SMAUTOP LED Dome and Reverse Lights

Post date: Apr 19, 2018 9:03:09 PM

When automotive LEDs first came out in the early 2000s, they were very expensive and very lame. Worst of all, they were not bright - basically invisible during the day, they had dull colors, and weren't available in white. Times have changed, and tech has improved. A LOT. Like, REALLY a lot.

Watch the installation & review video, or scroll down for the whole story.

I was recently contacted by SMAUTOP and asked whether I could try out their products. I said sure, I can try the LED dome light panel and the back-up bulbs in my car. I already have some LED dome lights, but the festoon style my car uses just aren't very bright, which is especially important in the cargo area of the SUV. So these LED panels should be a big improvement.

These lights are a plug & play replacement for the original bulbs in your car. No need for special relays, rewiring, or anything like that. It really is no more difficult than replacing a bulb, and since LEDs basically never burn out, you will probably never have to change them again. And since LEDs use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, if someone leaves a door or the trunk open by mistake, this will lower the chances of coming back to a dead battery. Each dome panel comes with 3 adapters so it can be used with old-school bayonet sockets, cylindrical festoon types, and small wedge base bulbs like the 192/168 size bulbs that are about the size and shape of a peanut.

I've only had these a few weeks so far, but I have no complaints. The dome light barely gets warm (not even as hot as the original incandescent bulb) so there's no danger of melting the dome light lens. The back-up lights are so much brighter than stock, it's easier to back up at night. The color of the light is a cold, clear white with only a hint of blue. These make my 4300k HID headlights look downright blue by comparison. And the AMOUNT of light, especially from the dome light panels - WOW. It actually hurts your eyes to look directly at them - not unlike looking at the sun. And no, I'm not exaggerating. The dome panels are painfully bright, and turn the interior of the car into daylight, even in my closed garage with all other lights turned off. This would make an awesome light for the trunk/boot of a sedan.

Reverse lights: Stock incandescent (left) vs. SMAUTOP LED (right). No, that's NOT the turn signal on the left!

Cheap aftermarket 4-LED festoon dome light (left) vs. SMAUTOP 48-LED Panel (right). Note how much more light there is on the side, ceiling and door, and how the camera had to dim the seats in the foreground to make up for the extreme brightness of the 48-LED panel. Sorry, my camera isn't fancy enough to let me lock the exposure.

Maybe the best part is how cheap they are. $7.99 gets you a set of 4 of the 921 size LEDs for the back-up lights (or center brake light or whatever else in your car uses a 921 style bulb) or two of the LED dome light panels, and both can be had with Prime shipping on Amazon - no waiting for the slow boat from China! And the really funny part is that a 2-pack of incandescent bulbs in 921 size will cost around $5 at your local parts store. So yeah - LEDs are officially cheaper than standard incandescent bulbs - at least in the automotive world.

Now my only question will be - how long will they last? Well, they don't feel cheaply made - the solder joints on each board look and feel very solid and substantial, so I don't expect them to vibrate apart over time. They don't get overly hot after running a while, so that should help life as well. They don't appear to be waterproof, but that shouldn't be an issue for most use cases since interior lights shouldn't get wet, and most exterior light housings are sealed to keep water out.

Bottom line - would I recommend these? Absolutely! Pure white and super bright light output, lower power draw, longer life, and cheaper than conventional bulbs... Why WOULDN'T you buy LEDs?