Philips IMAGEO LightStrip Color vs. Revoltec Backlight Set SMD-15

I’m a big sucker for light. Ever since Lupin started soldering his first lamps and introduced me to the world of nixie tubes I was hooked.

Admittedly I didn’t really care about lighting in my room until recently, though. With LED lamp prices on the low I didn’t have any excuse to not try a few of the things I always wanted to do anymore and ordered a few items off Amazon. My personal experience with a few pros and cons will be the content of today’s post.

The goal: Having a nice, adjustable illumination for both my display’s back (aka ambilight for cheap people like moi) as well as a bit of dynamic light for my figurine shelf.

The items I ordered off Amazon:

  • Philips IMAGEO LightStrip Color, currently selling for about 30 EUR
  • Revoltec Backlight Set SMD-15, currently selling for about 33 EUR

Philips IMAGEO LightStrip Color

I like Philips products – at least in general. I’m in love with the LivingColors LED lamp (unfortunately a bit overpriced for what it does…) and wouldn’t want to miss it anymore. The LightStrip Color is – per se – a good product. It’s made out of sturdy, elegant material with a nice brushed metal finish. What stands out is the use of real RGB LEDs over 3 single coloured ones set to a group, so the colors are consistent on every position of the strip. The cable system seems smart to me, you can remove the end of each LightStrip to connect either another one or a cable. The colors look crisp and there’s no problem with the brightness.

However – and this is a big fat “F” like in “what did they think when they fscking made this?” – there are a few caveats. The LightStrip comes with an AC adapter – but the cable is ridiculously short. To make matters worse, the control unit for power and color are set about 15cm after the AC adapter itself. A setup like that makes it hard to use i.e. power-plugs in hard-to-reach positions. Another big fat “booh” goes to the missing color mixer – it’s either the fixed set of colors, the rainbow mode that cycles through all shades of beautiful colors or “off”. Same goes for the non-available dimming.

Revoltec Backlight Set SMD-15

The Revoltec set sets out strong by giving you a remote control and two strips right out of the box. It lets you mix freely, you can set colors for either all strips or cycle through them, there’s a rainbow mode, dimming, profiles and a sleep timer. The cable lenghts are great and allow for complex setups.

Although the strip is rather plastic-ey it works very well. Connecting multiple strips works over a USB hub (included), so a star-structure is imperative. All these great features packed into 32 EUR? How does that work? Well, instead of using RGB LEDs like Philips, Revoltec uses a setup of red, green and blue LEDs and mixes them through PWM. The colors do look great but of course – depending on the position on the strip – the results vary. This isn’t much of a buzzkill, though.

The verdict

Despite the somewhat cheaper LEDs I would definitely recommend the Revoltec set. It’s extendable up to 6 strips and controlling them is easy and fun. You can’t go wrong with 32 EUR and you get quite a lot of value for your money. I’d say this set is ideal for backlighting your displays – if you want to showcase figurines in good light the 3-LED mixing gets in the way.

The Philips product suffers from several inconsistencies, missing features and incompatibility between their own product series but stands strong with the great quality and components.

Which one you choose for you is probably a matter of taste and/or application. If you want to have a clear illumination, there’s no way around RGB LED-based solutions. For display backlights this doesn’t really matter.

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