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Home / Tips and Tricks / BenQ & # 39; s ScreenBar Plus is a premium lighting upgrade for your computer desk – view Geek

BenQ & # 39; s ScreenBar Plus is a premium lighting upgrade for your computer desk – view Geek



Rating:
8/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Greatly flawed design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably imperfect
  • 6 – Good enough to for sale to buy
  • 7 – Great, but not the best in its class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with some footnotes
  • 9 – Shut up and take my money [19659004] 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price : $ 1

29

  Screenbar Plus
Michael Crider

A few years ago, Jason reviewed the original model of the BenQ ScreenBar, an LED lamp designed to sit on top of a monitor and provides perfect lighting for your desk. He loved it, he gave the lamp a perfect score of 10 out of 10.

Here's what we like

  • Fantastic build quality
  • Excellent lighting
  • Easy to operate cluster

And what we don't do

  • Can use a longer cable
  • Difficult to use with a webcam

BenQ offered me the upgraded model, the ScreenBar Plus. Since my desk doesn't really have room for a conventional lamp, or even one of BenQ's excellent yet unconventional lamps, I said yes. And while I'm not as fond of it as Jason was, it still gets a solid recommendation for anyone who wants a great lamp for their computer desktop. Provided they don't mind the high price.

This Little Light Bar of Mine

The basic structure of the ScreenBar Plus is the same as the original: a large horizontal bar that is just above the top of a standard computer monitor. The array of LEDs is positioned to illuminate your desk without shining in your eyes or on the screen. You'll have to play around with it a bit – the cylindrical bar has a little adjustable yield – but once it's in the right place, it's pretty much perfect.

  ScreenBar Plus from above
Michael Crider

The upgrade is in the control cluster. The original and still available ScreenBar has all the controls on the bar itself, so you have to reach out to activate or adjust it. On the Plus, you get a small hockey puck and two buttons, one for automatic dimming and the other for switching between brightness and color temperature control.

  Wired Control Cluster
The Control Puck has an adjustment knob, auto-adjust knob and switch for controlling brightness and temperature. Michael Crider

There's not much to it – after all, it's a lamp. Tap the center knob of the dial to turn the lamp on or off and the auto button to automatically set the brightness and temperature. For manual operation, simply turn the dial: in standard mode, it adjusts the brightness or tap the temperature knob to get warmer or colder.

The beam itself is about 18 centimeters wide and it is surprisingly heavy. It sits on top of a monitor with a small plastic lip, much like a USB webcam, and has a large bean-shaped counterweight to rest it on top without rocking. The last bit is the power cord, which plugs into a standard USB-A port and splits up for the control puck.

Good Looks

Aesthetically, it is understated and pleasing, blending in discreetly whether you're using a shiny Mac or an even shinier gaming monitor. The control cluster looks equally good without being distracting – without knowing what it is, you could mistake it for a volume rocker or a 3D mouse.

  ScreenBar Plus from the side.
Michael Crider

But the light is the best of it. You can beam your work area with clean light or bathe in warm light if you just want some extra lighting. Changing it is much easier than with the standard model, and thanks to the very specific positioning of the LEDs and reflective mirror, it won't dazzle your screen. That's true even if you have secondary monitors – although I can see a bit of light hitting the matte screens, rinsing them out is never enough. Impressive.

This is the highest and lowest brightness I could get from the Screenbar Plus:

  Lowest and highest intensity.
Lowest and highest intensities. Michael Crider

And, the hottest and coolest temperature I could set manually, at maximum brightness:

  Warmest and coolest color options.
Warmest and coolest color options. Michael Crider

Some minor complaints

There are only two problems I have with the ScreenBar Plus design. The first are the relatively short cables. The short cable for the USB power supply is understandable: it is assumed that you connect the lamp directly to your monitor. (Although it may not be – not every monitor has USB ports, after all.)

  Control puck with USB cable.
The wiring options aren't great – it's a bit short. Michael Crider

But the control puck extends only a few feet from the Y point in the cable, making it possible to direct things around your desk. That doubles if you, like me, prefer to keep your cable routing clean. This is a problem that the original model, with its direct operation, did not face.

  ScreenBar with a webcam.
It's difficult to get a webcam on this thing. Michael Crider

I am also not happy with the ScreenBar's accommodation for webcams, or the lack thereof. It's possible to place my webcam on top of the horizontal bar, but it's awkward at best – the round lip means it rocks a bit there. And the extra inches it pushes forward means the lens is pretty close to my face.

On the pricey side

The regular ScreenBar is worth the pretty hefty asking price of $ 100, if you need unobtrusive lighting and not & # 39; There is no room for a regular lamp. Or, of course, if you just want a lamp that looks neat and offers clean light.

  ScreenBar Plus from the side.
Michael Crider

I'd say the ease of adjusting the light with the puck controller is definitely worth the $ 30 upgrade for the ScreenBar Plus, but $ 130 certainly pushes the "fancy" terrain for a desk lamp. There are cheaper alternatives for less than half the price. If you can find them even with a small discount, they would be much more attractive.

I could look past the high price if there was some sort of smart home integration feature that would allow even easier control of the lightbar. Unfortunately, no such luck. So with those caveats that give it a slightly lower-than-perfect score, I'd still say it's a darn good light with some very specific design choices.

Here's what we like

  • Superb build quality
  • Excellent lighting
  • Simple control cluster

And what we don't do

  • Could use a longer cable
  • Difficult to use with a webcam


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