Functional and space-saving, the e-Reading Lamp is easy on the eyes in more ways than one.
If you’re familiar with PC products and more specifically monitors then there is a good chance you are familiar with BenQ, a company which specializes in creating high-quality products for the PC market. BenQ is a consumer electronics company so it creates more than just monitors, but monitors are the majority of what you’ll find from this company. That said there are a couple of new products that just came out that are monitor accessories, but are more in the lighting category. One of those is the ScreenBar e-Reading Lamp, which we’ve had the pleasure of spending the last couple of weeks with to check out how it works and how well it functions, as well as the benefits it provides in the day to day life for computer use. Its goal is to help make reading on the computer screen a little easier on the eyes while providing you with a bit of extra light when you need it. Let’s take a closer look at the e-Reading Lamp and see how it stacks up.
Since this isn’t a smartphone or a tablet there aren’t going to be too many specs but there are some nonetheless. For starters, the weight. The lamp only weighs 1.17 pounds, and this is likely with the clamp arm attached as the light bar itself feels extremely lightweight, and much lighter than 1.17 pounds. That said the whole thing is still rather unassuming and isn’t too heavy so you shouldn’t have to worry about it putting too much weight on the monitor it’s attached to.
Weight aside, the lamp uses a Bi-color LED for the light source, meaning there are two different colors or hues you can expect when using it. It’s capable of becoming fairly bright as it has a brightness range of 2700k to 6500k lumens, so you can adjust it to be as bright or as dim as you want. This is also the same range for the color temperature. It uses a 5W max power consumption which isn’t much and that’s great as it doesn’t come with it’s own power source. Instead you plug it right into an open USB port on your monitor or on the laptop or desktop PC the monitor may be plugged into.
In The Box
There’s not a whole lot in the box but you do have everything you need to use the lamp for as long as you plan to use it. The packaging is larger than you might think for something as small as the lamp is, and that’s largely due to the length of it, even though it doesn’t look that long once all set up. Inside the box you’ll find the light bar itself, along with the micro USB cable for plugging it in, and the clamp arm which affixes the lamp to the monitor you’re using. For the purposes of this review we have the lamp attached to the BenQ EX3501R, which is a 35-inch UWQHD curved monitor that is HDR10-compliant, which is plenty bright on its own, so the lamp fits well with this product as they both come from BenQ. The lamp will work with any monitor, though, and will compliment them as well as do its intended job regardless of whether or not the monitor is from a different brand.
There are a handful of features that make this a nice addition to anyone who works most of the day in front of a computer screen. While you might think it crazy to have a lamp for the monitor which already puts out a good deal of light, the idea behind the e-Reading Lamp is to not only add extra light to the surface your monitor sits on, but also provide you with the type of light that’s appropriate for the situation. This shows through with the ability to change the color temperature, which is one of the lamp’s features. You can switch it between cool and warm light based on the time of day and what you’re doing. For example, while you’re working it’s generally better to have the cool light to help you focus, and while you’re relaxing the warm light is a little better because it filters out the blue light which makes it more difficult to sleep if you’re in front of the screen when it’s later, and the room may be darker. The top of the lamp has four buttons, one of which is a button for adjusting the temperature. You can tap the button to change it between the cool and warm lighting, or you can hold it down which moves through the range from 2500k to 6500k. If you want it all the way warm or all the way cool for instance then you’ll simply want to tap and hold the button (which is touch sensitive and not tactile) down until it’s all the way warm or cool. Simply tapping it will edge it closer to one hue or the other little by little, which gives you better control over the exact lighting you want.
The other three buttons are the power button, the brightness button, and an auto dimmer for letting the lamp itself decide just how bright it needs to be. With the brightness button you can work it just like you do with the color temperature, and tap and hold or simply tap it. Tapping it little by little will adjust the brightness little by little, giving you a little more precise control over the exact amount of light, and tapping and holding will adjust the brightness in a smooth motion to its brightest or dimmest settings. As for the auto dimmer, you’ll tap this and once enabled the lamp will use the ambient light sensor to determine just how bright it needs to be. This also adjusts the color temperature to the perfect hue for the time of day based on how much light the sensor picks up. Once you enable the auto dimmer it will stay on until you tap the brightness or color temperature buttons as powering it off and then back on again will not disable the auto dimmer, which leads to the next point that a quick tap of either the brightness or color temp buttons will turn off the auto dimmer and let you regain control of how bright the lamp is and at what hue.
As mentioned above the power source for the lamp is not a separate, and self-contained battery or pack like you would find for more power-hungry products. The lamp simply needs to be plugged into a USB port. This also means that there is no battery inside to contend with charging and re-charging, which makes things a whole lot easier and it makes the lamp more lightweight.
One of the best parts about this lamp is that it attaches to a monitor at the top, which means you don’t have a base for the lamp that needs to sit on your desk and that means there’s more room for everything else. This is especially useful for anyone who has a smaller desk and may live in a smaller space as they won’t have to take up more room. This is also a benefit for anyone else even if they have a fairly large desk. The lamp is made of a plastic material while the arm is made up of aluminum alloy. It definitely feels solid enough to where it doesn’t need to be handled with absolute care, but it is still a lamp and can break easily if bent or if it encounters a large enough impact, so you’ll want to avoid dropping it or banging it up against anything if moving stuff around.
BenQ designed the lamp and arm that it sits in to allow for adjusting the angle at which the LEDs will point to give a little bit of flexibility so users can personalize things to how they like it. There are 20-degrees of adjustment for the lamp so you can twist it back and forth to find the right angle for your own personal tastes, and even if it points more towards the monitor itself you won’t have to worry about glare as it was designed to be anti-glare. I found that during use I never had an issue with glare on the display so it never interrupted any of my use whether it was for watching videos, playing games, or working. While we are using this with BenQ’s own monitor so it fits well, as mentioned earlier it can be used with generally any monitor you wish as long as it fits within the thickness range that’s supported by the lamp, which is any monitor with a thickness from 0.4-inches to 1.2-inches. The clip that attaches to the monitor has an automatic spring-loaded closure, so you simply have to extend it open as far as it will go and clamp it to the monitor and the arm will adjust back to where it needs to be. You will need to adjust things a little though as you want to make sure that there is no space between the top of the monitor and the flat part of the clip. You’ll also notice that the clip sits pretty snugly as on the back part of it there is a rubberized pad which grips to the back of the monitor to help prevent it from moving around or accidentally adjusting on its own. Basically it grips pretty well to the back of the monitor’s surface and won’t budge unless you try to move it.
Whether you work from home or in an office, if you spend a majority of the day looking at a computer screen then you’ll want the lighting to be at an optimal level and temperature that helps to make it as comfortable as possible on your vision. The BenQ ScreenBar e-Reading Lamp does a great job at just that thanks to its adjustable brightness and ability to swap back and forth between cool and warm light, and if you like things to be as automated as possible you can turn on the auto dimmer and only have to worry about powering the lamp on and off.
Should you pick up the BenQ ScreenBar e-Reading Lamp?
If you’re spending more than an hour a day at your computer screen, then yes, this is a fantastic little lamp for its purpose and especially at the cost of $99. It not only helps for digital reading and viewing on the monitor but it also helps brighten up the desk, which is great if you’re on the computer at night and need a little more light to see things. This is extremely helpful if you don’t have a backlit keyboard but want to keep the main room lights off. Overall, the BenQ ScreenBar e-Reading Lamp is a great addition to any home office or work office, and a pretty good alternative to using a traditional lamp that would actually sit on your desk.