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      01-10-2014, 08:52 PM   #1
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"The Ultimate" LUX H8 V4 Review

Members of e90Post,

You may recognize this from another thread--I'm choosing to re-organize my reviews into separate threads. This will hopefully allow for vendors, potential customers, and satisfied/unsatisfied customers to convene and discuss the product, and ask me questions. My hope is that this will lead to a more productive, less confusing conversation! It also places less demand on me to get all the reviews done at the same time, which is proving to be impossible to accomplish for a myriad of reasons.

If at any point one of you believes you have a better way for me to do things (or that I'm showing bias) I encourage you to bring it up in a post and/or a PM! I'm trying to do this for all of us, so I don't want anyone to feel as though a product is not receiving a fair and impartial review.

I’m going to be starting off with one of the biggest names in the product category—LUX Angel eyes. Marc has graciously loaned me one LUX H8 V4 unit to perform testing.

Build quality of the LUX H8 V4:

I believe this is the gold standard of any aftermarket part. The “bulb” itself is beautifully machined metal, with no perceivable burrs, marks, or other visual imperfections in the metal. The finish is a semi-gloss black (perhaps a powder coat), and it is also of excellent quality.

The 8x LED emitters (4x of one type, 4x of another) are expertly attached to their boards, and all soldering jobs are neat and clean. Each of the LED pairs have their own board, and it appears that ample thermal paste was applied to help take the heat away from the delicate LED emitters to the metal bulb itself.

The 4x wires entering the angel eye are extremely thick, and I have confidence they will never wear out or become brittle. Power wires going in to the well-built LED driver are 18 AWG , which is excellent, and thicker than the OEM wiring to the AE’s. To change the color temperature of the product, one simply flips a series of 4 micro “light bulb-like” switches to change the perceived color temperature from 5000K->12000K. I might have gone with slightly less user-friendly slider-style switches to remove even the most remote possibility that a switch could be jostled while driving. However, I trust that LUX tested his design to ensure that the H8 V4’s cannot become surprise color-changing AE’s!

Light output – pre installation:

Wow. I knew these were going to be bright, but I definitely wasn’t expecting them to be this bright! Part of the reason they’re so bright is that this uses a proper LED driver—part of why the LUX’s cost more than your average PnP unit. This means that the angel eyes are perceived to have the same brightness whether the headlights are on or off! For those who don’t know, the standard (uncoded) behavior is to reduce the voltage to the AE’s when the headlights are on. Most other units will dim with this change. I have coded my vehicle, so I don’t have this problem, but it’s still worth mentioning.

One thing to note is that the LUX’s don’t fade off as cleanly as other units, due to the constant-current LED driver. Once the voltage drops below a certain point, the LED’s pulse before shutting off. This pulsation period lasts for less than a second. On some color settings, the color of the AE's also changes during that fading process. That being said, there are pros and cons to both ways of driving the LEDs, and I can't allow myself to be bothered by only a brief moment of flicker on shut-off. But just so it's clear, I did not have any flickering or pulsing while the angel eyes were operating or turning on.

Special Feature - Constant-Current Driver:
One way to cut costs in a PnP Angel Eye is to use resistors to limit the current to the LEDs in the angel eye. One plus of this is that it allows for smooth dimming when the AE's turn on and off, but it also means that they will dim when the headlights are turned on (unless the vehicle is coded). And even when the vehicle is coded not to dim the AEs when the headlights come on, our lighting modules are working away, quietly pulsing the current to the angel eyes.

LUX's constant-current driver handles pulsated electrical input with aplomb, and it definitely contributes to the brighter output of this unit. PWM in LEDs can easily be seen on cameras, or on fast-rotating objects (like ceiling fans). Here's a freeze frame from a quick video I took that demonstrates the difference between a typical resistor-driven angel eye and LUX's constant-current buck driver. Please take note that this rolling/strobing effect seen in the video is imperceptible to the human eye, but LEDs react fast enough for it to show on camera, and it could be part of the reason most aftermarket units are dimmer:

LEFT SIDE: Typical Aftermarket PnP AE
RIGHT SIDE: LUX constant-current-driven H8 V4's



