When BenQ offered to send me their ScreenBar Plus reading lamp, I was like, "Nah, no thanks." Then I thought maybe I could use the lamp to light up my table so that I can film my drawing tutorials with better lighting. And so I got them to send me a review unit.
The Screenbar is a horizontal LED lamp that sits on top of any computer monitor and lights up the area in front.
The lamp itself is quite long, about 45cm, and has a rather small diameter.
When you look closely, you can see the individual LED bulbs that run along the whole lamp.
On the back of the lamp is a micro-USB port for power. It's LED so it doesn't really use much power. You can power it from any USB port.
This is the holder for the lamp. To fix the lamp onto it, you just slide it in. The whole setup is straightforward.
The lamp holder has a nice weight to it so that it can hold down the lamp and not move. It's extendable so that it can clip onto thick monitors.
There are two models for the Screenbar.
One comes without the control dial, and if I'm not wrong the controls for that are build onto the lamp itself.
The other model comes with the control dial which cost an additional US$30. The retail price for the Screenbar alone is US $99 on Amazon US
With the control dial, you can adjust the brightness. colour temperature and toggle the auto-brightness feature. The controls are real simple to use. The rotating dial also doubles as a power button.
The lamp is just right above the screen and does not cover anything. This is my setup on a 27-inch monitor.
Maximum brightness with cool lighting.
Lowest brightness with cool lighting.
Maximum brightness with warm lighting.
Lowest brightness with warm lighting.
The LED lighting is not as bright as I expected. I was actually expecting the brightness of ceiling LED lights. Then I realised that this light is actually for reading so it should not be that bright and glaring until it hurts the eye.
I prefer the cool temperature over the warm which is too warm in my opinion. The good thing about the control dial is you can adjust the brightness and temperature in small increments until your satisfaction.
The brightness is satisfactory for reading purposes. The lamp can light up a large area in front of the screen, maybe about 3-4 keyboards away.
One thing I like about the light is it does not create glare on the monitor screen. The warm and cool light also does not affect the colours of the monitor screen.
So I said earlier that I wanted to use the lamp to film my drawing tutorials. Well, this light is not bright enough to do that. It may look alright in the photo above, but when filming, this sort of lighting is actually considered quite dim, and video will look noisy.
This light is good for those who want some sort of ambient light to read but don't want to switch on the room light.
The build quality of the product is solid. The controls are simple to use.
Personally, I have no use for this particular light because I prefer to use my room light to do all my work.
However, I can definitely see myself using this in my office where the lighting is quite dim. In fact, I've been wanting to buy a lamp for my office for the longest time and cannot find one that is compact and bright. I do not like standing lamps because they take up space on the table. The BenQ Screenbar is great because it sits on top of the monitor and does not require any table space. So while I don't find this useful at home, I consider this to be extremely useful at the office I work at.
Between the Screenbar and Screenbar Plus (the one with control dial), I would choose the one without the control dial because that's one less object that takes up space on the table.
Overall, it's a good product. It does what it's suppose to do.
Check out the BenQ Screenbar and more reviews on Amazon: