Review: The BenQ ScreenBar saves space while brightening up your desk

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2021
Whether you've got a small desk setup or you're just tired of giving up space for a desk lamp, BenQ's ScreenBar is here to save the day with its over-the-monitor light.

BenQ ScreenBar


The BenQ ScreenBar goes on top of your monitor, but nstead of physically clipping to your screen, it features an ingenious weighted hanging design. There's enough weight that it feels secure, yet it can easily be adjusted or removed when needed. The weighted hanger fits most monitors as it can accommodate screens that are anywhere between a quarter to a half-inch thick.

The ScreenBar gets its power from a USB port, so if you've got a monitor that can support this, it will free up the three-pronged outlet a traditional lamp would require. Unfortunately, our monitor doesn't feature a USB port, so we still needed to use a AC-to-USB adapter to provide power to our ScreenBar.

The length of the ScreenBar -- which is just about 18 inches -- is adequate to light up most workspaces without casting too much light where you don't need it. We think that this could easily be at home in a dorm room for students who like to study into the wee hours of the morning but may not want to have lighting so bright that they'd disrupt their room mate's sleep.




The BenQ ScreenBar also includes a Desktop Dial, a small puck-shaped device that gives you the ability to adjust the settings easily. The dial is similar to the hotkey puck that comes with some BenQ monitors. . The small size means it fits into even the smallest workspaces, while the easy to operate knob allows you to turn on the light even in the darkest of rooms.

Features

The BenQ ScreenBar allows for both warm and cool toned lighting.
The BenQ ScreenBar allows for both warm and cool toned lighting.


The best feature of the BenQ screen bar is the ability to adjust the temperature and brightness of the light with the Desktop Dial. At maximum brightness, the lamp is about 1000 lumens bright -- a little more than a 60-watt incandescent bulb. According to BenQ, you're able to adjust the light across 14 different brightness levels -- though we found some of them relatively subtle and hard to notice. There are also eight different color temperatures to choose from, ranging from a crisp blue-white to a warmer yellow.

The Desktop Dial features an ambient light sensor that allows the light to adjust to the lighting of your room automatically. We like a warmer light, so while we appreciated this mode, we didn't use it much.

Where it could be improved

While this is a perfectly serviceable lamp -- and a nice one to boot -- we do have a suggestion for future iterations. We would like to see a lower minimum brightness setting. As it stands, the lowest setting still feels rather bright.

Who is this for?

If you're a person who has reads any physical media at your desk, be it printed reports or books, this is a great lamp. The ability to change the temperature of the light is also much appreciated, especially if you tend to be sensitive to eyestrain brought on by certain color temperatures.

It'd also be a boon to anyone who reads on an e-ink display, especially if you've not upgraded to one with a backlight.

Of course, the ScreenBar is a significant space saver, removing the footprint of a lamp entirely from your desk area. Desk space can be a real commodity for some folks, so getting back even a couple square inches could be a great benefit.

And, as BenQ suggests, by putting the light in front of your screen and angled away from it, you reduce any would-be glare that you'd get from many other lamps.

Overall

The BenQ ScreenBar might not be for everyone, but if you're in the market for a desk lamp that offers a minimal footprint, adjustable brightness, and color temperature, or doesn't cause unwanted glare on your screen, it's a great lamp.

Where to buy: If you want to snag your own BenQ ScreenBar, you can grab one from Amazon for $129.99. If you don't need the Desktop Dial, you can get a ScreenBar for just $99.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Pros
  • Desktop Dial makes selecting color temperature and brightness easy
  • Secure fit without tapes or damaging hooks
  • Does not add glare to screen
    Cons
  • Minimum brightness is still a bit too bright

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    It’s kind of an odd product.  It’s a desk lamp that attaches to the monitor...
    razorpit
  • Reply 2 of 7
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    I'm interested, sounds a little expensive though for a lamp. I don't understand why modern LED lights don't allow you to dim something to the point where they are almost off. Is it because cheap LED's can't set their refresh rate that low?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    Pictures from additional angles would help. How does this iteration of the ScreenBar work with an iMac?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    razorpit said:
    I don't understand why modern LED lights don't allow you to dim something to the point where they are almost off.
    LEDs can have some, but very limited current control. Brightness is mostly determined by turning them ON and OFF at a fast rate. Turn them off for significant portions of time and the eye sees the lights flickering. So, another option is to double the LED count with some designed to operate at low current and low light output, and others at high current and hight light output, doubling all the electronics...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    I agree with the user who said more pictures would help, or even a video. If I am understanding this correctly it is a lamp designed to hang and shine directly in front of the monitor, which frankly sounds like it would drive me nuts. But maybe I am missing something.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,376member
    firelock said:
    I agree with the user who said more pictures would help, or even a video. 
    See that Amazon link? Click it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,333member
    It’s kind of an odd product.  It’s a desk lamp that attaches to the monitor...
    No. It's a task lamp that attaches to the monitor. i don't see anything odd about the, but do see potential ingenuity. I'm looking at my iMac sitting on a short table and a desk lamp with an 8" base taking up a lot of the real estate. That lamp could be just the thing for this application.

    Judging by what looks like some glare on the screen in the first pic there may be some compromise with using it. So maybe it's best when used when there's no critical viewing needed, of the Mac.

    But it's pricey. And I question the manufacturer's rating of 1000 lumens. That seems very bright. Most '60W equivalent' LED bulbs I've seen are rated at 800 lumens. But bright is bright and I'd never have a 60W incandescent of any color temperature as a desk lamp.
    watto_cobra
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