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June 21, 2014

Quick Review: Spectrum RGB LED Lighting Kit

 

When it comes to PC customization, some of us spend hours, days, weeks or even months to choose the components, assemble them and par them in a way that it'll look good; a truly satisfying experience for enthusiasts that not only the PC to perform well but also aesthetically pleasing to look at. 

Lighting up the components is the next step to showcase your hard work and thankfully like most PC assembly nowadays, it is not as daunting of a task with the use of LED strips. The Spectrum RGB LED Lighting Kit we're looking at today retails for RM109.00 (SRP) and is provided by Unequal Technologies; If you happens to be interested in getting the kit to bling up your build, this is the place to go -> https://forum.lowyat.net/topic/3110365



What You Get


Since the Spectrum LED strip comes in a white-rectangular box, we didn't bother to show it and instead jump ahead to emptying the contents. You'll find the LED strip, a sleeved 4-pin molex to DC-in connector, the LED controller/IR-receiver module and a remote control.



Taking a closer look at the remote control, you are spoiled for choice of colours. One could control not only colour switching, but how the LEDs behave as well such as jumping, fading, pulsing or cycle modes. Brightness is also adjustable with the remote and yes you can turn it off as well. It looks as if one could DIY or customise the effects, but the kit doesn't come with an instruction manual to indicate how that process is done, forcing users to spend some time figuring it out on their own. The remote works on other Spectrum LED kit as well which means that you can still easily control the lightings if you decide to install two of these kits in a single chassis.


The remote is powered by a single CR2025 Lithium coin battery which is easily replaceable if it ever runs flat. 


The LED controller/IR-receiver module has some instruction on which ends goes where. Both the IR-receiver and LED connector are located at the end of a flexible cable which would enable users to place it wherever they want it. the unit is white but it's not much bigger than a 9V battery so you could tuck it away from view in the chassis.




Taking a closer look at the star of the show, each LED on the strip consists of several diodes that grants it the ability to shift colours. The strip is approximately 1-meter long and consist of 60 LEDs (yes we counted them) which should be sufficient to light up most mid towers chassis well enough.



The LED strip is held on by the 3M sticky-tape at the back. We find them to be not as secure as we'd hope for but it's not a deal breaker as adding your own adhesives hardly is any challenge at all.

Installation & Testing


We installed the Spectrum LED strip into our two of our showcase builds for the Asus DIY Master LAN Party, one in the Silverstone Fortress 04 (depicted above)



and another in the BitFenix Phenom-M. Have to say that both setup attracted a lot of attention (as intended) thanks to the components lighted up by the Spectrum LEDs.



A good friend of ours, Goldfries.Com is also sporting the Spectrum LED in his BitFenix Phenom-M mod for the LAN party. 


The video above demonstrates the Spectrum LED strip in action.

Conclusion

Unlike the Corsair Link Lighting Node LED kit, the Spectrum LED operates independently from your system as it does not have the option to sync with your components. However with the multiple lighting options available, I doubt that would even matter to most of us. It's ease of installation does make it favourable compared to the traditional cold cathode fluorescent light (CCFL) kits.

If you do decide to purchase the Spectrum LED kit take note that you can't operate the remote too far away from the IR-receiver (approx 30cm) and you do have to point the remote at the direction of the IR-receiver for it to work. I do wish that we have an option to control the LEDs via a hard-wired controller that we could mount in the 5.25" bay, expansion slots or even via software as losing the remote means that you no longer have any control on how the LEDs behave. 

Pros
  • Affordably priced
  • Brightness is adjustable with option to turn off
  • Multiple colour options
  • Multiple LED behaviour setting
  • Easy to install in any chassis

Cons
  • No instruction manual
  • Only one means of controlling the LEDs
  • Remote will only work in close proximity and directed at IR-receiver
  • 3M sticker mount not secure enough
All in all, the Spectrum LED Lighting Kit is a fun and useful in a build. If you want to showcase the inner beauty of your rig, slapping one of these kits is a good way to start. We could have given it a gold badge if it's not for the shortcomings but this earns it a Tech-Critter.Com Silver and Recommended badge.


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