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[Review] A Practical Addition to Your Setup: The BenQ ScreenBar e-Reading Lamp

BenQ ScreenBar e-Reading Lamp


Apart from the BenQ Zowie XL2546K monitor that we had the pleasure of reviewing a short while back, BenQ has also sent us another nifty device - the BenQ ScreenBar e-Reading Lamp.

It boasts a selection of features that make it superior to traditional reading lamps that you place on your desk, and helps you take care of your eyes as well. Read on to find out!


Intelligently designed for eye care

I don't know about you, but I strongly favour working in super dark and cosy environments. Unfortunately, this isn't always the best situation to maintain eye health.

Late nights at the office look like this

When there is an excess of light, your pupils will contract, and conversely, your pupils will expand to let more light in when it's too dark. Working long hours in inadequate lighting will cause strain and fatigue on your eye muscles, which have to expand and contract to adapt to the surrounding environment.

That's where the BenQ ScreenBar comes in. It boasts 14 levels of adjustable brightness and 8 temperature levels, ranging from 2700K to 6500K. Furthermore, it intelligently detects the surrounding lighting and adjusts illumination accordingly - 500 lux in normal conditions, and 300 lux in dimly-lit environments, to prevent discomfort from overpowering light contrasts.


Easy-breezy setup process

Opening up the box, you'll find just 3 parts, all of which are clearly labeled. You'll get the ScreenBar itself, the mounting counterweight, as well as a USB-A to USB-C ribbon cable, which powers the ScreenBar.

All you have to do is slide the ScreenBar into the mounting counterweight's clamp, then clip it onto your monitor. The USB cable can then be plugged directly into your monitor if it has a USB port - mine doesn't happen to have one, so I plugged it into my keyboard's USB bypass instead.

Once that's done, just tap on the power button on the touchscreen and it instantly works!


Sleek controls, with some room for improvement

There are 4 control buttons on the top of the ScreenBar itself. From left to right, you'll find the brightness, temperature, auto-brightness, and power buttons respectively.

The brightness and temperature buttons can be either tapped or held to cycle through the entire range. However, instead of going to one end of the spectrum and starting again, it inexplicably reverses once it hits the maximum or minimum setting instead. It does take a while to get used to, especially if you're extremely particular and want a very specific brightness or temperature. While touch controls are nice and sleek, I do wonder if a physical dial that goes both ways would aid with precision instead.

Cold vs warm light

The auto-brightness button is pretty self-explanatory - simply tap it once, and it will quickly adjust according to your room's brightness. However, this strangely isn't a toggle, so you can't just tap it again to revert to your previous manual settings - you'll have to tap on either the brightness or temperature buttons to exit auto mode.

Though the buttons aren't particular intuitive, once you understand how they work, you can get to your desired settings pretty quickly.


So, does it really help?

Well, it's very difficult to say as I'm not a scientist or an expert in eye care, but from my brief dalliance with the ScreenBar, my eyes certainly felt much less tired after staring at the screen for hours.

Not to mention, it helps illuminate my desk and allows me to do some reading / writing if needed. I really like the way it just pools a small area of light onto my desk and doesn't spill over much into the surrounding environment, further enhancing the cosy vibe that I love. It also lives up to BenQ's claim of zero screen glare - I can vouch that it absolutely does not reflect off the surface of my monitor at all, which is excellent.

The physical design of the lamp itself is also pretty well thought-out and space-saving. Instead of plonking an IKEA lamp on your desk, this one doesn't eat up any extra desk real estate by perching on your monitor instead. The fact that it is USB-powered is also extremely convenient, unless your setup has a marked lack of USB ports.

While the ScreenBar doesn't work on laptops, it should work with most monitors, providing that the screen itself isn't too thick. While I haven't tried it on a curved monitor, it should also sit relatively well as long as the curvature isn't too steep.

BenQ has also stated that they do have a laptop-compatible variant - which I assume has a much lighter counterweight so as to not tip your entire machine over - but it is not available in Malaysia yet.


Buy or no buy?

Overall, I think the BenQ ScreenBar is an excellent product. It's an incredibly space-saving solution with intelligent technology to ensure that your workspace is always adequately lit, and the design of the product itself is so sleek and unintrusive that it you'll barely notice its presence after a while.

The only possible drawback would be the price - at RM599, it may seem pretty steep for an accessory, but if you have the cash to spare, it certainly is well worth it.

You may purchase the BenQ ScreenBar on BenQ's official Lazada store here. Each ScreenBar comes with a 2-year warranty.


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