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LED Bulb Showdown (Diode Dynamics SL1 vs VLEDs Micro Evolution vs XenonDepot XtremeLED Pro vs the revised XenonDepot XtremeLED Pro)

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  • LED Bulb Showdown (Diode Dynamics SL1 vs VLEDs Micro Evolution vs XenonDepot XtremeLED Pro vs the revised XenonDepot XtremeLED Pro)

    The next showdown is here! Instead of aftermarket HID bulbs, we're going to be looking at LED replacement bulbs. All shots were taken at about 15 feet with a Nikon D7200 and a Nikon 16-80mm f/2.8-4 lens with these camera settings: 16mm, 1/100s (and four steps down for each lower exposure), f/2.8, ISO 400. Color balance was set to auto so the color isn't going to be perfectly accurate. The projector is the Koito RX350 halogen variant, common to the Camry, Prius, Highlander, Lexus CT, and much more. It's extremely common so it's a great start for testing, since it applies to so many cars on the road.

    If any brand wants their LED tested feel free to reach out!

    Huge shout out to Lightwerkz for kindly providing this projector for testing.

    Now for the lux data. First figure is cold peak intensity, and second is the intensity after a 15 minute heat soak.

    Diode Dynamics SL1
    1173 lux
    1124 lux

    VLEDs Micro Evolution
    988 lux
    936 lux

    XenonDepot XtremeLED Pro (old)
    869 lux
    845 lux

    XenonDepot XtremeLED (new)
    1252 lux
    1166 lux

    The Diode Dynamics SL1 has the best hotspot, tighter and positioned higher than the others. The stock output has a fairly large and very low hotspot so this is a good attribute. However, the plastic housing is quite cheap and flimsy. If the driver pulls even a little on the wire, it flexes the plastic enough for it to touch the fans sometimes.

    The XenonDepot XtremeLED Pro was recently fitted with improved heatsinks, allowing for much higher sustained brightness. The 38% boost is massive and much appreciated! It brings this bulb to the top of the brightness charts, just barely edging out the SL1. An impressive feat considering it's passively cooled with aluminum heatsinks rather than a fan. While a fan is great, it may be the least reliable part of an LED bulb. The band of light across the cutoff is also thickest, providing better width. If you want to know more about these bulbs, I did a review of the old style, which went in depth about the quality of the heatsinks, connectors, and all. I do think that, in this projector, you could get a bit better performance with a layer or two of aluminum tape on the top tab. This would bring the hotspot up a tad, getting rid of the slight reduction in brightness to the right of the step. This also seems to make the hotspot brighter (by eye, when I pushed the LED body down). I will try this sometime and test with a lux meter!

    The VLEDs Micro Evolution simply don't perform as well as the other two options. The issue isn't of brightness, but of focus. The thickness of the PCB is quite large, so the focus isn't ideal. The hotspot is bigger and more even rather than being focused and sharp. However, the build quality is phenomenal. The fan is also much louder than the SL1, which is both good (for heat) and bad (though you may never hear them anyway). Hopefully we'll see improvements from here, VLEDs is close. And to be clear, they're brighter than the old XenonDepot LEDs, which were an improvement over halogen. So if you buy these, you'll STILL be seeing an improvement. They're good bulbs, just not the best.

    Let me know what you want to see in the future!
    Last edited by Haloruler64; January 11th, 2019, 05:12 PM.

    2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder
    2017 Lexus CT200h F Sport

  • #2

    Do you have the results/shootout with the halogen bulb (and maybe H9 if the standard bulb is H11)?


    • #3
      I've done some testing on that before in almost identical conditions. Not 100% comaprable but damn close. Same distance, same room, almost identical ambient light.

      2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder
      2017 Lexus CT200h F Sport