Antec iLuminate LED Light Tubes review

Every modder today will already have some sort of case lighting I think. If it isn't a Cold Cathode then maybe a LED Fan or some LEDs. But Antec thought why only our case? So they designed the Antec iLuminate LED Light Tubes line. These are LED light tubes to light up your desktop or room. Today we take a look at the Blue Light Tube.

The package Back of the package

The Blue Light Tube came in this nice retail package. Here's a look at its features :
* LED Light Tubes with adhesive pads - mount anywhere
* External USB Connector - easily powered from your Mac or PC
* Sound Activator with sound sensitivity control - manually adjustable
* 2 Operating modes: steady ON & sound activated
* Tube Measurements: 30.1 cm (L) x 1.4 cm (W) x 1.4 cm (H) / 11.8" (L) x 0.5" (W) x 0.5" (H)
* Cable Length: 150 cm / 59" from sound activator to the USB connector
* 60 cm / 23" from sound activator to the tube

In the box I found the LED light tube together with the sound activator, a short installation guide and three adhesive pads.

The LED light tube

In this picture, you can see the LED light tube and the sound activator. The LED light tube is 30cm long and has 2 bright blue LEDs on both sides. The tube is made out of clear plastic, the LEDs are housed in the two metallic-looking plastic ends. The sound activator is made out of clear light blue plastic. The cable length from the tube to the sound activator is 60cm (23") and the cable length from the sound activator to the USB connector is 150cm (59"). This should be long enough for everyone I think.

The LED light tube

Another look at the Light Tube

The sound activator Back of the sound activator the controls

This is the sound activator, it has a clear light blue plastic housing so you can easely see the PCB board and all the other stuff on it trough the plastic of the sound activator. On the right side of it you have the choice to turn the tube off, sound activated or always on. To the right you also have a sound sensitivity controller.

USB connector

The tube is designed for external use, so it's a bit logical that it gets his power trough an USB connector. But it's also possible to use it inside your case ofcourse

The adhesive pads the Light tube

Included with the Light Tube were three adhesive pads, the little red ones are for the Light Tube, the big green one is for the Sound Activator

Now I plugged the USB connector into a free USB port and turned it on. There's a LED on the Sound Activator. When you turn it on 'Sound Activated' it turns green, when you turn it to 'Always on' it turns red. Now I decided to mount the Light tube on top of my screen. I've started playing some music and turned the sound control to maximum. The LEDs went on and out to the beats of the music and it was cool to see.
Another cool usage is during games. If you're a fan of 1st person shooters then you could for example 'fine-tune' the sound activator with the sound sensitivity controller so it only reacts to suddenly intense sounds like gunshots. Very cool effect!

If you want full illumination then you have to turn it to 'Always on'. In the complete dark, it was capable of lighting up some parts of my room, not as much as a Cold Cathode of course because these products only have a pair of LEDs. I estimate it at about 1/4th of the brightness of a Cold Cathode. The only problem I saw with it was that it distracts you a little when you're working on your PC because it's so bright. This depends a little on the place where you place it, especially on top of your monitor it can become annoying sometimes. So I placed the light between my case and my monitor.

the wire

Now you're maybe wondering how the LED on the other side of the USB cable gets his power? Like you can see on this picture there's a wire running over the back of the Light Tube. Just look out so you don't accidentaly cut it off or so..

Blue LED light Shining in the dark Between my case and monitor

Light Tube vs Cold Cathode
In the picture under this piece of text, you can see the blue Light Tube from Antec together with a blue Cold Cathode from Lamps Electronics. The Cold Cathode is a little bit bigger but not much only a centimeter or 2, the thickness is also almost the same. The Cold Cathode is designed for inside use in your case, the Light Tube for outside use. The Cold Cathode is powered through an inverter with a Molex connector, the Light Tube gets its power through a USB connector. Overall I found that the Light Tube protected the LEDs better than the housing of the Cold Cathode. The Cold Cathode is of course a lot brighter than the Light Tube, I think about 4 times as bright. Some people might see this as a bad thing, but I think it's good because something as bright as a Cold Cathode on top of your monitor will drive you nuts :P.

Light Tube vs a Cold Cathode

Overall this is another nice product from Antec. If you're looking for a product to light up the exterior of your PC or monitor then this is the product for you! Especially the very cool sound activator makes this a pleasing product. Price is $15.95 in the Antec Store (for the US and Canada only), for other places check here.

The Good Stuff
- Finally, a product designed for external use
- The Sound Reactivity is very nice, especially during games and while playing music
- Long cables
- Long lifetime (50 000hrs!)

The Bad Stuff
- Requires a free USB port

Blue LEDs shining in the dark

The Blue Light Tube from Antec receives a 8/10 from DV Hardware


Added: April 14th 2003
Product reviewed: Antec iLuminate LED Light Tubes
Reviewer: LSDsmurf
Score: 8/10

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Loading Comments

Comment #1 posted by Anonymous on 2006-08-18 11:43:18
Whel i have some comment for you all. get NEON ligth. this is only a tube powerd by 2 leds giving low light an not mutch effect in the dark. i buyed a set of 2 green NEON ligths giving me etreem high ligth. powerd on the main power dis. in PC itsel giving me te advatig of not pulling to much Mini-amp
negatief on these ligths is you can buy only 1 color green, UV , red , blue , cristl blue , ect but they won't switch + some adds can make it react on sound. more accurate than this little tube. neons are more nicer to wacth at and creat a nice warm effect. and when you are handy you can place them evrywhere. powerd by 12 volts DC and needed minimum 700 Mini-amp

Comment #2 posted by Anonymous on 2006-04-17 04:00:46
I just ordered it so I cant say if it meet my standards, but I definately have the usb ports free if i need to buy more than one, I have 12 ports to work with. 4 on the back of my pc, 4 on the front, 2 on my keyboard and 2 on the monitor. I have a feeling that I'm gonna need to buy anotherone to get the desired brightness that I'm craving.

