BenQ ScreenBar Monitor Light Bar Review

BenQ was the original company behind the super-popularized monitor light bars. Now there are about 10 pages of copycat light bars on Amazon and the BenQ monitor light line has gotten bigger.

Here are the current light bar offerings from BenQ:

  • ScreenBar
    4.7

    This is BenQ's most affordable monitor light. It has integrated controls and the superior BenQ build quality we've come to love. It has fantastic glare blocking, light spread, brightness, and light quality.

    Check Price on Amazon
  • ScreenBar Plus
  • Premium Pick
    ScreenBar Halo
    4.5

    Enhance eye comfort with this monitor light bar's integrated backlight design that illuminates your back wall (bias lighting). With a smart wireless controller, it's easy to adjust brightness and color temperature. Its patented clip design mounts on almost any monitor, saving valuable desk space, and it's powered via USB, eliminating the need for extra wires.

    Check Price on Amazon

The original ScreenBar is what we will be reviewing today, and is the most basic and most affordable offering from BenQ. It has capacitive touch pads on top of the light bar to control all features.

At the time of writing this article, I have tested out the Screenbar for over a year now, so this will be a thorough review of everything you should expect with this original Screenbar.

The ScreenBar Plus is a bit more expensive and comes with a wired controller that sits on your desk. That means you don’t have to reach up above your monitor when you turn it on. 

BenQ ScreenBar On Monitor

The ScreenBar Halo is the fanciest of them all and is even more expensive than the ScreenBar Plus. This version comes with a wireless controller that sits on your desk. It also has a rear light in addition to the main light. This rear light illuminates the wall behind your monitor to ease eye strain with bright monitors. We have a dedicated article on how monitor light bars actually help with eye strain. . 

We have a full review of the BenQ ScreenBar Halo here.

If you are new to the world of monitor light bars, check out our article on the purpose and benefits of monitor light bars.  If you are a happy desk lamp user, check out our article comparing light bars directly against desk lamps in this article.

Key Takeaways

Though the BenQ Screenbar comes at a higher cost than most other knockoff Amazon light bars, it is far superior in light output and build quality. It keeps all of the build quality benefits that are present on higher-model BenQ lights.

Major downsides include the lack of a remote even though the cost is high. Cheaper light bars have disadvantages in light output and quality but come with a little wireless remote. The capacitive top-mounted controls can move the light bar so separate controls are ideal.

Benefits Of The Original ScreenBar

There are a couple of reasons why the standard BenQ ScreenBar stands out from the others. 

BenQ ScreenBar Monitor Light
4.7

This is BenQ's most affordable monitor light. It has integrated controls and the superior BenQ build quality we've come to love. It has fantastic glare blocking, light spread, brightness, and light quality.

Check Price on Amazon

Lower Cost

First and foremost, cost. 

I don’t often spend more than $100 on a desk lamp. I expect to pay around $25-$50 for a nice one. The ScreenBar is a desk lamp replacement for me, so the cost is steep.

The standard ScreenBar costs $99,  the Plus costs $129, and the Halo costs $179. The Halo is super steep for a glorified desk lamp. Almost double the standard ScreenBar! 

There are cheaper aftermarket BenQ ScreenBar copies all over Amazon, but they are definitely not built the same. I’ve owned some of those, and the BenQ build quality and brightness make it a much better option. 

Simplicity

Even though there is no remote on the Screenbar, you get peace of mind. All of these wireless controls will require a battery change every so often. When that time comes you will be in the dark wondering why your light bar is not turning on, a mild annoyance.

Oh, and the standard ScreenBar is the only one that is actually all black, which matches most other electronics these days. Just look at my desk setup:

34 inch ultrawide monitor on ikea alex desk

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get into the product review! 

Unboxing & Setup

First, a quick run around the packaging. Everyone enjoys some nice packaging. A large hero image of the light bar takes the front face of the box. 

BenQ ScreenBar Monitor Light Review (1 of 21)

Looks like this light bar won some design awards? Great job BenQ. 

The entire back face of the box includes the installation instructions. This is great because there is no additional paper manual needed/included with the light bar. Less “throw-away” materials, the better in today’s world. 

There is a QR code for a detailed user manual and another code for video instructions.

What’s In The Box?

Included in the box are the ScreenBar monitor light, the monitor mount, and a USB-C cable that provides the power. 

Installation instructions are very simply laid out, and it was quick to actually perform the installation. Simply slide the light bar into the monitor mount, and twist until it clicks in place. 

You should see the USB-C port on the back side of the monitor mount. That confirms you’ve connected the two parts together correctly. 

Next, open up the spring-loaded monitor mount. Then place the front lip against the top front edge of the monitor. Slowly release the spring-loaded weight. 