Special Feature - Color Changing:
I want to devote a little more time (and some more pics!) to the color changing system on these bulbs. It's both a unique feature and in how it works. Essentially, there are 4x blue LEDs, and 4x white LEDs. Depending on how the switches are thrown, different LEDs turn on, off, or dim, and the light is mixed in the reflector/AE tubes. It's a neat exploit of Hella's celis technology. Below I have included a picture of the various color settings. Nitty Gritty: I set my camera up on a tripod, locked the exposure, used a circular polarizer to cut some of the reflections on the headlight housing, and fired away. I shot in RAW, so I locked the white balance to 5,000K in post, applied a medium contrast curve, and stacked up the images in photoshop. The 12,000K looks a little too blue (esp. on the inner ring) but the rest look pretty good on my color-calibrated screen.
--NOTE: THIS DIAGRAM IS NOT PRIMARILY LOOKING AT BRIGHTNESS, BUT AT COLOR!! I would also highly recommend going to flickr and downloading the full-size image.--

LUX H8 V4 - Color Temperatures by RobStone, on Flickr

Light output – in the rings:
The inner ring is BRIGHT. I mean, seriously bright. Easy to see in the daytime, phenomenal on a cloudy day, at dusk, or at night. Given the poor design of the outer ring, I’d say that LUX has done the best he could. It looks great from most angles in dusk/dark/dawn light, and even in bright, direct sun it looks pretty good. I personally don't like the higher color temps (not my style and it doesn't match well with the rest of my lighting setup) but the higher temp colors stand out more in daylight.

NOTE: I had a section here comparing these to an old HPB 20W unit. However, since the HPB's I currently have access to are outdated and have experienced exceptional abuse, I have come to the decision that it would be unfairly damaging to the reputation of HighPerformanceBulbs to compare an old product with almost 2 years of harsh life on it to a cutting-edge brand new one. I was neither compensated nor contacted by any party to make this change.

Let's take a look at both color and light output. Since the LUX H8 V4's have the unique color-changing feature, some of you may find yourselves asking how different color settings may impact the light output of the rings. I have chosen to answer this for you, in true "Ultimate" Fashion.

My car was parked about 45" away from a white garage door, with the headlights then being approximately 50"-54" away from said door (due to curvature of lights). All photos have the same 4 sec shutter speed & f8 aperture setting. I chose the daylight white balance setting and splashed it across all the photos, since there really isn't an ideal white balance setting for this sort of comparison (I had all the lights off and just fired up an individual angel eye).

If you want to compare two settings, I suggest going to flickr, and opening two browser windows. Then compare what you want side by side, and use the color guide from above as another reference.


Stock Halogen by RobStone, on Flickr


LUX H8 V4 - 5000K by RobStone, on Flickr


LUX H8 V4 - 5200K by RobStone, on Flickr


LUX H8 V4 - 5700K by RobStone, on Flickr


LUX H8 V4 - 6300K by RobStone, on Flickr


LUX H8 V4 - 6900K by RobStone, on Flickr


LUX H8 V4 - 7800K by RobStone, on Flickr


LUX H8 V4 - 8800K by RobStone, on Flickr


LUX H8 V4 - 10000K by RobStone, on Flickr


LUX H8 V4 - 12000K by RobStone, on Flickr

When I look at that, I feel confident that is "the Ultimate" coverage of the LUX H8 V4's light output down the tubes. As you can see, some colors mix better than others, but all colors seem to produce about the same amount of light. Great job with that, Marc!

Overall:
These are very solid AEs, and the color-changing feature is something that sets it apart from the rest of the pack. Compared to a 2-generation old product, they performed well.
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Last edited by rollinstone157; 01-14-2014 at 02:43 PM. Reason: Clarification
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      01-11-2014, 06:30 PM   #2
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thats a really great review and thorough! i think it lacks direct sunlight pictures. Throw those in there and its a perfect review of the AEs. Im pretty sure the flashing you see in videos is due to the frame rate of the video picking up the pulsing of the LED. our eyes cant pick up on it.
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      01-11-2014, 06:59 PM   #3
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I don't understand the video. I've never seen my LUX go anywhere nearly as bright and sharp when shot against the wall. And I've never seen my 32W cree's go that dim when shot against the wall.

My LUX and 32W cree's are exactly the same brightness when they are both that close to the wall, LUX being slightly more blue.
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      01-12-2014, 12:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdeerfield View Post
thats a really great review and thorough! i think it lacks direct sunlight pictures. Throw those in there and its a perfect review of the AEs. Im pretty sure the flashing you see in videos is due to the frame rate of the video picking up the pulsing of the LED. our eyes cant pick up on it.
Yeah, I did this review when we had really terrible, gray weather for 10 days straight in Jersey...we haven't had a good sunny day that's matched up with my free time in a while. I do, of course, plan to make that happen.

