Not all monitor light bars are created equal [Setups]

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BenQ ScreenBar Monitor Light setup
BenQ's ScreenBar monitor light isn't cheap, but it's a good investment.
Photo: BenQ

You can buy a monitor light bar pretty cheap, even as low as about $20. But will it be a great piece of gear, illuminating your desk from atop your display, with a nice array of features? Probably not. Today’s M3 MacBook Pro and PC setup laid out a little more cash for a keeper — the BenQ Screenbar Monitor Light.

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BenQ Screenbar Monitor Light brightens up M3 Pro MacBook Pro setup

IT product manager and Redditor DarthChrisDK (“Chris”) showcased the beautiful and well-lit setup in a post entitled, “MacBook Pro + PC setup.” He noted he runs two systems: M3 Pro MacBook Pro and a gaming PC (Intel 11, 3080, 32 GB RAM).

He’s also got a lovely Grovemade Desk Shelf and desk mat, a Mode Sonnet mechanical keyboard, a Logitech MX Master 3S mouse, an Oakywood laptop stand and fabulous Ruark Audio MR1 MK2 speakers on stands. And the a BenQ Screenbar Monitor Light, of course.

On Monday we focused on the 32-inch Gigabyte 4K display and its KVM switch that makes using both Mac and PC in the setup easy. On Wednesday we’ll look at the BenQ Screenbar Monitor Light. It’s one of the nice ones.

And it was the first of its kind, released in 2017, according to BenQ, which seems to take its work very seriously indeed.

“Collaborating with professional optical teams and conducting studies with renowned universities, we strive to unlock the mysteries of light and its effects on eye care,” the company said.

What is that volume-control device? Hint: It’s not.

And because somebody asked a question we see all the time in setups posts, we thought we’d include it here.

“What is that volume-control device?” the person asked, referring to an item sitting on the desk that looks like a volume knob attached to a cable. But it’s not that at all, despite appearances.

“It’s to control the screen bar (the light above the monitor),” Chris explained. “I can adjust light intensity and color temperature with it.
My actual volume control dial is behind the iPad. It’s the EPOS GSX 1000 external sound card that I use with my speakers and headset. It has a touch button to switch between the two.”

Someone asked which light bar it is.

“It’s from BenQ (ScreenBar Plus), Chris replied, about his somewhat older model. “I can’t find the exact model on Amazon. It seems they have updated it so the control unit looks slightly different.”

Worth the price?

BenQ ScreenBar Monitor Light
Here’s the light bar in action in the full M3 Pro MacBook Pro and gaming PC setup.
Photo: DarthChrisDK@Reddit.com

“Not the cheapest one,” the commenter noted. “Do you only use it at night?” The ScreenBar goes for about $110, and above-average price for a monitor light yet quite a ways below the price of BenQ’s fancy Halo model.

“There are several versions, and some without the separate control unit (so you control it on the bar itself instead) and other brands. Even Xiaomi and Ikea,” Chris replied. “I mainly use it at night, yes. It’s not much different than having a desk lamp. It just takes way less space and you get it in front of you instead of to the side.”

BenQ ScreenBar Monitor Light features

Here’s how BenQ describes the light bar’s features:

  • Flicker-free and anti-blue light hazard LED light source with CRI>95 for natural colors. Long lifespan LED tested to last for 17 years with 8 hours of daily use.
  • With carefully calculated beams, ScreenBar’s ASYM-Light technology prevents screen reflections and direct glare, ensuring comfortable screen reading.
  • Provides a 500lx brightness across a wide 60cm x 30cm area, effectively balancing ambient light and screen brightness for better eye comfort. Easily powered via USB-A.
  • Patented clamp mounts securely on monitors 1cm to 3cm thick, saving space with a patented counterweight clamp with great stability. Fits ultrawide and curved monitors of 1500R and above. (Note: Special monitor back design may affect compatibility.)
  • Built-in light sensor automatically adjusts brightness based on ambient light. Intuitive touch controls allow manual adjustments of brightness and color temperature from 2700K-6500K.

And if you like the lovely desktop wallpaper displayed on the monitor, Chris identified it as “Thick forest Wallpaper 4K, Sunlight, Scenic, 5K, Sun rays (4kwallpapers.com).”

Shop these items now:

Monitor light bar, display and desk shelf:

Computers and laptop stand:

Input devices:

Audio:

If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches, challenges and plans for new additions.

BenQ ScreenBar Monitor Light
$109.00

This USB-powered LED computer monitor lamp comes with auto-dimming, hue-adjustment features, e-reading, backlighting and more.

Buy now
05/26/2024 02:56 am GMT

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