Now just connect the USB cable to your power source. Some monitors come with USB ports. If you have one, use it! Fortunately, they give you a long USB C cable anyways. I am glad they did because this cable made it all the way to my USB power hub under my desk. 

The monitor mount weight is also pretty heavy, so I have confidence that the light bar will stay in place. Now let’s get into the meat of the review! 

Main Feature Review

Capacitive Controls

There are four capacitive touch controls on the BenQ ScreenBar. This includes brightness control, color temperature control, auto mode toggle, and power. 

The brightness and the color temperature have ‘steps’ and are adjustable within those step ranges. You don’t get super fine control.

Capacitive controls are great because they just need a slight tap from your finger.  Sometimes their sensitivity was a little annoying. The control that I kept accidentally pressing was the Auto button. 

When I adjust the angle of the beam my finger would get too close to the auto brightness toggle and trigger it. I started paying more attention and my finger would actually not be touching the capacitive circle. The sensor might be larger than the markings on the light bar show.

It’s only been an issue with the auto toggle and not the others. This could be an anomaly on just my model, but at the end of the day, it’s not a big deal. I just have to adjust the brightness and color temperature back to where it was set manually. 

Brightness

I’ve used a few other knockoff monitor light bars in the past, and one area where they all suffer is maximum brightness.

None of the other models beat the level of brightness you get from the BenQ ScreenBars. They also don’t meet the beam spread.

LED strips are more often used as accent lighting, and you can tell the other knock-off brands just slapped a common LED strip in the light bar without much thought. 

Clearly, BenQ is doing something different. You get what you pay for in this category. It makes it a great desk lamp replacement with the level of brightness you get. 

You can tap the brightness control to adjust the level. Or you can hold down the control and it will ramp in one direction until you’re at the end of the range. Release and hold it down again to have to ramp in the opposite direction. 

I counted about 14 brightness steps. That’s a good level of brightness flexibility. No complaints from me. 

Plus, this ScreenBar only uses 5 watts of power! A normal incandescent bulb usually takes about 60-watts. A 60W replacement LED bulb typically uses around 10 watts, so with only 5 watts on the Screenbar means we save a nice amount of energy.

Color Temperature

There is a huge color temperature range included in the BenQ ScreenBar. You get super hot warm tones, all the way down to cold blues. The scale shown on the BenQ website shows a range from 2700K to 6500K. 

This is a stepped function as well, so you don’t get the ability to fine-tune your color temperature. However, BenQ does provide enough steps to give you the best of that color temperature range. 

I counted 8 color temperature steps which is enough for me.

Auto Dimming Mode

Auto-dimming mode is the button right next to the power button. There is a small green LED that illuminates when you turn it on. The LED basically tells you that the auto-dimming mode is active. 

The optical sensor is on the left side of the bar right next to the color temperature control button, facing upwards.  

I have to say, I have a love-hate relationship with auto-dimming mode.

First, let’s talk about love. It automatically senses and chooses a very suitable brightness level. BenQ nailed that part. I never felt like it chose too dim of a brightness or too blinding of a brightness. 

I don’t have to worry about my room getting darker as the sun goes down. The ScreenBar has my back and adjusts the light bar brightness. 

The part I hate is that BenQ chose to fix the color temperature in auto mode. If you like a very specific color temp, that goes away when you hit the auto-dimming button. 

I guess you have a 1 in 8 chance of actually getting the color temperature you desire. Just because there are 8 hue levels. So, pretty low chances you get what you want.

In my experience, people have a personal preference as to which color temperature they like.  

BenQ themselves say that the warm like is “for comfort”, “lets you relax”, and somehow “replenishes your energy”? Don’t know if that last one is true…. They also say that the cool light “allows concentration” and “boosts efficiency”. 

Well if BenQ thinks the color temperature is for different applications, why do they control it in auto mode?

I personally like a pretty warm tone. It’s just cozier to me. Right when I hit that auto-dimming button, my color temperature selection is gone. It makes things worse that the auto-dimming button is the one overly sensitive control. 

Beam Spread

The beam spread on these light bars is very controlled. That is exactly how they are able to limit the glare on your screen to zero. 

I always had glare issues with my desk lamp. You pretty much have no choice if you use a small desk. I use a 4K monitor that has an anti-glare finish, but my desk lamp would always wash out some of the screen. 

The advertised working area of the light bar is a 60cm x 30cm area on your table surface. Of course, this will depend on your monitor height and other factors. But it’s relatively accurate for my desk. 

Adjustability

The BenQ ScreenBar has about 20 degrees of rotation, and I found that to be more than enough for a product like this. 

You can rotate the light bar at any time and it stays in place. It simply has a light friction fit with the weighted monitor mount. 

When angled all the way inward the Screenbar actually lights up the face of the monitor. It remarkably does not cast glare due to its location. But it does highlight all of the dust particles sitting on your screen. 

