LED License Plate Light Comparison - Drive Accord Honda Forums | radio-pro.ru
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post #1 of 21 Old 06-16-2016, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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LED License Plate Light Comparison

A few people on the forum have asked me in the past to recommend a good replacement for the stock license plate lights. Rather than to try and describe only in words which ones I recommend, I decided to put together a haphazard comparison between some of the bulbs I've tried. That way, anyone interested can see the differences for themselves and get a rough idea of which solution is best for them based on color, output and cost.

This is by no means a professional comparison and I have no intention of passing it off as such. Ideally, you'd want a nice DSLR and a tripod for a quality comparison and write-up. I simply used my Galaxy S6 and free-handed the shots (hence the varying angles and distance between shots). To make matters worse, I had to rush through each step because of the impending sunrise. I did at least use fixed settings on the phone's camera to match the brightness and color temperatures for each shot. I tried my best to tailor the phone's settings to get the most true-to-life color and brightness. Of course, varying monitor settings will probably create a bigger difference than anything.

Rather than replace both sides with the same bulbs for each picture, I decided to keep the left side the same in each shot as a base for comparison. In this case, I used the Acura RLX OEM LED license plate light assembly. I probably should've used the stock incandescent bulb, but I really wanted to see how each of the aftermarket LED's compared to a legit OEM LED light source.

I did include the stock incandescent bulb in one comparison shot, so you'll at least see how that looks compared to an equivalent OEM LED light.


Baseline Photo: RLX LED Assemblies on both sides




The RLX LED's are probably my favorite of all of the LED's that I've tried. For one, they're OEM, which automatically makes them better in my book. Two, they're very subtle in terms of brightness and almost equal to the stock incandescent bulbs in output. Most aftermarket bulbs are either too bright or too dim. Very few actually pull off what I consider to be the perfect output. Finally, their color is unlike anything else I've tested. Every other bulb is either white, white with a hint of blue, or blue. These are hard to describe, as they appear white with a hint of pink/purple. They give off a nice sophisticated look, just as one would expect considering they're from a $60K+ luxury sedan.

Cost: ~$80/pair
Color Temp: Purplish White (not sure what Kelvin Rating to give)
Pros: OEM quality, subtle and sophisticated output, plug and play
Cons: Price, dark spots under each light above the plate






The exLED T10 Flower was a nice surprise. It turned out to be better than I expected and even better than their custom LED upgrade (IMHO). My only real complaint is that the actual color temperature is much higher than advertised. I ordered 5K but these appear to be 6000K, white with a bit of blue.

Cost: ~$18 shipped/pair (minus discounts)
Color Temp: 6000K actual versus 5000K rating
Pros: Nice even output, not too bright
Cons: Not even close to 5K white, more like 6K, pricier than the Philips Interior Vision 6000K bulbs






These have long been the go-to choice of many on this forum for their clean, white output and excellent brightness. I like them, but they suffer from inconsistent quality. I've ordered several pairs and at least half of them have had bulbs with mismatched colors and even differing brightness. Luckily, they're affordable and pack a long warranty. These have since been replaced with a new version with slightly lower output. You can tell them apart by the gray stripe around the lens on the original bulb.

Cost: ~$16 shipped/pair
Color Temp: 5000K actual versus 6000K rating
Pros: Even light spread, pure white color (if that's what you're looking for) and great output
Cons: Hit-or-miss color match in a pair, discontinued (see new version below), color isn't the advertised 6000K.






This is the same trusty Philips Vision LED but in a new package with a slightly lower output than before. As with the original, color and brightness can still be hit or miss within pairs. This particular bulb has a higher color temp than some of the others I've tested, particularly those from the original run (see previous entry).

Cost: ~$12/pair
Color Temp: 5700?K (rated 6000K)
Pros: Price (if you have Prime), even light spread, nice color (5500-ishK) and good level of brightness
Cons: Hit-or-miss color match in a pair,






These are simply the brightest things I've ever put over my license plate. Great if you want to be seen, but otherwise...no. I will give them this: their color is a nice, pure white and they produce a nice, smooth and wide beam.

Cost: ~$22 shipped/pair (before discounts)
Color Temp: 5500K
Pros: Pure white color and nice light spread, Bright!!!
Cons: Bright!!!





