Review: TaoTronics TT-DL13 LED Desk Lamp

2 months ago Jack 0

Just received this lamp today and I’m glad I bought it. It’s packed with solid features for such a cheap lamp, but does have some hidden quirks that you should know about. On to the review!

TaoTronics advertises these features on Amazon:

Energy Efficient LED Desk Lamp that will reduce energy spending by 75%

Desk Lamp that is pleasant on the eyes with flicker-free lighting for reading, working, and studying

Lamp that is dimmable with 7 levels of brightness,Specs: 410 Lumen, Color temp: 2700-6000K, CRI: 90, Lifespan: 50, 000 hrs,Input: AC 100 – 240V

Modern design to naturally fit anywhere including office or bedroom.

Package contains: TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp (Model: TT-DL13), Power Adapter, User Manual, Cleaning Cloth

Reduce energy spending by 75% compared to what? Well, probably to a single incandescent bulb lamp. If you used your bulb lamp with an LED bulb, the energy savings probably vanishes. That said, the flicker free, dimmable, variable color LED lighting in this lamp are pretty pleasant features. More on that later. Let’s get on to the lamp.

The box this lamp arrives in lets you know that TaoTronics is committed to delivering the lamp safely. I wonder if they thought a handle on the box was necessary, or they got a bargain on boxes with handles.

Foam cushions line most of the box to keep the lamp from damage during transport. The base of the lamp and the main arm are both contained in plastic bags; partly to keep the lamp from being scratched, but the arm bag keeps the arm from accidentally swinging open as well. The tip of the lamp arm has a bubble-wrap cover to prevent it from knocking around and generating scratches.

Inside, you’ve got the standard issue Chinese product microfiber cloth. I wonder if they include these things with food too. Maybe there’s a surplus in China and they have nowhere to put them. Joking aside, the lamp does have a few smooth shiny surfaces that could benefit from a wipe now and then. You also get a user manual and the power cable.

On my unit, some scratches on the base hinge made it through production. On the white plastic, I notice them easily. At a distance when in use, the scratches don’t bother me.

There she is, the lamp; on and running. The even glow and softness of the light surprised me. My expectations were much less pleasant than reality in this case. Good job TaoTronics (or whoever made this).  I’ll talk more on the lighting later. First, lets check out that beefy arm.

The base swivel turns a total of about 90 degrees, or 45 degrees to the left and to the right. The hinge you see above has range of motion of about 135 degrees. You likely will never bend the hinge to its horizontal position; it would push the center of gravity off of the base and cause it to tip. The backward tilt though allows for some freedom in your lighting needs.

The elbow of the lamp can swing roughly 145 degrees; from a position keeping the two segments parallel to a backward bend. The specifications say $135 degrees, but mine seems to bend just slightly past that.

Right next to the elbow is the swivel mechanism for the LED arm itself. That arm can turn almost 90 degrees to either side; less than the specification 180 degrees of total motion. This feature is very convenient because it lets you keep the LEDs out of your line of sight. Those LEDs can be blinding when you’re trying to work.

The full range of motion allows you to do things like this! You can send that LED bar almost straight vertically and use it for other types of lighting. Maybe you want to bounce it off of a wall for some accent light, or use it to light yourself in some YouTube videos about how cute your cats are. It’s totally up to you.

Caution: There is a notable amount of flex at the joints when adjusting the lamp into position. So far, it holds it’s position well, but this will not have the feel of solid steel construction. It’s plastic and aluminum. These joints are probably not going to suffer much abuse before they break. You’ll want to take care not to bang the lamp around.

One more thing to show off is the port selection. Yes, you don’t normally hear anything about port selection on a lamp, but the world is new. Slightly off center in the base, you can see the AC adapter port. That’s a standard jack, nothing special. As a bonus, you get a USB port just above the swivel mechanism on the lower segment of the arm for charging your devices. Now, the box and manual don’t list any specifications on that USB port. Don’t expect any QuickCharge capabilities here. It’s most likely equivalent to a low-amp phone charger.

Here are a few approximate measurements for you to take note of:

The base is 7″ in diameter.
The first and second arm segments are roughly 13 inches, but that doesn’t account for the hinges and the hinges and little wing protrusion on the back of the LED segment.
The power cable in its initial crinkly condition is 57″ long.

On to the lighting!

You can see in these pictures the touch panels for lighting control. Notice how the indicators in my picture only light up in groups of two (aside from the first and last one)? That’s how this lamp works. There are 7 brightness settings. The first indicator is the dimmest, the last is the brightest, and the groups of two dots each indicate the steps in between.

I tested the lamp with my camera set to a white balance of 5000K.  On my screen, the pictures appear slightly cooler than what my eyes saw. If you are not using a calibrated monitor that gives you exactly what I saw, then trying to gauge exact colors will be impossible. I do not intend these pictures to be an exact representation of the lighting, just to show you an approximate range of lighting temperatures. You can see that the lamp goes from a very bright white to an almost orange temperature. You can cycle through all 5 temperatures by touching the little symbol above the brightness controls. It looks like a coffee cup and book in a continuous cycle of transformation.

The lamp does remember the last color temperature you selected, but NOT the brightness. Every time you turn on the lamp, it defaults to the medium setting for brightness. you’ll have to adjust that back the way you want it each time.

Conclusions

I’m actually really impressed. For $23.99 + tax (and shipping if your order is too small or you don’t have Prime), I think it’s a solid purchase that I can easily recommend.  However, in practice, it’s still going to be right at eye level when you’re at a desk and that can be irritating for some people.  I would likely use this in conjunction with overhead lighting as a tool erase some shadows and give me better text readability. If you’re interested in buying one of these lamps, please use my link below. Your purchase will, in a small but greatly appreciated way, help me fund more content for this website.

If you search Amazon, you’ll probably find hundreds of these cheap Chinese-made LED lamps. Usually, you can tell by the housing whether the lamps are re-branded models sold under several names. Even with TaoTronics models, you’ll find them under another name easily. It doesn’t seem like there is enough price variance to justify spending a dollar or two more or less on an unknown; but this is CheapStuffReviews! Anything to save a buck right!