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H11 bulb shootout: GE Megalight +130, Osram Nightbreaker Laser VS. Standard H11 and H9

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  • #16
    I don't know the specifics of the Xtreme Vision's construction, but it seems like Philips focused solely on making the filament as compact as possible rather than resort to a creative application of laser-etched blue tint (as with the NB Lasers).
    The capsule is noticeably smaller than ordinary H11 bulbs' capsules and even the Silverstar Ultra H11's capsule. Smaller glass capsules are a design motif found across Philips' high-performance bulbs. It likely allows the filament to run a bit hotter by sequestering the heat a bit better than a larger capsule.

    While I can't say I've done testing as detailed as evo77, I can say that I've tested a few H11 bulbs with the same Stanley projector he used. I tested at the US standard test voltage of 12.80 volts instead of a more realistic voltage of 13.something volts.

    I also tested with the Philips XtremeVision H11 bulb, which was missing from his test, and the Sylvania Silverstar Ultra H11 bulb. I hate the fact that no one who has any idea what they're doing has touched on the Silverstar bulbs. Yes, I know that they're terrible, but I also want to see just how terrible they are.

    I've broken the data up in several charts instead of throwing it all in one chart to make it easier to digest.

    The "Philips H11 (aged)" refers to the bulb that my Stanley halogen projectors came with. These projectors came out a used headlamp and were sold on eBay. The included bulb was a stock Philips H11 long-life bulb that was obviously pretty well-used, with a fuzzy filament (indicating a lot of redeposition) and slightly browned glass capsule (tungsten filament stuck to the glass). In other words: this bulb has seen better days. This is also the type and condition of bulb that most people are running when they complain "my halogens suck." All the other bulbs used in the comparison are brand new. Yes, I know I'm supposed to run the bulbs for 1% of their design life to "season" them to taste according to 108, but I'm not doing this for the government.

    The new, Sylvania Basic bulb destroys the aged Philips H11 bulb at 1.5D, 2R. Yep, it's true, tossing out an old, long-life/stock bulb for a plain ol' new bulb can make a nice difference.

    Okay, so far, so good...what about the other bulbs I tested?

    The Philips XtremeVision at a mere 12.8 volts wipes the floor with the Silverstar Ultra.

    The Sylvania Silverstar Ultra fails to differentiate itself from the significantly cheaper Sylvania Basic.

    Okay, okay, make the pain stop! I know that we can overclock CPUs so that a cheaper CPU can beat a more expensive, non-overclocked CPU. Can we "overclock" the Silverstar Ultra so that it truly shines? Well, I tried running the Silverstar at 13.5 volts instead of 12.8 volts, and compared a 13.5 V Silverstar to a 12.8 Philips XtremeVision.

    The Silverstar with 20% more raw lumens (thanks to running at 13.5 volts instead of 12.8 volts) still can't quite outperform the Philips XtremeVision.
    Last edited by projector-head; February 21st, 2020, 11:49 PM.


    • #17
      The Philips XV are great bulbs but do not last long at all, I loved the output in H7 but I got maybe a couple months out of one bulb and another couple weeks past that out of the other. At that price they just were not worth it. I migrated to a 65W H7 that was a rebased H9 and never looked back (and got OEM HID later on).
      2000 Celica GTS 'slowest gts evar'
      1998 Mazda 626 FS-DE/CD4E 'mom-mobile'


      • #18
        I agree, they don't last very long. At least they're usually 1/2 to 2/3rds the price of the equivalent Silverstar bulb, which last just as long (or as short). I remember when I used to travel a lot, my first destination after renting a car would be the nearest Walmart for a set of Silverstar bulbs so I could "see better" while driving at night.


        • #19
          I'd just stick with H9 instead of any alternate version of H11.

          2001 Black Firebird Formula 5.7L V8 --- 75th Anniversary Package
          Headlights: Sinolyn 3" D2H Projectors with 35 watt HID

          2013 Blue Mustang GT 5.0 V8 Premium
          Headlights: Stock D3S Bi-Xenon


          • #20
            I got some Nightbreaker Lasers in today. I wanted to get my hands on some Nightbreaker Unlimited H11's since those look damn near identical to the Sylvania Silverstar H11's. Which isn't that surprising, as they're made by the same company (Osram-Sylvania). I wanted to really know what the difference between the Nightbreakers and Silverstars were--both are marketed as the top-of-the-line bulbs, except in different regions: Nightbreaker is European, and Silverstars are mainly American.

            My first impressions of the Laser is that it has a significantly lighter tint than the Silverstar Ultra. And the Laser (right) has a significantly finer filament than the Silverstar (left).

            The Laser and Silverstar are obviously closely related, with the main (physically visible) differences being the finer filament on the Laser and lighter tint.

            The Philips bulb has a much larger metal free zone below the filament than both the Laser and Silverstar.

            The Philips also has a silver bulb cap that has a subtle gradient--it gets gradually more and more opaque.

            Anyway, what I found is that the Laser and XtremeVisions are basically identical in photometric performance. I wouldn't say there is a big difference between the two, at least in a Stanley H11 projector. There is, however, a giant difference between the Laser/XtremeVision and the Silverstar Ultra, and not in favor of the Silverstar Ultra. So yes, while the Silverstar Ultra and Nightbreaker might look very similar, there are clear differences. The finer filament on the Nightbreaker versus the big and thick one on the Silverstar is one difference that one can't see from afar, and the difference in tint is also not very obvious on a computer screen.

            I also took some informal color temperature readings with my phone:

            Philips H11, long-life, used: 3200 K
            Sylvania H11 Basic: 3500 K
            Philips H11 XtremeVision: 3700 K
            Sylvania H11 Silverstar Ultra: 3900 K
            Osram H11 Nightbreaker Laser: 4100 K

            My eyeballs agree with the rough order of the color temperature rankings.

            The Nightbreaer Laser even created a rather prominent color band along the cutoff. I think the Laser might be the choice pick if aesthetics are a priority.