Easily the most affordable pair of aftermarket bulbs you can buy that are actually decent. They're not quite the color I want, but their brightness is spot-on. The beam pattern isn't perfect, as there are some streaks and the beam itself is a bit narrow. However, for only $8/pair you can't be too hard on them.

Cost: ~$8 shipped/pair (with forum member discount)
Color Temp: 6000K
Pros: Price, 3-year warranty, brightness ideal for those who prefer subtlety over flash
Cons: Imperfect beam pattern, inconsistent color within pairs, iffy reliability


Stock W5W Incandescent Bulb



I'd forgotten how nasty the stock bulbs looked. Do yourself a favor and get a pair of LED license plate bulbs. Anything you choose will be better than stock. Well...almost anything (see next entry).

Cost: Included with the car
Color Temp: 3200K
Pros: Cheap to replace?...eh, I got nothing
Cons: Nasty brown color makes the whole car look bad at night






This is why I don't trust those cheap "10000 LEDs for $10", Amazon/Ebay garbage LED's. You get what you pay for. If you're getting each bulb for pennies, then you know it's gonna be crap. I don't even trust that these bulbs won't catch fire and destroy my car. Buyer beware.

What's really funny is that this one was actually the "pick of the litter" so to speak. The others were even dimmer. Even better, this was the only bulb I've ever tested that has gotten visibly dimmer the longer it's been lit. True quality at its finest.

Cost: ~$8 shipped for 10 of them (still too much, if you ask me)
Color Temp: 10,000K? Whatever Kelvin rating "Blue as *%" equates to
Pros: None.
Cons: Everything about them.






This was actually my personal favorite bulb until I purchased the RLX LED's. It produces a nice, smooth OEM-esque (at least compared to OEM Bimmer and Lexus LED's) output. They're rated by Philips at 8000K, but they appear to be closer to 6000K to me. Thank goodness, because 8000K would get you busted by the ricer police.

Cost: $20 shipped/pair
Color Temp: 6000K actual versus 8000K rating
Pros: Everything we love about the other Philips LED's but with a higher Kelvin rating, they're similar in color/output to OEM BMW LED tag lights
Cons: Same as the other Philips bulbs, some might be disappointed that they're not actually 8000K






This bulb is a blatant rip-off of the Philips Vision and it would be the better of the two if it weren't for its ambiguous quality and its ginormous size. I ran these for a few months with no issues, but as with all no-name LED's, quality is a crapshoot. Their sheer size prevents them from being used in the coupe, as they barely even fit in the sedan. Forget about using them in the map lights, etc. Their color is about as close to pure white as I've seen and they are very bright (too bright for my tastes). For $8 a pair, they were definitely worth a shot. If the Philips Visions weren't just a few bucks more, these would be my top recommendation (for the sedan, at least).

Cost: $8 shipped/pair
Color Temp: 5000K
Pros: Smooth output, pure white color, cheap
Cons: Huge, uncertain reliability







This bulb was a huge disappointment for the price. The brightness is there, the quality is there, the consistency is there, but it's ruined by optics. Whereas Philips uses a brilliant lens design to smoothly spread light in all directions from a single LED chip, Sylvania chose a different approach. They instead used an LED with a tiny magnifying lens on top of it to focus the beam pattern. This would be fine except that the lens creates a "green/yellow" fringe around the cutoff of the beam that absolutely ruins the bulbs' effectiveness in this application. Who wants yellow streaks running through their license plate?

Cost: $20 shipped/pair
Color Temp: 5500K with yellow fringe
Pros: Sylvania quality, consistent color between bulbs, bright
Cons: Not cheap, yellow fringe around edges of beam ruins what could've been a great bulb.







I tried these because I was curious about 4000K LED's. Unfortunately, they suffer from the same issues as the 6000K version above. Plus, I don't think anyone would really want this color temperature unless they just wanted something a bit less brown than stock.

