BenQ ScreenBar (Quicker Review)
Recently I got contacted by BenQ with a request to be sent one of their Screenbars for review. At first I was taken back, and I was confused as to why they'd want a music producer to review a light bar for desktop. I couldn't think of any reason why I'd want the light bar, and of any benefits it would have for my music productions, but they told me to try it out, and see what I thought.
Let's just say I'm glad I accepted.
As soon as I had the Screenbar, it was something I never wanted to give up and wished I'd had years before. (BenQ actually suggested if I didn't like it I could do a giveaway. And, I'm not doing a giveaway haha)
Not because it made my music any better – of course it didn't, it's just a light – but because it made those long, night time sessions we often do as producers, so much easier on my already strained eyes.
I find as producers, we often (well, I do for sure) overlook the important things like our eye health, hip mobility, lower back care, and other physical niggles, because they don't make us better at music. And… after all, music is the only thing that matters.
But, having this Screenbar has opened my eyes a bit (maybe it's because of the extra light lol) to the benefits of having something just because it makes something else easier.
It doesn't have to be related directly to music. If it gives me extra comfort, or better visibility, it makes sense.
In this article I'm going to give you an honest, in-depth review of my experience with the BenQ Screenbar, and share whether it's really worth your hard earned music bucks.
What Is The BenQ Screenbar?
BenQ's Screenbar is a USB powered light bar, that sits on top of your desktop screen, to help aid the visibility of what's on your computer, and ease the strain on your eyes. It's especially good at this, in dark situations, and long night sessions, and has surprised me more than a few times.
The bar is made of aluminium material, so it is lightweight and can stay on top of your monitor, without weighing it down.
BenQ's Screenbar is easily adjustable, and sits on top of your monitor using a, weighted plastic mount, that can fit any screen size.
There are a couple controls at the top that can be used for different settings, and a really cool automatic screen detection mode that will almost scan your screen with the light to determine the best brightness setting.
On the BenQ Screenbar you have settings for:
- Auto dimming
There's a light sensor included with the Screenbar as well for automatic detection of light around you. Using this the Screenbar can set the optimal settings for your environment.
In this section we'll cover the features of the Screenbar, and what each is capable of. There are 4 buttons across the top that are touch sensitive. One controls the power, and the rest control individual things that are each helpful for getting the right light settings.
- Light Source: Dual Color LED
- Color Rendering: Index>95
- IlluminanceCenter: Illuminance 930lux (Height 45cm)
- Color Temperature: 2700K ~ 6500K
- Lighting Coverage: (≧ 500 Lux)60cm x 30cm
- Input: 5V, 1A USB PortPower Consumption5W (Max.)
- Power Supply: USB
- Product Color: Black
- Materials: Aluminum alloy ,Polycarbonate
Dimensions & Weight
- Dimensions: (H x W x D cm)45 x 9 x 9.2
- Net Weight (kg): 0.53
- Gross Weight (kg): 0.94
- USB Cable Length: 1.5m
- Monitor Compatibility (thickness): 0.4”- 1.2” (1.01cm – 3.05cm)
The coolest feature of the Screenbar is the auto dimming control.
This is an automatic feature, controlled by a sensor light. So, whatever the light conditions, your BenQ Screenbar will be able to adapt the settings to suit your setup perfectly. There's also a button on the top, you can press to force the Screenbar to do this.
Pressing the rectangle button next to the power button will shine a bright light across your screen to read the room's light value, then it will adjust Screenbar's light to suit the vibe.
You can also manually control this if you don't like the settings Screenbar chooses for you, but it's pretty spot on 99% of the time.
The temperature control on the Screenbar, is next to the brightness. This is a touch control (like the rest of them), and can change the temperature settings from cold to warm.
This changes mood and feel that the ScreenBar gives off, and controls the temperature between these settings: 2700K ~ 6500K.
Temperature can give you beautiful warm, almost fireplace like light, and cold, bright, icy light that will signal to your brain it's work time.
I prefer the warm light, because it makes me feel comfortable and more like I'm in a home environment. However, when I want to work I do change the setting to the colder, more blue light to signify that it's time to focus and be alert.
It may seem trivial, but small things like these really do make a big difference to your mood and how productive you are.
Left of the Temperature control, is a Brightness control. This allows you to change how bright the Screenbar light is. You can get some pretty bright settings using this control, and it will be more than enough for what anyone needs.
There are two important factors that show how bright Screenbar is:
- Illuminance: 930lux (Height 45cm)
- Lighting coverage: 60cm x 30cm
These two values will let you know whether the Screenbar is right for your size of screen, and how bright you need the light to be.
For us it was perfectly fine on a 27″ monitor, and did everything we needed it to.
The BenQ Screenbar connects to your setup through USB power. This is USB C, to USB 3.0.
That means you can either plug it into your computer, or a USB plug to power it. It uses USB3.0 to do this, and the power needed is 5V, 1A, but it would be nice if there was an option for a wall socket.
