Still need to update one photo but thought I would go ahead and give my .02 after a week of testing.
Brighter - yes (w/different pattern which seems to be focused more to the front)
Easy install - yes
Good value for the $$ - yes
Would I buy these - no, because I want the LEDs, this is simply personal preference as the LEDs are significantly more money but the **cool** factor is about a 8 on a scale of 10.
The protector thingies... good protection for the investment of a new accessory, it is made to be there just in case you need it so it's hard quickly to quantify the return in investment. They are easy to install if you be patient and follow the directions.