It’s obvious that the consumer lighting division over at Dutch electronics behemoth Philips has been having a grand old time with innovative LED technology ever since energy-wasting incandescents became subject to a federally mandated heave-ho. Over the past couple of years, Philips has rendered LED incandescent replacement bulbs — bulbs once feared because of their clunky, alien forms and avoided by most consumers because of their high price tags — smarter, skinnier, and, slowly but surely, less expensive.

Philips latest move?

They’ve gone and made LED bulbs clear.

In an unabashed grab at vulnerable and grieving consumers who are struggling with the incandescent phase-out, Philips has designed a 40-watt incandescent replacement bulb that harkens back not to the soothing, frosted contours of most contemporary incandescent bulbs, but way back … to old-school filament bulbs with exposed hardware. Just as some folks prefer their coffee black, some folks prefer that their incandescent bulbs be clear (mainly for decorative reasons). The dimmable Philips Clear LED, with its familiar and reassuring A60 shape and lifespan of 25,000 hours, is for them.

Retro-styled LED innovation isn’t anything new. Panasonic did it back starting back in 2011 with its award-winning Nostalgic Clear bulbs. Released last year, the fantastic Cree LED sports a non-alien appearance — and agreeable price tag and performance — that even the most hardcore Edison adherents can get behind. Equipped with innovative, first-of-its-kind lens technology and boasting “traditional shape and quality light,” the Philips Clear Bulb is described as being ideal for “reluctant to let it go” types — a bulb that “finally lets people hold onto the light they love, with all the benefits of the modern LED.”

Says René van Schooten of Philips in a press release:

With our L-prize LED bulb we showed that we could match the quality of incandescent light. With our Clear LED bulb we’ve combined the aesthetic beauty and shape of the traditional incandescent with the benefits of LED. Using our innovations in LED the bulb is highly energy efficient, saving up to EUR 10 per bulb per year compared to traditional bulbs.
On the topic of EUR, the omnidirectional Philips Clear LED will first be released in Europe this July with a price tag of 9 euros (about $13); it’s unclear if/when it will see a North American release.

The Philips Clear LED appears to be a beautifully designed throwback bulb that, true to its LED nature, is 85 percent more efficient than its incandescent counterpart. And as a 40-watt equivalent bulb (it pulls 6 watts) with an output of 470 lumens, it’s by no means a powerhouse of an LED bulb. Revolving more around aesthetics than color quality, it's more of a pretty little "sparkling" thing that gently sooths the pain of those still tearing their hair out over the incandescent phase-out.

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