Sometimes you don't want extra USB power draining from your computer, and it would be great if BenQ included a wall plug, but they don't – you'll have to use one of your own for that.
How Does BenQ Screenbar Help Me?
You're probably like me thinking: “really a light is gonna help… why don't I just switch the lights on?”, and fair enough, it's a normal thing to think when the price of a screen light is $99 – you probably could just use the lights around you.
However, the Screenbar really does help, and I've personally been converted over the last month of using it.
As a pre-warning, it's not completely necessary for your setup, but it really does help your eyes, and massively improves visibility of your screen. It does this so much, I was really blown away the first couple times using it, and I'm so grateful to have it for when I'm late at night sound designing, or writing one of these posts up.
The truth is, your eyes get tired. Even with blue light settings and night shift modes enabled, throughout the day you're gonna get eye strain, especially when working at night on a bright screen.
Screenbar tackles this problem exceptionally well, by lighting up your screen so it's much easier to look at. And, although this might sound like a trivial problem – it's a really nice thing to have when you're working late or early.
It's personally helped me keep my focus for longer periods of time, and given my eyes that little extra longer before they start to strain and get heavy.
Obviously the Screenbar is no fix for making sure you refocus your eyes every 30 mins – 1hr, but in situations where you forget to do that (which is almost all the time), Screenbar gives you a screen that's easy to see in all situations, making eye strain much less likely.
Will it Improve My Music Sessions, Work, Gaming?
Let's cut to the chase: you're a music producer, and most of what you care about is whether it will improve your music sessions.
The answer is it won't have an impact on your music directly, but it will have an impact on how long you can hold your focus.
This is the same for whatever you're doing, work, playing games, watching videos, trading… whoever you are, it's not going to improve your skill, but rather it will help you zone into that area where you're most focused.
It also helps with eye strain, and feels like your eyes have to do a lot less work to read the screen.
This could be a placebo effect, but it's definitely helped me avoid some headaches, and that common tight feeling in the head after a long day of screen work.
BenQ have done an awesome job with the Screenbar, and if you're in the market for a computer light, then we would highly recommend you grab it.
Who is The Screenbar For?
The BenQ Screenbar could really be for anyone, but we'd mostly suggest it for people who spend 8hrs+/day on screens, and either work, early in the morning when it's dark, or late at night.
It's especially useful for anyone who does a lot of work on computers, music production, gaming, or anything that involves focus, and long periods of time spent looking at a screen.
This could include:
- Music Producers
- Office workers
- Computer coders
Would We Still Get it if if Wasn't Free For Review?
Personally if I knew what I knew now, and had $99 spare, I would purchase a Screenbar. If I had no prior experience of using it, I wouldn't know how much of a blessing it is to have it.
Could I live without the Screenbar?
Of course I could. It's not a necessary thing for you to buy, and it isn't going to make you a pro at everything you do – it's just going to be nice to have, and you're probably gonna avoid a lot of headaches and unwanted eye strain.
It does improve visibility a lot, and does help with getting in a focussed mode, but it's really not necessary.
If you want a screen light, and you're willing to put money aside to get one, then by all means get the Screenbar – you definitely won't regret it.
What's The Build Quality Like?
The build quality on Screenbar is absolutely fantastic.
The aluminium metal, makes it feel rugged, and classy, with a nice finish, while keeping it light enough to sit on top of a monitor. It feels like you could drop it a few times, and nothing would break and it would be hard to dent.
The black finish looks fantastic with any modern monitor, and the clamp sits flush with your screen, only jutting out at the back, where you'll most likely never look, or see.
The clamp is built from a sturdy plastic, and has a rubberised grip on the inside.
It's fully readjustable, so you can put it on top of any monitor, and after using it for a month, it hasn't fallen off or moved an inch.
Screenbar is incredibly easy to setup, and you'll have it working in a matter of moments. The only annoying part is that there is no USB plug included, meaning you have to use up your USB slots on your computer. Also it doesn't fit on laptop screens, but if you're using a laptop below your desktop screen, it provides almost the same lighting experience.
It would be cool if BenQ were to make a laptop version.
If you're in the market for a desktop light, then you should 100% get the BenQ Screenbar. It's fantastic for work, gaming, music production and anything else you need that extra 1% focus for. The added light makes things so much easier to see, and you get eye-strain a lot less.
You have the option to change all brightness settings manually, or you can let the light sensor automatically change it throughout the day for you.
It's a truly fantastic piece of kit that you won't realise how good it is, until you actually get one of your own.
I was a bit skeptical at first, but I'm glad I have the Screenbar now, and use it daily for work, music production, gaming and more.
The only drawback is no mains power support, but it's not a huge deal.
For $99, if you have the cash lying around and you want a screen light, get the BenQ Screenbar. If you don't have the money, it's not entirely necessary and isn't going to change your life a whole lot.
It's just a really nice bonus to have in your setup that can help you really concentrate on the task at hand, and get you through long nights sat at a computer without much eye-strain.