I’ve used many desk lamps; metallic, desk clipped, USB-hub enabled, as well as your standard bedside light. I settled on a lovely Bestek one with a built-in USB port and some timers. The fact is it doesn’t spray the light all too far, and whilst the timer options are great, as well as the scenes, I really only use it intermittently to view something on my desk in the evening or illuminate the general area when working at night. The BenQ ScreenBar might just be a more minimalist solution to my problems, with a sleek metallic design that sits snugly atop one of my monitors. Let’s take a look.
- Beautiful design
- Even lighting
- Compact and minimalist
- USB powered
- No timer options
- Rather pricey
Specifications – BenQ ScreenBar
- Light source – Dual colour LED
- Color Rendering Index – > 80
- Illuminance – 800 Lux in the centre (height 45cm)
- Luminous Flux – 320lm
- Colour Temperature – 2700~6500K
- Power Input – 5V USB port
- Power Consumption – 5W (max.)
- Materials – Aluminium alloy, Polycarbonate
- Dimension – 45cm x 9.0cm x 9.2cm
- Net Weight – 0.53kg
Overview & Performance – BenQ ScreenBar
The BenQ ScreenBar is an interesting little product. It fuels my journey towards a minimalist home office, something I seem to constantly be searching for but never quite get there. As I mentioned, I have tried a lot of desk lamps, but they always take up space or deliver a lot of functionality that I simply don’t need. I don’t need 5 different types of lighting thanks; one will do.
Let me start this by contradicting myself slightly by pointing out the fact I like that the BenQ ScreenBar has the ability to toggle colour temperatures, which is something I just derided in my overview of previous lamps. My clarification is that I’m not against more functions for the sake of it, but just make them easy to ignore and don’t take up extra space on the unit. Thankfully, that’s exactly what the BenQ ScreenBar manages.
The sleek aluminium covered barrel fits neatly into the over-monitor carry arm, which itself has a nice finish, and the controls are easily accessible as well as minimal enough to fit my requirements. The controls are touch activated, and not once have I ever missed the tactility of a button press. The touch controls here are great and sensitive enough to be intuitively found. There is a brightness control, hue control which moves through 8 colour temperatures, an auto dimmer function which uses the ambient light to select the best brightness for your environment, as well as an on/off button.
The BenQ ScreenBar itself allows small rotation which suffices to aim it accurately at your screen or straight down across your desk. The monitor clasp is a weighty little thing which should sit nicely across almost any monitor. I’ve tested with a couple of monitors with thin bezels (Dell S2415H is what I’m using in the pictures) and I haven’t had an issue to date.
The unit is powered by USB, but there is no AC adapter included in the box. BenQ assumes that if you’re buying one of these, you have access to a spare USB port somewhere. Using USB also helps to keep cable maintenance in check, which is another nod towards my minimalist mantra.
An annoyance I found during testing is that enabling the auto-brightness mode overrides some of the colour temperature selections. For me, it didn’t provide any real issues, but it might just bug people who require the warm-lighting mode along with the auto-brightness.
Conclusion – BenQ ScreenBar
The BenQ ScreenBar is great for me but it could be improved. A USB extension cord would be handy for those with larger setups to allow proper routing of the USB cable to a suitable outlet. I know these are easily available but BenQ clearly aim this at the professional market and as such, this would be a nice touch. Additionally, the ability to rotate the BenQ ScreenBar a little more than the 10 degrees allowed would give it more utility.
Perhaps for a second generation, it might house a small internal battery to allow undocking the bar, or perhaps an RGB mode to allow for the gamers to get their fill from this unit.
These are little areas for improvement. The truth is that the BenQ ScreenBar delivers exactly what it says on the box. That box, however, is a considerable sum at around £90. It’s not pocket-money here and there are better LED lamps for the professionals available for half of that. Most won’t have the utility in the form factor that the BenQ ScreenBar delivers, but it depends how much you value form and function incarnate.
If you have a spare £90, you won’t be disappointed with this minimalist addition to your home or small office setup.