Cost: $30-36 shipped/pair
Color Temp: 4000K with yellow fringe
Pros: Sylvania quality, consistent color between bulbs, bright (same as the others)
Cons: Pricy, yellow fringe around edges of beam, 4000K color temperature seems pointless for the license plate


Continued Below

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post #2 of 21 Old 06-16-2016, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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I really want to like Osram/Sylvania's bulbs, I really do. But it just seems that they can't quite get the optics right in the way that Philips can. These bulbs have a very crisp, pure white color that is ruined by poor optics. The version of the Zevo I tested has a clear magnifying lens over the LED that creates a focused beam that's extremely smooth. However, that lens also creates a strange, yellow band around the beam that is undesired in this application. It's not as severe as it was on the older version of this bulb (see above entries), but it's still just noticeable on the edges of the beam. This instantly puts it on my not-recommended list, which is a shame because it's otherwise an excellent, well-made product. There does seem to be yet another, newer version of this bulb with an opaque lens design. Maybe that one will finally fix the issue?

Cost: $25/pair plus shipping (from TRS)
Color Temp: 5000K actual versus 6000K rating
Pros: Focused output, pure white color, top-notch quality, consistent color match between bulbs
Cons: Annoying yellow bands around beam that are subtle but still noticeable in this application







Same old Philips Visions, only this time in 4000K. Like the Osram 4000K, I can't see anyone choosing to use these for the license plate. I imagine they might make decent incandescent replacements in the interiors of some cars (not the Accord, however). These actually have to be imported from Europe, so the cost is slightly higher as a result.

Cost: $21 shipped/pair
Color Temp: 4000K
Pros: Good ole Philips optics and output, less brown than stock
Cons: Too brown for this application (might as well stay stock), typical Philips Vision consistency woes, costlier than the trusty 6000K Visions



Morimoto XB 1.0 T10 LED





It's worth noting first and foremost that these have been discontinued and replaced with Version 2.0, which I have not tested as of yet. These 1.0's are interesting in that they use COB LED's on each side of a panel that are actually different color temperatures (I took one picture of each side, above). One side is a nice, 5500K white while the other appears to be 6500-7000K. When used for our license plate lights, you can actually choose what color you want just by flipping the bulb around, which is cool. My biggest issue with them is how hot they get. These things put out some serious heat to the point that they might actually be hotter than the stock incandescent bulbs, especially in the socket area (which worries me). The contacts get just as hot as the LED's, so I actually worry that they might melt the plastic of the license plate light assembly if left on long enough.

Cost: $20/pair plus shipping
Color Temp: 5500K on one side, 6500?K on the other
Pros: Neat dual-color LED setup, very bright, decent price point
Cons: Run hotter than hell, might be too bright for some

The new version remains at the same price point as the original ($20) so I may have to pick up a pair to test at some point.





Conclusion
Despite the length of this write-up, I hardly scratched the surface here. There's a few bulbs that I meant to test but couldn't find when I decided to do this last-minute. Also, I had wanted to test a lot more from exLED, including their custom LED panels in 5K, 6K, and 7K. Unfortunately, I still have not received my order containing those bulbs (but that's a topic for another thread that happens to be right here in this section). I also plan to pick up a few different bulbs from SuperBrightLEDs.com to test in the near future, as they're just about the only brand I haven't tested yet. Luckily, it won't be too difficult to add to this write-up as I saved the camera settings and can pick up right where I left off.

As you probably surmised from this write-up, the RLX LED's are my top pick. However, since most people don't want to drop $80 for license plate lights, I'll leave them out of my list of recommendations.
My Choice: Philips Vision 8000K

These are still my top choice as I personally prefer their color over the other choices here. They are hit-or-miss just like the other Philips bulbs, but if you find a matching pair, they're great. They're not cheap, though, which makes them harder to recommend than the standard 6000K version.

My Top Recommendation: Philips Vision 6000K (Old or New)

Despite their consistency issues, there's really no other bulb that I can recommend as highly to others as this one. Their pure white color, even output, and moderate brightness make them an inoffensive choice that just about anyone would approve of. Their price point and warranty are unbeatable, as well.

Best Value: Diode Dynamics SMD2 Cool White (6000K) LED

These may suffer from inconsistent quality and color (in my personal experience with a few pairs), but for $8 shipped (with free shipping code for being a forum member) with a 3 year warranty you can't lose. Their brightness is similar to OEM, which is great if you want something subtle that won't draw undue attention. They're not too blue, either, which is always a plus.

Honorable Mention: exLED 12P 3528 T10 Flower 5K, SiriusLED White Interior LED

The T10 Flowers turned out to be better than I expected and if it weren't for their price, they'd probably be my top recommendation. I do recommend them over the more expensive custom LED panel should you purchase an exLED interior kit. Just keep in mind that they might end up being bluer than their rating suggests.

The SiriusLED bulbs are bright white and pretty cheap at just $7.95 shipped per pair. I honestly wouldn't fault anyone for at least giving them a try. They missed the 'Best Value' award by simply not having the warranty that the Diode Dynamics bulbs have at the same price point. Otherwise, I actually prefer these.


I hope this little comparison helps someone out there. Please feel free to share your own experiences with different LED bulbs, as well. I know there are many other LED threads out there, but I thought that there should be a thread dedicated to just the license plate lights. If the mods feel otherwise, they can merge this thread with one of the others. I won't mind at all.

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post #3 of 21 Old 06-16-2016, 08:50 PM
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Well done.
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post #4 of 21 Old 06-16-2016, 09:42 PM
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Best comparison test I have seen...thank you!

FYI for anyone looking at superbrightleds.com: their "natural white" is probably about 4000-4500k, which I don't care for. They aren't very bright either and I would guess their advertised lumens are overstated x2 (so if it says 30 lumens, I would say more like 15). I may try their "cool white" counterparts at some point. I will tell you the CANBUS lights won't work in the backseat dome light. For some reason it causes the interior lights to stay on indefinitely when you close the doors. They work just fine in the puddles and license plates, but again, I don't like the color temp. Diode Dynamics is also on the menu and I look forward to trying those out.
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post #5 of 21 Old 06-16-2016, 09:57 PM
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I don't think I've seen someone so obsessed with the license plate light. Non the less, very interesting!

You could try wax paper attached to the inside of the lens. That will help even out and distribute the light on some of the bulbs you tested.

I've been running the Philips Vision 194 LED's for about a year, it's a perfect color match for me compared to stock.

Stock


Philips


Both these photos were taken with the exact same exposure and aperture. I adjusted the RAW photos so the white balance should be about the same (much better than any cell phone).
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what's the best way to change out these lights? I'm so scared of breaking it off by doing it incorrectly.
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Remove bulb from the socket, place the new one in.
Don't be afraid. You can dooooooo it!
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post #8 of 21 Old 06-17-2016, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jephu View Post
Well done.
Thanks, Jeff!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WDMaccord View Post
Best comparison test I have seen...thank you!

FYI for anyone looking at superbrightleds.com: their "natural white" is probably about 4000-4500k, which I don't care for. They aren't very bright either and I would guess their advertised lumens are overstated x2 (so if it says 30 lumens, I would say more like 15). I may try their "cool white" counterparts at some point. I will tell you the CANBUS lights won't work in the backseat dome light. For some reason it causes the interior lights to stay on indefinitely when you close the doors. They work just fine in the puddles and license plates, but again, I don't like the color temp. Diode Dynamics is also on the menu and I look forward to trying those out.
Thank you

I plan to purchase a few superbrightleds.com bulbs to test out soon. Thanks to your experience, I'll avoid the natural white versions and stick to the cool white.

I meant to include the Diode Dynamics HP3's because I know you were considering them, but I couldn't (and still can't) find them. I literally have too many bulbs to keep track of LOL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nayr14 View Post
I don't think I've seen someone so obsessed with the license plate light. Non the less, very interesting!

You could try wax paper attached to the inside of the lens. That will help even out and distribute the light on some of the bulbs you tested.

I've been running the Philips Vision 194 LED's for about a year, it's a perfect color match for me compared to stock.

Stock


Philips


Both these photos were taken with the exact same exposure and aperture. I adjusted the RAW photos so the white balance should be about the same (much better than any cell phone).
Hahaha, thanks Ryan. Yeah, I guess you could say that I'm a bit obsessed. Not with just the license plate lights, but with lighting in general. I really should've been a lighting engineer LOL.

I'll have to try the wax paper trick, though I don't think it'll help the Osram bulbs but you never know...

Your experience and my own is why I still recommend the Philips Visions. They're hard to beat for the money and they'll last forever.

And yeah, the cell phone is not the best choice for something like this but it actually turned out better than I expected. I basically set the White Balance to 5500K and fixed the shutter setting and exposure to keep everything even between photos. The best I could do was "eyeball" the appearance of the lights on the screen and tailor the settings to try and match the actual output. The results are far from perfect, but they still allow you to get a good comparison between the 'control' bulb and the others. I didn't edit the photos at all, though it might not have been a bad idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lalakersfan88 View Post
what's the best way to change out these lights? I'm so scared of breaking it off by doing it incorrectly.
Here's how to change the bulbs on the sedan:



And the coupe:



Thanks to Jephu for the tutorial videos! I actually used the first video as a guide when I changed mine for the first time.

I hope this helps!

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KTuner, Philips Vision LED License Plate and Reverse Lights, Philips X-Treme Ultinon T20 Amber Rear Turn Signals, Sylvania ZEVO 7440R Brake Lights, exLED 3K LED Interior Kit, Sylvania ZEVO Red LED Door Courtesy Lights
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Awesome review TH23! Thanks for spending the time to share your observations.

Based on your review, I got the Philips Interior Vision. I don't want the blue hue nor something overpowering. I wish it was more ambient like the TLX. Not sure why people like to light pollute their plate to everyone behind them. The reliability from the Philips is also nice.

Do you know if the TLX assembly include both sides? Is there anything else that is needed? I like how ambient it looks compared to the others, but it is costly for such a minor mod. By chance, do you know of a bulb that produces the TLX ambience output for the interior?
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post #10 of 21 Old 06-17-2016, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparticle View Post
Awesome review TH23! Thanks for spending the time to share your observations.

Based on your review, I got the Philips Interior Vision. I don't want the blue hue nor something overpowering. I wish it was more ambient like the TLX. Not sure why people like to light pollute their plate to everyone behind them. The reliability from the Philips is also nice.

Do you know if the TLX assembly include both sides? Is there anything else that is needed? I like how ambient it looks compared to the others, but it is costly for such a minor mod. By chance, do you know of a bulb that produces the TLX ambience output for the interior?
The test is against the RLX not TLX. To get the RLX lights you have to buy the full assemblies for both side which is $80. Why they don't just sell the bulbs, I don't know.

Current:
2016 EX-L V6 w/ Navi/Sensing Sedan Black/Ivory
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post #11 of 21 Old 06-17-2016, 10:06 PM
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Well done comparison man. I wouldn't mind the RLX oem but too pricey. $80 each, or for the pair? I like the sylvania zevo for the more white color, but for the same price i could roll the dice on 2 pairs of philips vision and hope 2 bulbs match well enough

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post #12 of 21 Old 06-19-2016, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparticle View Post
Awesome review TH23! Thanks for spending the time to share your observations.

Based on your review, I got the Philips Interior Vision. I don't want the blue hue nor something overpowering. I wish it was more ambient like the TLX. Not sure why people like to light pollute their plate to everyone behind them. The reliability from the Philips is also nice.

Do you know if the TLX assembly include both sides? Is there anything else that is needed? I like how ambient it looks compared to the others, but it is costly for such a minor mod. By chance, do you know of a bulb that produces the TLX ambience output for the interior?
Yeah, I'm not a fan of turning the rear of my car into a rolling billboard, either. And that's exactly what it was with those exLED Power LED's in there haha. Those are insanely bright, as you can tell by the picture. I just want a clean, OEM look which is why I bought the RLX lights.

The RLX assemblies (the link in the first post is where I purchased mine) come as a pair for ~$61 plus shipping, which put them at $73 shipped for me in NC. Shipping to Cali is a bit more, putting them closer to $80. They're a special order part, so they definitely won't have them in stock. It took a little over 2 weeks from the time I placed my order to receive them. Not too bad though.

Unfortunately, my experience with interior lighting is limited. I've pretty much stuck with the exLED custom interior kit for the last two years. You can adjust their brightness to near-stock levels but still enjoy the sophisticated ambience of LED's. Sadly, I can't recommend exLED at the moment since they are having so many issues right now. There's no guarantee when you'll get your order and if it will be correct. Such a shame. They were great a few years ago.

