Have you ever come across a product that you never even knew you needed? Did it end up being one of those gadgets you couldn’t live without? This happened to me recently after I was bombarded with online adverts for something called the BenQ ScreenBar Plus. The more I saw the adverts, the more I started wondering if I needed one of these new style task laps that can fit on a computer screen.
I decided to take a closer look at the BenQ ScreenBar Plus a try. This device is space-saving task light that perches on top of a computer monitor. It consists of a strip of LEDs bulbs recessed well inside a metal tube with an aperture that directs the light downwards. When attached to its special stand, the ScreenBar Plus sits elegantly on top of almost any computer monitor or iMac and can replace a traditional desk lamp.
The BenQ ScreenBar Plus is the fiendishly clever device that you never knew you needed and it’s ideal for a home office setting, coding desk or creative studio where sufficient light levels are required for optimal productivity. BenQ also claims because it helps to make your eyes feel less tired and stressed. Once you’ve tried one, you might wonder how you ever managed without it.
The ScreenBar Plus is an aluminum tube that houses a strip of recessed LEDs and measures around 45cm in length. The tube clips onto a weighted stand that enables the ScreenBar Plus to perch safely on top of almost any computer screen. The lamp is best suited to monitors measuring between 27 and 32 inches The light projects downwards without producing any glare or distracting reflections on the screen, even if it’s used with monitors that have shiny surfaces, like my 27-inch iMac.
The BenQ ScreenBar Plus draws its power from any standard USB 5v/2A port or power supply. There’s a suitable supply in the box and a choice of US, European and UK plug adapters. The power cable is routed to the lamp via a vert smart rotary control that sits on the desk. The control has a knob that is pressed to turn the lamp on and off. It can also be turned to alter the light output from the ScreenBar Plus as well as the desired color temperature.
A second press of a button switches the knob between LED output and color temperature which can change the light output from cold white through to a warmer yellow temperature that mimics a traditional tungsten lamps. The lamp changes temperature by using a mix of cool white and warm yellow LEDs. It’s not an ideal solution as it mixes the color temperatures rather than shifting the entire color spectrum, but it works well enough. In practice, you still get a certain amount of cool white light but that’s a minor issue.
Another button on the control unit puts the ScreenBar Plus into automatic mode when it’s pressed. This setting turns on the auto brightness level of the ScreenBar Plus so that the output matches the ambient light level in the room. When it’s dark, the light is dialled down and when it’s bright it turns things up a notch. The lamp offers an even amount of illumination that can changes when needed and provides enough light to illuminate even a large desk.
Because the BenQ ScreenBar Plus sits on top of a monitor it can free up a lot of desk space for paperwork, coffee mugs, a larger keyboard or even a graphics tablet or whatever else you like to clutter your workspace with.
Verdict: This ingenious space-saving monitor light looks elegant on any computer monitor and provides a directional light source that illuminates a workspace perfectly. The BenQ ScreenBar Plus is rather expensive when compared to traditional LED desk lamps. However, it is well made and the LEDs are rated for 50,000 hours of use. The clever angling of the light source stops distracting screen reflections and the light levels can be adjusted manually or automatically. The ability to alter the color temperature of the lamp’s LEDs manually is another good feature. The only drawback with the design is that it can get in the way if you normally have a webcam on the top of your screen. I solved the problem by balancing my webcam on top of the lamp but it might not work with all webcam designs. This is a great device for anyone who normally uses a task lamp but who needs to free up some desk space and reduce clutter. It’s a well made product and looks great in silver or black finishes.
More info: www.benq.com
- Weight: 0.68kg
- Light source: Dual-color LED
- Color rendering index: 2,700K : Ra > 82 ; 6,500K : Ra > 87
- Lumens: 2,700K: 300lm 6,500K: 320lm
- Illuminance: 1,000 Lux in the center (Height 45cm)
- Color temperature: 2,700K – 6,500K
- Power input: 5V, 1A USB port
- Power consumption (On mode): 5W (Max.)
- Dimensions: 45 x 9.0 x 9.2cm (H x W x D)