February 03 2010
Whenever I check into a hotel room, I arrange the lighting to make it as soothing and homely as possible. This means killing any form of harsh central light and turning on every reading, bedside and desk lamp. It is where I first developed an abiding hatred of energy-saving bulbs. They started appearing in motels years ago, and are spreading up the food chain, even to five-star joints – and we’re being forced to use them at home. I find them cold, depressing, greenish, flickery, whistling things – which is why I’ve built up a big collection of nice, warm, energy-wasting bulbs for treats, even though I am on quite good terms in most other ways with my friend the Earth.
I was, then, fascinated to try the Pharox LED bulb, new from Holland and costing £30 for a 6-watt-equivalent to a 60-watt proper bulb. The Pharox is claimed to last 50,000 hours – 25 years’ normal use – although, of course, nobody knows since they’ve only recently been invented. But that would be eight times longer than the current nasty low-energy ones.
The biggest thing about the Pharox, however, is that it’s dimmable. And it promises a warmer light than the nasties. It delivers, just about. It still doesn’t have the warmth I want, and has a trace, I fancy, of that green tinge, but it’s in a different class. As it should be for that price.