I recently received a set of Ring Automotive Xenon Max headlight bulbs to test. The Xenon Max bulbs are Ring’s top of the range offering and are meant to provide up to 100% brighter light than standard bulbs.
Despite their name, these bulbs (and most others like them) are still halogen bulbs – they have just been designed to give performance more like that provided by modern Xenon HID lamps, which are completely different to halogen lamps and cannot be fitted as a replacement bulb.
High performance halogen bulbs have been around for nearly 10 years now, with all the major manufacturers trying to find ways of getting a brighter, whiter light from halogen bulbs, without using more power or breaking the law. The 100% brighter claim relates to the light provided 75m ahead of the vehicle – light that is very useful on unlit country roads at night.
Ring Automotive Xenon Max H4
As luck would have it, I have plenty of unlit country roads near where I live, so I decided to do a back-to-back test of the Xenon Max bulbs against the standard headlight bulbs I had previously.
My vehicle uses H4 bulbs, a fairly common design that has both dipped beam and main beam filaments in the same bulb. The Xenon Max is a true replacement bulb – it operates at the same power as the standard bulbs (60/55W) and is completely road legal.
The Xenon Max bulbs definitely provide a brighter, whiter light than standard bulbs. Both myself and my passenger (who was operating the video camera) noticed it immediately. Here is a video clip that shows the difference:
I will be keeping the Xenon Max bulbs installed in my vehicle for a while and I’m looking forward to having a longer drive with them to really get a feel for the difference.
I did notice that the shadows at the base of the beam seemed worse than with the standard bulbs, but I think this might be because the contrast between light and dark is greater than with the original bulbs.
Are There Any Disadvantages To High Performance Bulbs?
Good vision at night is priceless, but as with all things, high performance does sometimes have a cost. High performance bulbs have a reputation for not lasting quite as long as standard bulbs. In addition, these bulbs cost a little more than standard bulbs to start with. At the time of writing, you can buy a pair of Xenon Max H4 bulbs for £15-20 – probably about 50% more than standard bulbs.
Simple Motoring Says
So far it is looking good for the Xenon Max bulbs. I like the bright, white light on rural roads and am planning to use them throughout this winter. I’ll let you know how they last.
Update 07/11/2011: I used the Xenon Max bulbs for a whole year until I upgraded to Ring’s new Xenon Ultima bulbs. No problems and no blown bulbs so far.