You're correct about the LED pulsing not being visible to the naked eye--I wanted to use that video to show part of the reason why the LUX's are so expensive (the constant current driver). The cheaper AE's don't try to combat the vehicle's PWM, so it costs less money. There are pros and cons to each approach, this was just a way to show what the difference is to someone who may not be quite so technically inclined! I didn't intend for it to seem misleading, and if it is, I apologize.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wonton1017 View Post
I don't understand the video. I've never seen my LUX go anywhere nearly as bright and sharp when shot against the wall. And I've never seen my 32W cree's go that dim when shot against the wall.

My LUX and 32W cree's are exactly the same brightness when they are both that close to the wall, LUX being slightly more blue.
If you look at the EXIF data on flickr, you'll see that the shots were exposed for 4 seconds each, with an aperture of f8.0 at ISO 100. I chose those settings because it made differences in brightness easier to show in photos. The idea behind leaving the settings publicly available was to allow any user to recreate the situation I had (white wall, approx. 48" distance) with almost the same results.

I'm a little confused, in that video, there was no 32W cree AE being used. I simply used a cheap, older angel eye and a brand-new LUX being used to show the difference between two ways of driving LEDs.

In the photos, there was no shot of a 32W cree, just the halogen and the different color settings on the V4.

I hope I have cleared some stuff up. If not, please ask more questions!
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      01-12-2014, 06:49 PM   #5
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Can you please make some direct sun photos in af noon ?
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      01-12-2014, 08:18 PM   #6
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Stone is amazing with his thorough helpful feedback and reviews- always a pleasure to read his posts!
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      01-13-2014, 05:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rollinstone157 View Post
If you look at the EXIF data on flickr, you'll see that the shots were exposed for 4 seconds each, with an aperture of f8.0 at ISO 100. I chose those settings because it made differences in brightness easier to show in photos. The idea behind leaving the settings publicly available was to allow any user to recreate the situation I had (white wall, approx. 48" distance) with almost the same results.

I'm a little confused, in that video, there was no 32W cree AE being used. I simply used a cheap, older angel eye and a brand-new LUX being used to show the difference between two ways of driving LEDs.

In the photos, there was no shot of a 32W cree, just the halogen and the different color settings on the V4.

I hope I have cleared some stuff up. If not, please ask more questions!
The forum sees "Typical" aftermarket PNP angel eyes as the ebay "cree angel eyes"(20w, 32w and etc.) that costs $60...

Not sure what the old HPB 20w angel eyes are like, but if they were advertised as "10w per side making a total of 20w" then it is pretty obvious that they would be that much weaker.

The 20w cree's that the majority of the forum has is very comparable to the LUX. (I still have LUX in my car right now btw.)
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      01-13-2014, 12:16 PM   #8
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Wow i love this review. Thanks for taking the time to be so detailed with everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wonton1017 View Post
The forum sees "Typical" aftermarket PNP angel eyes as the ebay "cree angel eyes"(20w, 32w and etc.) that costs $60...

Not sure what the old HPB 20w angel eyes are like, but if they were advertised as "10w per side making a total of 20w" then it is pretty obvious that they would be that much weaker.

The 20w cree's that the majority of the forum has is very comparable to the LUX. (I still have LUX in my car right now btw.)
Actually most of the non-branded product out there are very different from the LUX H8 V4 in many reasons. First off they dont compensate for the dimming so they will only operate at 1/3 brightness at times. As well the design of the light doesn't allow for the LED's to be driven hard, so the output is significantly less. I cant compare to any of the products sold by other vendors here however.
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      01-13-2014, 12:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wonton1017 View Post
The forum sees "Typical" aftermarket PNP angel eyes as the ebay "cree angel eyes"(20w, 32w and etc.) that costs $60...

...

The 20w cree's that the majority of the forum has is very comparable to the LUX. (I still have LUX in my car right now btw.)
They were advertised as 20w per side. But, just so everything is clear as day, the video wasn't (directly) showing brightness. Rather, it was showing a standout (and unique) feature of the LUX bulbs. The way the LEDs are powered actually makes quite a difference in terms of efficiency and light output.

