The perfect LED light for your notebook?
You may remember that we reviewed BenQ’s ScreenBar a few months back. After we completed the review, I asked BenQ if I could keep it because I’d fallen in love.
So, when BenQ offered to let us take a peek at their new ScreenBar Lite LED lamp, designed for notebooks and laptops, we jumped at the chance.
The concept is simple: they took the original ScreenBar, adjusted the size, brightness, and form factor, and added a clip. Voila! A bright, adjustable, auto-dimming LED lamp that illuminates the whole keyboard.
- Pros: Compatible with most laptops, ultra-simple install, auto-adjustable, bright, hue controls
- Cons: Obstructs built-in web cams
- Price: $99
Slim, but powerful
The original ScreenBar is built with a counterweight and perches on top of your monitor. It’s awesome, but unfortunately it’s completely incompatible with notebook screens.
BenQ’s challenge was to create the perfect LED lamp for a laptop: powerful enough to illuminate your workspace, small and light enough to clip onto your screen. And they succeeded.
The clip system works perfectly, fitting any laptop screen up to one inch thick. To adjust and avoid screen glare, you simply tilt the bar.
Controls are familiar but refined
Coming from the original ScreenBar, the Lite feels very familiar. You can easily control the brightness and light colour quality with four buttons.
There’s also the uber-useful automatic setting, which tests the ambient light situation and adjusts it to perfectly fit the setting and time of day. I love this feature.
There’s more: the heart-shaped button lets you save the current setting and recall it later. Again, really handy stuff.
Additionally, you can install BenQ’s free app, SmartLite, for more auto-adjustments and features.
Light quality is excellent
With adjustable brightness and colour, this lamp will please even the pickiest LED enthusiasts.
It doesn’t seem quite as bright as the original ScreenBar, but it illuminates the whole keyboard and beyond. Hues range from a warm, relaxing 2700k to an ultra cool 6500k. It’s flicker-free and I find the light effortless to work by.
At its brightest the ScreenBar Lite uses just 5W of power, and it runs off a USB connection.
Concerns and design quirks
This is a brilliantly-designed little LED lamp, like its predecessor. It has few flaws. We particularly appreciated its small form factor, effortless setup, single cord, and low-waste packaging.
Here’s one quirk we quickly noticed: the clip obscures most built-in notebook web cams. That’s fine; most people video conference during the day. Still, it’s worth mentioning.
I also find that the ScreenBar Lite feels more obtrusive. Laptop screens are smaller and therefore the perched horizontal bar is initially more noticeable. Again, this is a minor concern, and I quickly forgot it was there.
The ScreenBar Lite fit every laptop we tried it on, and it was effortless to install. It uses very little power, the controls are intuitive, and the settings are highly customizable.
We can see clear upside for professionals and travelers: imagine how handy this portable LED computer lamp would be, say, on a darkened airplane.