring out red and green contrast, so that might be a factor.

But the Sylvania TruWave seems to do a better job rendering azure-blue, cyan, and deeper indigo blues than normal LED, something that you usually do not get any improvement on except with the very highest CRI LEDs.

You definitely get more contrast between different hues of blue.
 

PhotonWrangler

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In terms of color rendering, I did notice the light seemed to do a little bit of a better job rendering both deep royal blues and lighter blue teal colors. It made blue colors appear a little more natural. I would not say it was extremely noticeable, but neither would I say it was hard to see if someone was trying to pay attention to that specific difference and had it pointed out to them. I had a teal-blue color in my shoes that looked noticeably brighter and lively under the TruWave light, but looked dead and less bright under normal LED light (which was 90 CRI, 3000K).
Thanks for your detailed impressions of this bulb. I have a couple of TruWave bulbs that I haven't installed in anything yet. I think I will try one or two of them soon.
 

Dave_H

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I almost had a TruWave 40W eq,. bulb to check out, it was in a $3 goodie-bag at Value Village. Turned out someone stuffed an old Philips bulb in its box (I hate it when people do this). The OTC price is still a bit high for me.

As noted, efficacy is compromised, 450 lumens at 5.5W. Ikea's latest 450 lumen bulb runs 2.8W, half the power although I know its light quality is different.

Dave
 

Dave_H

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I just grabbed a deal on TruWave G16.5 round clear filament LED bulbs, with E12 base, about $1 each, from an unlikely place, grocery store clearance cart. These are 2700K, 350 lumens, 4W (87 lpw), dimmable of course. When dimmed I can see 12 LEDs per filament.

I have only done a quick comparison with similar lamp not of this technology, an older GE, notice some minor differences; but generally am not overly discriminating when it comes to more subtle effects.

Dave

Syl_TruWave_4W_G16_5_fil_bulbs.JPG
 

Dave_H

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I did a bit more informal side-side test with similar bulb not using this technology, and noticed the TruWave bulb has a bit softer, less harsh light.

Dave
 

JoakimFlorence

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I did a bit more informal side-side test with similar bulb not using this technology, and noticed the TruWave bulb has a bit softer, less harsh light.
It's possible the 2700K might have adjusted the wavelengths to have more 470nm and less 450 and 440, trying to more accurately reflect the spectral distribution of an ideal blackbody radiator.
I only have the 3500K version, I have not observed the 2700K.

I'm thinking that could be a possible explanation for the discrepancy between your perceptions and mine. But I do not know if that is even true, whether they might be using different versions of the blue LED emitters for different color temperature options.
 
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jmunjr

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Sylvania TruWave "bright white" (3500K)

White LED light usually has a narrow wavelength of blue. In a spectral graph, this typically shows up as a tall spike of blue at about 450nm. This defines the character of typical LED, preventing the light from feeling as "natural" as some other light sources, and leading to some limitations in color rendering ability in the deep indigo and azure/cyan color areas.
Newer technology violet emitter white LEDs are one strategy that can be used to address this issue, albeit with a sacrifice in efficiency (as well as violet emitters being more expensive than blue emitters used in standard white LED), with the blue light being given off by a special phosphor.
But there is another LED technology that can attempt to address this issue, and that is broader-band blue LED, which emits a wider range of blue wavelengths than a normal blue LED. This has been discussed years ago in this forum, but it has now become incorporated into mainstream commercial products. Two retrofit LED bulbs that use this technology are the Philips "Ultra Definition", and the Sylvania "TruWave". The blue emitters use "quantum well" technology. An official spectral graph of Sylvania's Truwave product shows the tallest blue spike at what appears to be 430 or 440nm, another second slightly smaller spike at around 450nm, and then a third medium-sized spike at what appears to be 470 or 475nm, which partially overlaps into the green wavelength area, creating a relatively continuous spectrum (at least according to the graph, though I have reason to be somewhat skeptical).

diagram of spectral graph can be seen here:
View attachment 56573


related older threads:
Is violet really the best way to go? (Jun 5, 2016 )
98 CRI from BLUE emitter (Nov 25, 2014 )
(mentions "Spectrafill" technology by Electrospell in post #8, first announcement of a broadband blue LED emitter)


picture of product:
View attachment 56574

I decided to test the "TruWave" bulb to be able to evaluate the quality of the light, to provide a subjective description of it for the readers in this forum, and write a review.

The Sylvania TruWave was available in "Bright White", which I had mistakenly assumed would be 3000K in color temperature. It turned out that their "Bright White" version is actually 3500K. This is an unusual color temperature offering, as far as LED bulbs go.
I had decided to go with an intermediate color temperature because I thought 5000K would be too extreme, I would not be able to evaluate how natural that light felt very well, while on the other hand, with 2700K I was worried that the blue would not be a prominent enough part of the spectrum, and that is why I wanted to get this bulb, to evaluate how its special blue wavelengths affect the feel of the light.