I tried the Philips Visions in the interior and while they work well for the map lights (better color and not too much brighter than stock), they did not look good in the dome light. Since the bulb is turned sideways in the dome light instead of pointing downward, only half of the lens was illuminated (which looks silly and isn't effective). Incandescent bulbs fire in all directions, so they do just fine in the dome light. Any LED bulbs that you purchase for the dome light must fire sideways, as even the "360-degree" bulbs like the Philips and Sylvania can't quite cut it in there.

I do have some superbrightleds 5-SMD T10 bulbs on the way that I plan to try in the interior as well as the license plate. They have side-firing LED's as well as forward-firing LED's, so in theory they should work for both the map lights and the dome light. I'll let you know how they work out and how they compare to the stock bulbs when I get them. You can get the 3 bulbs you need for the map and dome lights for about $20 shipped, which is reasonable (if they work well, which I'll find out next week). I know you can buy LED kits on ebay and Amazon with more bulbs for about the same price, but I don't trust those at all. I'd rather pay a bit more and buy from a reputable company like Diode Dynamics or SuperBrightLED's than from some unknown source in China.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WDMaccord View Post
The test is against the RLX not TLX. To get the RLX lights you have to buy the full assemblies for both side which is $80. Why they don't just sell the bulbs, I don't know.
Yeah, the RLX assemblies come as one piece only. You can buy the lens and gasket separately, but to get the LED's themselves you have to buy the entire assembly which is sold as a pair. I noticed that the RLX gasket had the same part number as the Accord's gasket, which is why I decided to take a chance and see if they'd fit. It was quite a shock when not only did they fit, but the plugs were identical as well. I definitely got lucky there. The base is almost the exact same shape as ours, but instead of a T10 socket there's a circuit board with a small LED chip on it. It's made by Stanley and it's rated at 1.5W, so I'm surprised that it's not as bright as the 1W Philips or Osrams.


Quote:
Originally Posted by htekken View Post
Well done comparison man. I wouldn't mind the RLX oem but too pricey. $80 each, or for the pair? I like the sylvania zevo for the more white color, but for the same price i could roll the dice on 2 pairs of philips vision and hope 2 bulbs match well enough

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Thanks man

The RLX's are just under $80 shipped for the pair. I paid $73 shipped with standard shipping, but I'm on the East Coast (they're in Boston).

I'd say try a pair of the Philips Visions first and see how you like 'em. If you have Amazon Prime (if not, I'm pretty sure you can sign up for a free trial and then cancel it haha), they're only $12 shipped. I doubt you'll mind their color. The New Vision bulb that I tested here just happened to be the bluest Philips Vision 6000K bulb I've ever tested. Most are a whiter color just like the original Vision above it.

2017 Accord EX-L V6 Sedan - White Orchid Pearl/Ivory
KTuner, Philips Vision LED License Plate and Reverse Lights, Philips X-Treme Ultinon T20 Amber Rear Turn Signals, Sylvania ZEVO 7440R Brake Lights, exLED 3K LED Interior Kit, Sylvania ZEVO Red LED Door Courtesy Lights
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post #13 of 21 Old 06-20-2016, 01:15 PM
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I get small parts from Honda Parts Unlimited. Their shipping for small items are more reasonable compared to Bernardi. RLX light assembly shipped to Boston or Los Angeles is $66.87 right now.

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post #14 of 21 Old 06-20-2016, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparticle View Post
I get small parts from Honda Parts Unlimited. Their shipping for small items are more reasonable compared to Bernardi. RLX light assembly shipped to Boston or Los Angeles is $66.87 right now.

Nice! I've bought Honda parts from them before but never noticed that they sold Acura parts as well. They're very good and ship very quickly.

$67 isn't bad at all. I basically overpaid $6 by going with Bernardi haha. I wonder how long they've offered the employee discount pricing? I didn't see that when I placed an order earlier this year...


And I completely forgot to mention that the RLX lights will only fit the sedan models. I seriously hope no one with a coupe has ordered these based on my recommendation...

