I’d been hoping to get through a second winter on my existing set of Philips Xtreme headlight bulbs but sadly they had different ideas. One of them decided to expire last month so it was time to buy some replacements.
Philips have updated their Xtreme bulbs and as a result they’re now selling for £32 for a pair. Considering I’ve never had more than 18 months out of a set I thought I’d downgrade to something that might last longer and save some money at the same time.
Sitting below the Xtremes are Philips’ Vision Plus bulbs. They claim to offer up to 60% more light than standard (the Xtremes claim 100%) and are priced at £24. Of course, there are other brands and it just so happens that Osram offer an almost identical bulb called the Silverstar 2.0. Conveniently it’s also significantly cheaper at just £16 for a pair.
I’ve had good experiences with Osram’s Nightbreakers in the past (the rival to Philips’ Xtremes) so I felt confident in picking the Silverstars. I ordered a set from Powerbulbs, who I’ve bought from before, and they arrived the following morning (not unusual, Powerbulbs don’t mess about getting orders into the post).
Once out of the plastic box they were fitted in just 5 minutes. If you’re the sort of person who asks your main dealer to fit replacement bulbs then you should take a look at my guide on fitting headlight bulbs into a Ford Focus. Not every car is as easy as that but give it a try before you let a garage take your money.
Seeing as I’d downgraded from the Philips Extremes I wasn’t expecting too much from the Silverstars but as it turns out they’re rather good. At short range the beam is bright and strong and covers a wider area than the Focus’s standard bulbs and at medium distance they can still pick out plenty of detail at the side of the road. It’s only at the far reaches of the beam that the Silverstars lose out to the likes of the more powerful Xtreme and Nightbreaker bulbs.
If you’re looking for a bright white headlight beam or xenon-style colouring then the Silverstars will disappoint with their yellowish tint, but the excessive blue tint of some bulbs actually makes them worse for night-time vision.
Overall I’m very pleased with the Silverstars. They give a good strong beam for night driving but don’t cost too much. Will they last longer than the Philips Xtremes? Only time will tell but at half the price I’ll be happy if they last just as long.