If I could have shown the difference with the halogen bulb on the video, I would have. But you can't, the halogen filament doesn't react fast enough, and it's not really a relevant factor for a halogen bulb! In fact, PWM helps to extend the life of a halogen bulb by keeping the filament at a lower temperature while still keeping an almost identical brightness level! The only product I had on hand that could demonstrate the more typical way of driving LEDs in comparison to the LUX was an old, outdated set of HPB bulbs. That video shouldn't influence anyone's decision to purchase one of their products today, in the same way that I wouldn't judge a brand-new Hyundai off of the early 2000's accent.

I probably should come up with an alternative way to demonstrate LUX's driving system for his LEDs, but I have yet to think of a better way that using a video camera, because the PWM flickering is imperceptible to the human eye.
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      01-13-2014, 03:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rollinstone157 View Post

Special Feature - Color Changing:
I want to devote a little more time (and some more pics!) to the color changing system on these bulbs. It's both a unique feature and in how it works. Essentially, there are 4x blue LEDs, and 4x white LEDs.
Thanks for the great review.

I wonder how bright these AE's would be if Lux went with all 8 LED's as white, instead of 4 white and 4 blue. I presume when set at the 5000K temp, the 4 blue LED's are pretty much off.

@ LUX - any reason you guys didn't do that and skip the colour changing feature? Most people keep talking about / caring about the brightness of the bulbs, hence all the posts about who has the highest Watt AE in the Vendors forum... LOL.
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      01-13-2014, 07:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus99 View Post
Thanks for the great review.

I wonder how bright these AE's would be if Lux went with all 8 LED's as white, instead of 4 white and 4 blue. I presume when set at the 5000K temp, the 4 blue LED's are pretty much off.

@ LUX - any reason you guys didn't do that and skip the colour changing feature? Most people keep talking about / caring about the brightness of the bulbs, hence all the posts about who has the highest Watt AE in the Vendors forum... LOL.
Well we wanted to do something different then all the other vendors out there, and as always we seem to be the trend setter. First was our unique led orientation - now copied by everyone. Next was our unique heat sink design - again copied by everyone. So we then introduced color changing abilities - which again was copied.

Running 8 vs 4 LED's would only give you a 12% increase in brightness, and there would be no way to tell that apart, even side by side. The human eye needs larger differences in light in order to see a difference. We wanted a product that unique while still being the brightest on the market.

Many products may claim 20w, 40w, 80w, etc and it could refer to the halogen bulb equivalent, or it could refer to actual wattage draw. If it refers to actual wattage draw then you have Massive concerns about heat and the longevity of the bulb . As Rollingstone showed in the video above, some products flicker during normal operation so even if something was 20W equivalent at normal operation, its significantly less since because they are only on part of the time.

our LUX H8 V4 offers an 85W equivalent rating (total) while still operating at 100% all the time. Each unit only used around 8 watts for the LED's however

I hope this helps clarify
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      01-13-2014, 07:36 PM   #12
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I see, thanks for the explanation.

A regular H8 bulb draws 35 watts though I thought, if I'm not mistaken, so that much power draw by LED AE's would in theory be ok, no?
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      01-13-2014, 08:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus99 View Post
I see, thanks for the explanation.

A regular H8 bulb draws 35 watts though I thought, if I'm not mistaken, so that much power draw by LED AE's would in theory be ok, no?
Yes a stock halogen draws 35 watts, however being in the angel eye its always less then that due to the PWM which essentially drives them much lower.

If an LED bulb used 35 watts it would NOT be ok actually. Halogen bulbs radiate most of their heat as light and are able to operate at higher temperatures then LED's. LED's while more efficient radiate most all their heat out of the bottom of the LED, and that is why they need a large heat sink. The heatsinks do not radiate heat as fast in comparison as a halogen bulb.


As you can see in this picture below, its a spectrum of an average bulb. You can see by the line the % of light made at each wavelength, and as well the visible color spectrum at the bottom. Most of the light is outside the visible spectrum and radiates as heat.



This in comparison is of an average LED and you can see that most all the light is in the visible spectrum



a LED bulb will heat up slower because more power is converted into light then a halogen bulb, but it needs to be kept at lower temperate to operate. Even if we used 8 white LED's they are not even rated to handle 35 watts . If you attempted it i'd give it about a 5 minute run time before dying

Sorry for getting all technical

Last edited by LuxAngelEyes; 01-13-2014 at 08:24 PM.
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      01-13-2014, 08:38 PM   #14
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Ive seen comments about flickering in the V4s.
Has there been any fix?
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      01-14-2014, 02:59 PM   #15
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Any details on what needs to be done for the coding?

thanks
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      01-14-2014, 03:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jake1829 View Post
Any details on what needs to be done for the coding?

thanks
Coding for what? The lights are designed to be at 100% brightness all the time already.
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      01-14-2014, 08:31 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jake1829 View Post
Any details on what needs to be done for the coding?

thanks
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxAngelEyes View Post
Coding for what? The lights are designed to be at 100% brightness all the time already.
Yeah, I'm a little confused too.

