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BenQ ScreenBar Halo

ScreenBar Halo may not make you more focused, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a reason to exist.

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Years before we finally got the chance to review our first monitor light, they were already dominating that particular corner of YouTube where creative souls showcased their desk setup for their viewers. It's still a fixture today, and it's pretty easy to see why. Instead of making room for a desk lamp of some kind, these can be clipped onto the top of your computer screen, and not only is this space-saving, but the postulate is that the light cast downwards helps to frame the content on the screen, making it easier to focus.

BenQ's ScreenBar Halo is considered to be among the finer ones, and it's pretty easy to see why when you unbox it. The entire unit is sturdy, weighing in at almost a kilo. It's powered by a USB-A port on your computer and the wireless remote control, designed to sit on your desk, uses AAA batteries. With a little adjustment, the strip of LED lights then shines downwards towards the desk, and there's a second set of LEDs on the back that are designed to shine on the wall behind the screen.

BenQ ScreenBar Halo

Okay, so is this a pleasant light, first of all? Quite surprisingly, yes, it's one of the most comfortable lights I've experienced in an office environment, and especially because the remote control allows you to adjust the temperature, so it can be much warmer, for example, it's both nice and smooth.

In addition to the light you customise yourself, there are three distinct "Lighting Modes", but none of these need to be used in specific situations. One just casts light downwards, another switches off the front and only casts light backwards on the wall and the last one switches both on full blast and turns the temperature ice cold, seemingly to make you concentrate.

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The remote control is also an absolute highlight. It's artificially weighted and there are thick rubber mouldings on the bottom so it stays where you place it on your desk. There are touch-based buttons on the top, but the whole thing can be adjusted circularly, like a giant active crown with a mechanical ticking mechanism. It's really nice to adjust both temperature and intensity this way.

BenQ ScreenBar Halo

A great lamp, space-saving design, solid quality - these reasons alone might be worth the price of just under £150, but what about the whole idea that this kind of lighting makes you more productive? I owe you an answer, but I can report that I personally didn't feel more concentrated across the different modes, including the one designed to do just that. Furthermore, it didn't make sense to turn down the screen's own brightness, so in that sense the ScreenBar was slightly redundant.

And yet it wasn't, because while I can't quite reconcile myself with the science behind it, this is a really nice way to illuminate a desk that feels both natural and effective. I don't have much to compare it to, but ScreenBar Halo will be a permanent fixture here, that's for sure.

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