Teardown + Review: The "Better" Cree LED Bulb (2016)

Cree radically redesigned its existing "better" LED bulb from last year, ditching the 4Flow design and making it even "better" for 2016 with a more "standard LED bulb" look. We decided to take it apart to see exactly what makes this bulb light up.

Separately, we fully reviewed the bulb this week on our YouTube channel and found it to be a solid performing lamp, as it appears to live up to Cree's specification promises. But as the photos below reveal about the bulb's insides, it's also a fairly modular and repairable design. While we got a bit impatient and started hacking away at the bulb's new diffuser dome to gain some leverage, once that came off we could easily take a part the two main sections of the base. Once apart, we saw how Cree went back to its 2013 practice of using 20 LEDs, this time in two circular patterns. For 2016, the LEDs fire straight upward and uniformly illuminate the diffuser dome above. This particular bulb shines 815 lumens of 2700K, or "soft white" light into its surroundings.

The top portion of the bulb's base is affixed to the screw base (which slides into the top portion) with two small Philips-head screws, which can be removed with a standard eyeglass screwdriver. Removing the "Luminous Flux Beam Controller Device" (a.k.a. that little plastic ring that appears to separate the light from the four middle LEDs from the outer ring) was as easy as squeezing it gently to free it. Once the two pieces of the base were separated, we see that two pins electrically connect the top and bottom pieces, with the bottom containing the electronics package, (flux) capacitors and a energy-to-matter converter. OK, not really. But the set of electronics looks relatively standard for today's LED bulbs. Teardowns are pretty unusual for us, and that's about as far as we'll go with this one. Enjoy the detailed photos below.