2017 Accord EX-L V6 Sedan - White Orchid Pearl/Ivory
KTuner, Philips Vision LED License Plate and Reverse Lights, Philips X-Treme Ultinon T20 Amber Rear Turn Signals, Sylvania ZEVO 7440R Brake Lights, exLED 3K LED Interior Kit, Sylvania ZEVO Red LED Door Courtesy Lights
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post #15 of 21 Old 07-11-2016, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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I know it's been a while, but I thought I'd add a few more bulbs to the comparison. The roster of new contenders includes 3 bulbs from SuperBrightLEDs, 2 from VLEDs, the Diode Dynamics HP3 that I meant to test last time, and the latest iteration of the Sylvania Zevo. The latter entrant is interesting because it's pretty much the same bulb that I tested last time, but it now comes with a frosted diffusing lens similar to what Philips uses on their Vision line (the old Zevo used a clear lens that didn't work out so well).

The results of this test were disappointing to say the least, with only 2 of the bulbs being what I would call acceptable. The rest just didn't cut it for me, though I am much more picky than most when it comes to this trifling matter of license plate LED's haha.


Once again, the RLX LED is on the left and the bulbs being tested are on the right. Cam settings remained constant between shots, so you can get a rough idea of how the bulbs' color and brightness compare to one another.






This bulb was a pleasant surprise. Its lens design isn't quite up to par with the Philips bulb's, but it still does a good job of creating a fairly smooth beam pattern. It's also just about perfect in terms of brightness, right in line with the Philips if not a tad brighter. Unfortunately, the HP3 is roughly the same price as the Philips Vision 6000K, so you know which one I would choose between the two. The HP3 is still a good bulb, and easily a better choice than most of the bulbs I've tested.

Cost: $12/pair shipped (with forum free shipping discount)
Color Temp: ~5750K (rated 6000K)
Pros: Surprisingly decent output and spread, low price, 3 year warranty
Cons: Hit or miss color match between bulbs, same price as Philips Vision






I'm sure this bulb would be fine for other applications, but its design doesn't really suit license plate duty. The beam pattern, while not that bad, has lots of color streaks (especially around the edges) that are likely caused by having 6 different LED's firing in 6 different directions. This is quite noticeable on my white car, but those with darker colors may not even see the streaks. Overall, I've found that bulbs with a single LED chip behind a diffusing lens (such as the Philips, SiriusLED, and Zevo 2.0 bulbs in this test) perform best in this application and have smoother light distribution (with the 12-LED exLED T10 Flower being a notable exception).

Cost: ~$14/pair plus shipping
Color Temp: 5500K (rated 6000K)
Pros: Pure white color, bright
Cons: Imperfect beam pattern with some extraneous streaks of light, kinda pricey with shipping






Like the 6 SMD tower, the 5 SMD tower also suffers from a streaky beam pattern that's a lot more noticeable in person than it is in pictures. The streaking is nowhere near as bad as on the Osram bulbs from the last round, but it's bad enough to keep me from recommending these to others.

Cost: ~$12/pair plus shipping
Color Temp: 6000K (rated 6000K)
Pros: Color is cool white as advertised, decent brightness
Cons: Like the 6 SMD, the beam pattern is streaky, costs more than the Philips 6000K Vision or Diode Dynamics HP3







I was hoping that this bulb would provide a subtle, bluish white output similar to some OEM plate lights out there (like VW's, for example). Unfortunately, it fell short in terms of color and beam pattern. The beam pattern has yellow streaks through it and the overall color temperature is closer to neutral white than cool white. It seems that a diffusing lens is necessary to smooth out the beam pattern, especially when the bulb is at an angle as it is in our license plate assemblies. If it weren't for the yellowish areas within the otherwise pure white output, I could actually live with these.

Cost: ~$8/pair plus shipping
Color Temp: 5000K (rated Cool White/6000K)
Pros: Hate to say it, but there are none
Cons: Like the other SBL bulbs, the beam pattern is plagued with streaks and spots, price with shipping is dangerously close to the Philips Vision






The VLEDs 4 LED Long Life bulb is definitely better than the SBL bulbs, but it's also more expensive. Its output is nice and bright, with a pure white color temperature. The beam pattern is definitely smoother than any of the SBL bulbs, but it's still not up to par with any of the Philips Visions.