Here is description of the light:

The 3500K color temperature looks very bright brilliant white and "clean". (This is indoors at night) The light feels very "white". (Maybe a little like one of those super "energy saver" halogen bulbs that is designed to push the color temperature all the way up to 3000K but doesn't end up lasting very long as result)

In appearance, the color rendering appears to me to look like exactly 90 CRI, no more, no less. Warm colors look noticeably less alive and saturated than another 91-93 CRI (3500K) LED lamp I have.

The CRI is "good enough" for most purposes though. Of course 90 CRI is a little bit better than the standard retrofit LED bulb. Fine print on the packaging claims it has improved color rendering compared to other 90 CRI LED lamps, which is probably true, since presumably it's basically using 90 CRI type phosphor but just has improved coverage in certain less usual color areas owing to the nature of the different blue wavelengths.

There is something strange feeling about the quality of the light. Objects under the light appear more detailed and higher definition, yet the light is also harsher.

Trying to describe the exact feel of the light, I would say the light feels like a mix of a 96 CRI (LED) emitter and metal halide. (I should clarify that, by that statement I do not mean to imply anything about color rendering or color temperature)
Maybe almost a little like the light of ceramic metal halide, if some of that were also mixed in.

Or another way to put it, I would say the light almost kind of looks like a three-way mix of LED, fluorescent, and a 3000K halogen incandescent, (I mean the type of halogen that has very white crisp clear light but also is just a little bit harsh, compared to 2700-2900K incandescent).
(Even that description is not entirely accurate, I'm afraid, since the blue light is neither really quite as "hollow" and out of focus as fluorescent, nor quite as entirely in-focus as halogen. In other words I'd say the blue light is more like some other light sources besides normal LED, but neither is it really precisely like what you'd get if you mixed those other light sources)

I did make reference to 96 CRI light, because I have some Oslon 96 CRI emitters and the quality of the light seems noticeably a little more clear, in-focus, and "natural feeling" than the light from other LED sources. Well, the TruWave kind of goes a little notch above this (though still not quite to the level of violet emitter).

Looking at the spectrum of the light through a diffraction grating, I can still see a gap between the blue and the green. The difference is that the blue seems a bit wider, ranging into the deeper 430-440nm violet-blue and a little into the 470nm "ice blue" territory, though the very light whitish 485-490nm "cyan blue" is still almost completely absent.

This does make me skeptical about the company's graph being accurate. I would guess that the intensity of wavelengths between 480 and 490nm might only be 30 or 40% of the intensity of the rest of the blue, conflicting with the company's graph that only shows only a shallow 20% dip in that area.

When I say the light is "harsher", it almost hurts my eyes after looking at the bulb for two minutes. An experience I do not have with normal LED, but which I do have with fluorescent. Although I'd say it is only maybe 45% as bad as a comparable compact fluorescent bulb (of equal color temperature).
This harshness is not so different from the light peaking in through a window on a completely overcast day with grey skies from the cloud cover.

The marketing hype claims this new technology has "reduced glare" and is "easier on the eyes", but it is not (in my opinion), rather it is actually worse.

However, there is no denying that the light also feels a little "higher definition" than the light from regular LED light, and I would say this effect is almost noticeably so. When reading small black print against a white background, the print appears a little "clearer" to me, with the edges of the print more defined. Whereas under regular LED light, fine print can appear almost just a little bit out of focus, with less clear edges between the black and white areas.

Both of these attributes are what one would expect from including a little bit of a wider range of blue wavelengths.

In terms of color rendering, I did notice the light seemed to do a little bit of a better job rendering both deep royal blues and lighter blue teal colors. It made blue colors appear a little more natural. I would not say it was extremely noticeable, but neither would I say it was hard to see if someone was trying to pay attention to that specific difference and had it pointed out to them. I had a teal-blue color in my shoes that looked noticeably brighter and lively under the TruWave light, but looked dead and less bright under normal LED light (which was 90 CRI, 3000K).
Thank you for the review! I just discovered these bulbs while looking for new bulbs for my new home. Most of the bulbs in my home need to be BR30 or BR40. Either will fit,, but the BR40s will fill up the cans fully. In my research I have narrowed my choices down the the Philips Ultra Definition, Feit Enhance and now the Sylvania Truwave. I plan on using 3000k-3500k for the kitchen, living and dining areas and 2700k for the family room or any other room that will see a lot of dimming for things like TV. I am curious which brand/model some of you would prefer or choose among these, or if there's a different one you would pick instead, at least in the same price range - no more than $10 a bulb, preferably less.

From what I have gathered the Philips are very good bulbs, but hard to find in the USA in a ~3000K temp. I plan to get at least the 2700K ones for my family room, which means about 8-10 bulbs. I have also found the Feit Enhance in 3000K in both BR30 and BR40, and according to Feit these are CRI 90+ with an R9 value of 60 , which isn't bad. Some on Reddit have said Feit sometimes has inconsistent quality and color temps, so I do have that concern. Now the Sylvania ones are brand new to me so I did not get any good info until you wrote this. Some others don't seem to have the harshness issues reported by you. Fortunately I am able to order all three of these bulbs in various color temps to test out.

I am curious to know the opinions here on these.
Thanks!
 
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