Where did you get the light bulb that looks like Hannibal Lecter’s mask?

That was a question from my wife. She referred to a review unit of the much-anticipated Philips EnduraLED light bulb for homes. The bulb, which will retail for around $60, promises to put out as much light as 60-watt incandescent bulb while only consuming 12 watts of power. (Editor's note: Philips called. Although $60 was the company estimate earlier this year, the actual price will be closer to $40.)

Philips conservatively estimates that the bulb will last 25,000 hours, which translates into a decade or longer in the average household.

But even more important, it’s not just any bulb. It’s the bulb. The EnduraLED is a derivative of the presumptive winner of the L Prize sponsored by the Department of Energy. The bulb that took teams of scientists oodles of lab hours to develop to help usher us into a new era of lighting.

The bulb with the yellow exterior so that it would emit a nice, comforting light and cavity separators (see photo) to better channel heat away from the electronics.

The bulb upon which the future fate of Philips Lighting, in part, depends.

The bulb that was a bit disappointing.

While the color tone was nice, it didn’t seem like a 60-watt-equivalent bulb. We tried different sockets and fixtures. We tried the dimmer several times. We even selected different individuals to judge it.

In the end, it didn’t seem to work as well as the $20 40-watt equivalent EcoSmart from Lighting Sciences. It was about the same as the Pharox bulb from Lemnis Lighting that came out a year ago. (We didn’t have a foot-candle meter or sophisticated test equipment. Our tests are real-world: people flip on the lights and stare.) Both Lemnis, founded by the great-grandson of the founder of Philips Lighting, and Lighting Sciences have stronger, newer bulbs coming soon.

Lighting Sciences beat out Lemnis in our last test. That makes it the reigning champ for now. But bulbs are coming from General Electric and Osram. All manufacturers are encouraged to show us what they have.

And when you piled on the higher price and the crazy exterior that somehow no one could ignore, it was hard to maintain the excitement. Check out the video. The results were unanticipated.