My areas of interest include computers, audio recording technology and studio setups, and any kind of hardware in between.
The BenQ ScreenBar Is a Fantastic, Minimalist LED Desk Light for Computers
If you work at a computer all day, you know that a comfortable workspace is essential to productivity.
I can't concentrate unless my desk surface is organized, clear, and clutter-free. Unfortunately, there are a few crucial items that take up real estate on my work surface. There's just no escaping it.
My biggest frustration? My light source. I find the need for extra illumination multiple times per day, but I absolutely hate sacrificing the desk real estate for a big, bulky lamp.
Desk lights are usually at least a little bit awkward. They get in the way, they muddle your eyeline, and they can shine onto the screen and make it difficult to see. Worst of all they consume a large footprint on the desk itself.
Enter the BenQ ScreenBar, an absolutely revolutionary design. I am completely in love with it.
BenQ does away with the need for a lamp stand entirely. No footprint, no visual or physical clutter, no mess.
It is the perfect LED desk lamp for computer use that I've ever used, unique in its utility. If you have a small desk or struggle with clutter, this is a game-changer.
Unboxing and First Impressions
The packaging is what you'd expect from a premium product. The components are elegantly displayed as soon as you open the box. Diagrams above each part explain exactly what you're looking at.
Assembly took me all of 30 seconds. You just fit the ScreenBar into its clip and plug in the USB cable in the back. There is a downloadable manual if you need it, but everything was intuitive and satisfying.
The counterbalance has a reassuring weight and a deluxe finish that makes it feel very high-end. Everything is fit together extremely well, and the bar itself has a subdued, matte black finish
Visually, the lamp takes up very little "space" on the monitor. After a few moments, I forgot it was there.
Brilliant Counterbalance System Keeps Your Workspace Clean and Clear
The BenQ ScreenBar is a simple and elegant idea, and I'm surprised that more companies haven't pursued this concept.
By using a simple counterbalance, this awesome LED desk lamp perches on top of almost any flat screen monitor.
It doesn't require any screws or hardware or fiddly adjustments. You simply place the lightbar inside the counterbalanced holder clip and position it on top of your monitor. The counterweight adjusts automatically.
I suppose a monitor with an extremely thin bezel might have issues, but as long as you have at least three millimetres to work with you should be fine.
It doesn't jiggle or move around whatsoever. There are no cluttery power cables either, since it plugs in via a standard micro USB cable that extends from the back. If your monitor has USB inputs in the back, all the better.
Does It Work With Curved Monitors?
This was my primary concern since I have a Samsung brand curved monitor (which I absolutely love.)
Good news! It's not an issue at all. The ScreenBar fits perfectly and doesn't glare on the screen at all. I'd venture that this product should work perfectly with the majority of curved monitors.
One Size Fits Aall
The Screenbar is adjustable and fits monitors of widths between 1cm to 3cm (or 0.4 to 1.2" in width.) The vast majority of flat screen monitors is within that range.
Will It Work With a CRT Monitor?
No. This is designed for modern flat screen monitors, and thus it won't work with old-school displays.
Will It Work With a Laptop?
It may work for larger, thicker laptops, but if you have an ultrabook or tablet-style computer, I wouldn't recommend this.
As I mentioned, BenQ suggests a minimum monitor width of 0.4 inches. A MacBook Air, for example, would definitely be too thin to support it.
Controls and User Interface
The ScreenBar is one of my favourite LED desk lamps due to its clever and simple interface.
You have four buttons in total. Each one is a compelling, capacitive touch switch requiring just a light tap to activate.
The power button is self-explanatory. Next to it is the Auto-Dimming button. The ScreenBar comes with a light sensor, and a single press of the Auto-Dimmer will adjust the brightness and light colour to suit the room's current brightness. This is very handy.
The other two buttons allow you to customize the brightness and light colour, ranging from very cool daylight blue to a warm, candle-like light.
The buttons are easy enough to reach, and you'll memorize the locations of different functions pretty quickly. I generally just leave the Auto-Dim feature on, so the only button I really need to remember is the on/off switch.
Also worth noting: it remembers your previous setting. That's an underrated feature!
The controls are very intuitive, and they take just seconds to figure out. My only complaint is that the buttons can occasionally be tricky to activate if you've got dry fingers, sometimes taking one or two extra taps to function. Not a big deal at all.
Obviously, all the technical brilliance in the world means nothing if the light quality is lousy, right? Fortunately, BenQ has put equal thought into that area too.
This is a higher-quality LED lightbar, and as such you won't experience any noticeable flicker or glare of the kind you find with cheaper, budget-priced computer desk lamps.
I am most impressed by the spread. This little lamp somehow illuminates my entire desk surface. Even though it's clearly a computer light designed for small desks, it'll work with colossal workspaces too.
My desk is pretty big, and as you can see in the photo (taken in pitch black), it does an amazing job.
Glare isn't an issue either. The ScreenBar is designed to face down and outward and doesn't blast light onto your monitor, even a curved display like mine.
Anecdotally, I do find it's noticeably easier on my eyes too. If I'm reading at my desk I like to adjust it to the yellow end of the spectrum for a relaxing experience; it's great.
Is the BenQ ScreenBar the Best Space-Saving LED Desk Light Around?
For workflow and clutter reduction, the ScreenBar is hard to beat. It perfectly illuminates anything in front of your computer monitor. It can be adjusted and fine-tuned to your ideal light quality, and it does all this while saving space on your desk.
So what are the shortcomings?
- If you need to move your light source around, or focus on specific spots on your desk, you'd probably be better with a more comprehensively adjustable LED computer light like BenQ's eReading.
- The ScreenBar does cover a lot of surface area, but you can't really direct it to a particular spot, it just brightens the space in front of your screen.
- At $99, the ScreenBar isn't the cheapest option around. Yes, there are more budget-friendly auto-dimming office lamps out there. But it's important to understand that this is a premium product. The packaging, finish, user-interface and light quality are all superb.
- Besides, this is an LED lamp; with an expected lifespan of decades and a very low power draw (and no replacement bulbs ever), it's incredibly inexpensive over the long run.
I absolutely recommend the ScreenBar to anyone with a flat screen monitor, it's a fantastic LED task lamp and now a fixture in my office.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 Will Henry