Unless your keyboard is almost directly under your monitor, this is not a great position. 

When adjusted all the way out, you can start to see a sliver of the light source. I keep the middle of the beam angled right at my keyboard, and that keeps a nice spread of light on my desk. 

Mounting Method

The mounting method is not as robust as an actual clamp of some sort. But it is very effective and works with way more monitors than other designs would allow. 

The heavy rear weight pulls the front lip against the face of your monitor.  It is a very simple and effective design. I am sure this works for a large majority of monitors on the market today. 

The total clamping range for the Screenbar is for screens with 0.4 – 1.2 inches in thickness. That’s a huge range of monitors. Even if your monitor is outside of this range, I would still test the monitor clamp out to see if BenQ is just being conservative. 

Build Quality

I have zero complaints about the build quality of the BenQ. It has a solid aluminum body, and the mounting clamp is nice and heavy which makes it a great monitor mount. 

There is also a sheet of glass so you can’t touch the LED’s yourself. This is a great touch because the LED’s and the reflector inside of the light bar are all protected. You won’t see these details on the random Amazon light bars.

The knockoff brands that I have tried in the past all had some defining characteristics that made them seem like less of a premium product. Some of them have funky controls, asymmetrical designs, and dangling remotes. You name it.

Aesthetics

Monitor light bars look pretty clean on a monitor. It’s just a sleek bar that sits on top of your monitor with no wires or cables showing. 

Because it references the top of your monitor to clamp, it always sits parallel. The BenQ ScreenBar will never look crooked if you have it hooked up properly. 

BenQ ScreenBar On Monitor

I also love the look of having your work area be in the “spotlight”. When I quickly glance at my desk, I forget where the light is coming from. Looks like it just appears from nowhere. Almost like a magic trick, or Photoshop!

Desk Lamp vs Monitor Light Bar

Here are some sample images of my desk before and after getting the BenQ ScreenBar monitor light. Shoutout to the James Webb Space Telescope for the amazing cosmic cliffs background! 

You can tell that the desk lamp makes a nice bright spot on the left side of my desk. I don’t just work on the left side of my desk! I basically just dealt with angled light sources all my life until now! 

Turns out BenQ makes LED versions of typical desk lamps as well. Check out our review of the BenQ E-reading desk lamp for more info.

Benq e-reading lamp - on desk with desk clamp

The other highlight about monitor lights is that they take up zero desk space! I love some desk real estate. I have a whole article dedicated to making more space on your desk. You bet monitor light bars are listed there!

It just gives you the ability to do more things at your desk. 

And the light with the ScreenBar is front and center, where my work is. I love the light location and the extra desk space. 

Disadvantages

So we know this light bar is not all sunshine and rainbows. If you’ve made it this far, you probably already know a few of these disadvantages. 

Price

No matter how you cut it, $100 is too much for a desk lamp replacement. There is a reason all of the knockoff ScreenBars on Amazon are selling really well.

They may not know why the BenQ is a better monitor light bar, but that doesn’t matter. (By the way, here’s our list of the best monitor light bars out there right now). It can be hard to justify a $100 desk light and most people’s wallets drive a big part of the decision these days.  

Keyboard Glare

One issue that I have not heard about at all, is keyboard glare. This can be an issue for all light bars. 

Depending on factors such as your monitor location, seating position, keyboard position, key shape, etc. your keyboard can be unreadable due to glare from the ScreenBar.

The light bar points light right down at your keyboard, and your keyboard is tilted toward you. This can give it the perfect approach angle to bounce the light right back into your eye. 

I can literally scoot my keyboard back and forth on my desk and find one location where I can’t see what the keys read. 

I am using the Logitech MX Keys, and here is what the glare looks like. A slight annoyance in specific positions. This is relatively minor in the big picture

Auto Dimming Combo

I’ve already ranted about the auto-dimming feature, so I won’t get into it again. 

But please BenQ, leave the color temperature independent from automatic brightness control. I want my warm lighting with auto brightness dimming! 

I want to use the automatic dimming feature, but I have to sacrifice one step of color temperature change. 

Conclusion

BenQ ScreenBar Monitor Light
4.7

This is BenQ's most affordable monitor light. It has integrated controls and the superior BenQ build quality we've come to love. It has fantastic glare blocking, light spread, brightness, and light quality.

Check Price on Amazon

Overall, the ScreenBar is a fantastic monitor light bar if you have the funds for one. It is superior to the knockoffs in the market by a pretty big margin. Gain space and focus your lighting with the BenQ Screen Bar. 

If you have a curved monitor, check out our article on if curved light bars are necessary or not. Also, if you have a higher budget for these monitor light bars, check out our article on the BenQ ScreenBar Halo.

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Photo of author

Dasun

I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!