Comment #3 posted by Anonymous on 2004-12-24 06:01:04
Sound sensitivity is low, but I got it to place above my keyboard tray so I could find the right keys when typing in the dark (as I am now).

For more sound sensitivty, drill some holes in it? The more sensitive side is the side with the switch and volume - since they have openings into the case. Or set the little box ontop of the speaker...

If you mount the box to your keyboard, you can get it to flicker each time you press a key when typing.

Comment #4 posted by Anonymous on 2004-06-23 02:13:57
cool product, only problem is if I choose always on option,
if I power off the pc, and turn on again, the light is not on,
I must manually push that button to choose color and turn the light on, kind of annoying, also since I use it on an old htpc to get a kind of better power status, this bug doesn't help me at all, or did I use it wrong?

Comment #5 posted by Anonymous on 2004-04-15 18:52:29
I just picked this up for 5 dollars at comp usa, non-bargain rack. It's really my first "mod", although all you do is plug it in and stick it somewhere. The sound sensitivity isn't the best even if placed ontop of the speaker, and it cycles through all the colors when in sound-mode, not just one static color..didn't know that till after I purchased it.

The plus is being able to pick from a variety of static colors without having to stick to just blue or red for the life of it. A plus for those who like to tweak with the mods on their PC or Mac. Thumbs up.

Comment #6 posted by Anonymous on 2003-09-22 03:25:42
it comes in blue, green, or red and a multi color one
I bought the long multi color tube as well as the version that has two small multicolor tubes....they both rock
why buy the single color when this version you can select between blue, green, red, purple, yellow, white, or a continuous flow of all the colors...i think this version may cost $1.00 more
also, sound sensitivy is lacking, but i didnt buy it for that...just think it looks kewl
andits best to be plugged into a usb hub with its own powersupply, the lights are more intense
best deal on the blue one I know of as of today is at dealsonic for 9.95
otherwise its $17 at compusa

Comment #7 posted by Anonymous on 2003-07-21 08:16:00
I'm starting to wonder if mine is defective.
When I set it to Sound Activated... I get nothing unless i tap it pretty hard, even when the sensitivity is set to the max. The always on mode works no problems though.

Comment #8 posted by Anonymous on 2003-05-31 23:14:02
Looks cool under a colored case for that rice rocket look. :0

Comment #9 posted by Anonymous on 2003-05-12 16:20:58
sound sensitivity not sensitive enough even at maximum sensitivity. Music needs to be turned up real loud, or "inverter" needs to be real close to your sub. I have a 600 watt system with an 8" sub and i still need to turn it up.

Comment #10 posted by Anonymous on 2003-04-18 02:41:52
Finnaly a company has done something I've been dying for!

I had wanted to light up my room in such a way other than regular lighting (such as your regular room lights) with sweet colors... and it musn't be really BRIGHT

I've done it myself. I had a regular CCFL tube and put it outside of my case.. althought it was pretty gay tho how I had done it, and the wires for the CCFL were pretty short, so I had ended up putting it on top of my case, soft of lighting up the whole room. It was sweet... anyway

There are NO negative things about this product, as far as I can tell... it deserved a 10/10 !!!!

Comment #11 posted by Anonymous on 2003-04-17 08:44:05
Why does this get a score of 8/10? I didn't see anything in the review that justifies removing two points. In fact, I didn't see any negatives at all. Requiring a USB port is listed on the box as a requirement - that's not a negative (Besides, how else should it be powered? Ten C batteries? A wall plug for the already overloaded power strip? Solar Power? Honestly! USB is excellent. The new computer I installed for my brother comes with 8 USB ports, and my older computer only has 4 USB ports. What kind of ancient computer only comes with 2 USB ports? Can I see this computer in the Smithsonian?).

Comment #12 posted by Anonymous on 2003-04-17 06:35:15
ok, i see your problem... but u should defenately get a usb hub as the other dude says, or just get a Sony G420 (it has a usb hub too) and that solved my problem... untill i get one more usb device :)

Comment #13 posted by Anonymous on 2003-04-16 21:35:09
Its called a usb hub. It will solve all your problems

Comment #14 posted by LSDsmurf on 2003-04-16 18:16:10
Isnt it a bit lame to say that its a con, that it requires a usb port??? Its supposed to be connected to it. How can that be bad. Should it require a COM port in stead or what?

Your right, USB really is the easiest way to connect an external device like this but you still have to have a free USB port to connect it. I didn't had one so that's why I called that a bad point. I only have 2, one for my Internet connection and the other one is used for my webcam/printer/digi cam (I regulary have to switch between those three)

Comment #15 posted by Anonymous on 2003-04-16 17:14:24
Isnt it a bit lame to say that its a con, that it requires a usb port??? Its supposed to be connected to it. How can that be bad. Should it require a COM port in stead or what?