This is the lower output 'Long Life' version of the VLEDs' forward-firing 4-LED bulb. I'd hate to see the High Output version, as I feel this one is more than bright enough. Sadly, I still can't recommend it because there are better choices out there for the same or less money. It's worth mentioning that this and the other VLEDs bulb were by far the most difficult bulbs to install out of any that I've tested. I literally had to pound the bulb into the socket with my palm, which was a bit unnerving (and painful).

Cost: $18/pair plus shipping
Color Temp: 5250K-ish (rated 6K/6000K)
Pros: Pure white color, bright
Cons: Not as smooth as the Philips or Zevo 2.0, pricey, base barely fit into socket






Yet another bulb that is marred by streaky output and poor value compared to the better alternatives out there. Don't get me wrong, these (along with the SBL bulbs and the other VLEDs bulb I tested) are not horrible products and I don't want anyone to think that's what I'm trying to say in this review. They're simply not well-suited to this particular application on this particular vehicle. For what it's worth, they perform just fine when used as map lights (though they can't be used in the dome light because they only fire forward).

Cost: $16/pair plus shipping
Color Temp: Close to 6000K (rated 6K/6000K)
Pros: Cool white as advertised
Cons: Like the SBL bulbs there are streaks in the beam, somewhat pricey, difficult to install






Finally! Sylvania has learned how to produce a T10 bulb without a streaky beam pattern caused by poor optics. It basically took them copying the Philips lens design to make it happen, but it definitely paid off. I'm calling this one the Zevo 2.0, and it comes in the cool white you see here, as well as in blue, amber, and red. I wish Philips would offer their bulbs in something other than different shades of white...but I digress. The Zevo 2.0 still isn't quite the match for the Vision in terms of output and beam pattern, but it's darn close. And the Sylvania does have one advantage that to me is very important: consistency. While I've had issues in the past getting a matching pair of Visions, every pair of Osram/Sylvania bulbs I've purchased have been a perfect match. That's definitely saying something considering that Osram/Sylvania typically sells their bulbs as a single unit rather than a pair. The Philips Vision T10's always come in a pair, which makes it even more frustrating when you get a pair that doesn't match. If there's any real negative to the Zevo's, it's their price. At $10 per bulb, they're not cheap, but at least you're getting a quality product with a lifetime warranty (like the Philips). Whether or not the extra cost is worth a higher chance of getting a matching set of bulbs, is up to you to decide.

Cost: $20/pair shipped (if you have Amazon Prime)
Color Temp: 5000K (rated 6000K)
Pros: Pure white color, smooth output, lifetime warranty, consistent color match between pairs (based on all Osram bulbs I've tested)
Cons: Not cheap (especially if you don't have Prime), not even close to 6000K


Well, that's about it from me on this subject. I'm still disappointed that I wasn't able to test more products from exLED, but they're pretty much dead to me at this point lol. There is one more Sylvania bulb that I may add eventually if it ever comes back in stock on Amazon. It's basically a cheaper (the same price as the Philips Visions for a pair), slightly less powerful version of the Zevo 2.0 that I just tested. It's rated at .5W versus the .7W of the Zevo and has a similar lens design. I'm really curious to see how the decreased wattage affects the output, as I'm hoping for something a little dimmer and a little closer to 6000K (in other words, more OEM-like). If it turns out to be decent, it may finally dethrone the mighty Philips Vision.

Sadly, one of my RLX LED assemblies was damaged in the process of conducting this latest round of testing. The plastic clip on the lens that locks the assembly into the trunk lid snapped off, so it no longer stays in place I also managed to break a V3 Triton bulb a few days ago, so it hasn't been the best week for me LOL. Hopefully, I can just replace the lens on the RLX assembly and be good to go. If not, then I'll go back to my trusty Philips Vision 8000K's rather than shell out another $70 for a new pair of RLX's. In the mean time, I'll be rocking the Zevo 2.0's.

Once again, I hope this helps someone out there and if you have any questions, just ask! Thanks for reading!


2017 Accord EX-L V6 Sedan - White Orchid Pearl/Ivory
KTuner, Philips Vision LED License Plate and Reverse Lights, Philips X-Treme Ultinon T20 Amber Rear Turn Signals, Sylvania ZEVO 7440R Brake Lights, exLED 3K LED Interior Kit, Sylvania ZEVO Red LED Door Courtesy Lights
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