Blackbody announced their new Smart OLED lamp family back in September 2011, and they kindly sent us a V-LUX OLED desk lamp for a review. The V-LUX is an OLED desk lamp with two long rectangular OLED panels, designed by Bertrand's ID Medas. The V-LUX comes in 4 colors - gray, red, black and white - they sent me the black one.
Each OLED panel is 100 cm2 in size, has a color rendering index of 80 and a color temperature of 3200K. The V-LUX consumes 2.8 W and its size is 35 (H) x 25 (W) x 46 (L) cm. The price is €572.
What's in the box
Blackbody's packaging is very nice - you can feel this is a high quality product. You get the base unit complete with power cord, on/off switch and an A/C adapter and the two OLED panels. You have to assemble the lamp yourself - which basically takes under one minute, it's no problem (more on this later though). Blackbody also included some photos and illustrations - explaining about OLED technology, the design of the lamp, etc. Nice touch.
Like I said, assembling the lamp is a piece of cake - but as it happened one of the OLED panels was defective (an issue with the screw holes, of all the things). I'm not sure if this was damaged during the shipment. It turned out that I got a pre-production unit - in fact it was the very first lamp sent outside Blackbody and it was made for an exhibition originally. Since then they improved the design a bit and they quickly sent me replacement OLED panels which fit perfectly.
V-LUX OLED lamp design
When people look at the V-LUX, the first thing they usually say is "cool", and the people I asked seemed to like the lamp's design. In fact my daughter (3 years old) said it's the most beautiful lamp in the world (she can be quite the drama queen). My wife said that the OLEDs are cool (although she's used to them by now) - but she doesn't like how the lamp looks from above, and she thinks the design is too industrial and unfinished - she doesn't like the electricity cord. She said it looks a bit like a prototype and not a real product.
What do I think? First of all it's a rather impressive lamp - the OLEDs are large and very thin. The design is very "basic", very "airy". I don't like the visible cord either. One thing to notice is that it's a rather large desk lamp - it's 46 cm in length and can take up a lot of space (although the base is smaller at 25 x 21 cm). The light itself is very soft and nice but it's not very bright and it's directed downwards - which means it will light the desk beneath it, but it won't light up an entire room. Another small issue with the lamp is that the A/C adapter makes a very soft buzzing sound. I'm quite sensitive to those kind of things. I'm pretty sure most people won't notice, as I only noticed it in very quiet moment...
Blackbody's OLED panel
We already posted reviews of three OLED panels - from Lumiotec, OSRAM and Philips, so it was good to take a look at Blackbody's own OLED panel. The one used in the V-LUX is a very long rectangular shaped panel that emits quite bright light - although it seems to be less bright then Lumiotec's panel.
Together with Lumiotec's Vanity and Hanger lamps, the V-LUX (and the other lamps in the Smart OLED family) is the first sub-$1,000 OLED lamp. It is still prohibitively expensive of course for a desk lamp, but you do get a very cool looking lamp that uses the next-gen lighting technology. Oh, and Blackbody's OLED panels are rather large - and this lamp requires a large desk...
A bit about Blackbody - the company is a developer and manufacturer of OLED Lighting panels - the company covers all the aspects from design study to mass production, and they do not offer individual OLED panels, only OLED lamps. Blackbody is the commercial brand of Astron FIAMM for the general lighting industry. We interviewed their CTO in May 2010.
Disclosure - up until a couple of weeks, Blackbody was an OLED-Info sponsor, and they sent us this review unit.