Because this product drives the LEDs differently, you don't need to code to achieve full brightness when the low beams are turned on.
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      01-15-2014, 01:28 AM   #18
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Re: the pics against the inside of the garage door, can someone explain why there seems to be a difference in the light pattern between stock halogens and the v4s? The stock bulbs seem to throw a single, even circle, where the Lux bulbs look like two separate circles that are somehow out of alignment? Will that cause a narrower beam that won't be seen at as many different angles as a halogen bulb? Thanks for your thoughts.
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      01-15-2014, 12:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoastsideE90 View Post
Re: the pics against the inside of the garage door, can someone explain why there seems to be a difference in the light pattern between stock halogens and the v4s? The stock bulbs seem to throw a single, even circle, where the Lux bulbs look like two separate circles that are somehow out of alignment? Will that cause a narrower beam that won't be seen at as many different angles as a halogen bulb? Thanks for your thoughts.
The reason for this is because the stock bulb uses a single filament while the LUX H8 V4 used 8 LED's that area ll slightly farther apart. As the light hits the reflector it has a slightly different focal point then the stock filament.

Even by doing a side by side comparison i have never seen a difference in person between stock and the LUX
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      01-15-2014, 03:23 PM   #20
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As a long time owner of the V3 (2+ years), I think most posters on here are over thinking things. Just look at the pics, and read other owner's experiences. I can say without a doubt, the price I paid for the V3 was well worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

The only reasons why I haven't upgraded to V4 are:

1. My hands are too big to do the installation, so I don't feel like doing it again. This is not a knock on Lux, as you will have the same trouble with all upgrades.
2. I don't find the need to adjust color temp to be of importance.
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      01-15-2014, 04:15 PM   #21
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FWIW, LUX says on their site that the V4 is "overall significantly brighter than the LUX H8 V3".

I'd have liked to see pics of V3 vs. V4, and AFAIK, I've not seen any... Wonder why after all this time? Maybe to the human eye, the difference isn't that noticeable? Someone post up a link/pic if they got it.

As far as colour adjustability, it's funny, you're right. On install, I went totally blue, then totally white (5,000k), to see the two extremes, and ended up sticking with 5000K white, so that feature is something that wasn't worth paying for in my case. LOL.

The fact they don't dim on turning on the lights is a great features of theirs vs. other LED's, though not as big of a deal for me, since I actually got used to (was running GP Thunder bulbs for a few years) running my lights off during the day to get the brightest light (vs. leaving them on Auto). AE's are our DRL's in Canada so with the headlight switch on 0, they still are on.

And when HID lights do come on, I find they overpower the rings anyway, so they're not that visible, even though they don't dim in LUX's case vs. other mfr's (whose lights will be barely visible with headlights on). So that is a big plus in LUX's case, but not super important IMO, as the difference I'm trying to say is diminished, considering the overpowering by the HID beams.

I did find installing them to be much easier than other brand LED's which have a round heatsink, as theirs with a flat bottom is easier to line up the tabs, as well as rotate / grab onto, given how tight the space is, so that's a plus with their design too.

Just my 2 cents...
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      01-15-2014, 09:01 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwong77 View Post
As a long time owner of the V3 (2+ years), I think most posters on here are over thinking things. Just look at the pics, and read other owner's experiences. I can say without a doubt, the price I paid for the V3 was well worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

The only reasons why I haven't upgraded to V4 are:

1. My hands are too big to do the installation, so I don't feel like doing it again. This is not a knock on Lux, as you will have the same trouble with all upgrades.
2. I don't find the need to adjust color temp to be of importance.


I guess what leaves me "asking for more" with other reviews is that photos are often given without any base cases to compare to, and the reviewers are the the ones drawing all the conclusions.

My goal was to provide a more "open source" review, if you will. Provide lots of data in a very controlled environment, and leave as much of the concluding up to the reviewer as possible.

But, as an almost 20-year old, I still have much to learn. Maybe I'll redo this entire review at some point in an attempt to make it less confusing/rambly
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