The BenQ “Genie” E-Reading Lamp Deserves a Spot on Your Desk

Evaluation:
9/10
?

1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
2 – Warm rubbish
3 – Highly imperfect design
4 – Some advantages, many disadvantages
5 – Acceptably flawed
6 – Enough to buy for sale
7 – Excellent, but not the best in its category
8 – Fantastic, with some footnotes
9 – Shut up and take my money
10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $ 149

This is the BenQ Genie electronic reading lamp. My real desk is not so clean. Michael Crider

The lighting of the workplace is important. Big enough to spend over a hundred dollars on a fancy lamp? I would not have thought until BenQ sent me this strange Genie E-Reading desk lamp.

This is what we like

Flexible arm
High degree of intensity of options
Very stable
Large beam of light

And what we do not do

Automatic mode is not flexible
Strange touch switch

The thing resembles a post-modern interpretation of the Pixar style reading lamp, with a curved bar filled with LEDs replacing the traditional simple bulb. I would not take a second look, except that Jason was crazy about the BenQ ScreenBar, which was similarly positioned as ideal for reading text on electronic screens.

I was shocked by the quality of this thing. Between quality construction and incredibly uniform lighting, returning to a conventional lamp for my work will be a touch for me. Some usage choices are strange, but overall, it's a fantastic product that justifies its high price.

Setting up

After opening the packaging, I found that the Genie lamp was only delivered in two parts: the main LED block and the base and the boom arm. To fix them, two screws must be installed with the hexagonal wrench provided. Everything was set up in about three minutes, including the nicely braided power cable and unplugged electrical hookup. The cable fits snugly into the boom arm.

The installation requires the installation of only two screws. Note this chic braided power cable. The installation requires the installation of only two screws. Note this chic braided power cable. Michael Crider

Installed on my desk, the lamp looks like an unfinished emoticon: _ ° /. The taste is subjective, of course, and I will not tell you that it suits all the sets. If you work on a former banker's office, it probably will not accent things like one of those old brass lamps in the green shade. But on my desk, cluttered with LEGO speakers, tablets, phones and small spaceships, it looks pretty smooth. If you want to match a theme, the lamp has several color options for the aluminum diode bar.

The ball joint gives you flexibility not only to illuminate the work area, but to keep LEDs out of your eyes. The ball joint gives you flexibility not only to illuminate the work area, but to keep LEDs out of your eyes. Michael Crider

The light emitting diode bar moves on a ball joint, so that the actually illuminated portion of the lamp can be placed in a surprisingly varied amount of positions. The boom arm rests on a less flexible hinge, from 90 to about 25 degrees. That's enough to handle most situations and keep the lights out of your eyes, but those with a bigger desk or a large monitor may want to pick up the double hinged version it's about twice as big.

Aziz, the light!

The lamp uses 36 individual LEDs spread evenly across its curved bar. And they are beautiful. The design of the lamp allows them to uniformly illuminate an extremely wide area: it managed the entire horizontal space of my office five feet, with plenty of space remaining, with only a slight emphasis on the medium range.

36 LEDs alternate between pure white and amber, providing great flexibility in lighting. 36 LEDs alternate between pure white and amber, providing great flexibility in lighting. Michael Crider

At its highest setting, the light is bright, but still warm, avoiding the cold clinical sensation of some LEDs. Alternating between white LEDs of maximum brightness and softer amber LEDs gives it excellent heat even at full power. If it's too much for you, the circular dial located above the bar allows you to adjust the temperature and intensity of the light, from full, power "Let's get to work" to "I just need a little more light to see this letter is in print. This is an extensive range that makes the system extremely attractive.

The lamp is equipped with an automatic mode, which uses a light sensor to dynamically adjust the lighting level according to the ambient light in the room. It's a nice inclusion, but I found myself manually adjusting the light after turning it on almost every time. Strangely, the automatic mode has a finer control over itself, often cutting power to the average LED group. (This is not possible with the dial alone.) Note that since the lights are only on one side of the lamp, you will want to position the base on the right side if you are shorter and the bar is sometimes placed under your lamp. eye level to avoid shining directly in your eyes.

Strange control choices

The lamp activates to the touch: press the circular extension located on the side of the light bar to turn it on. I'm not a fan of touch controls on anything that's not a screen, but I have to admit it's at least more functional than some of the implementations I've seen. I usually lit the light by pressing instead on the control dial: this can turn it on, but not turn it off.

The controls are a little tricky thanks to the touch power button.The controls are a little tricky thanks to the touch power button. Michael Crider

You also activate the automatic light detection mode with the ring. Press and hold for two seconds to turn this feature on and off. Again, it works, but I do not see why it could not just be a standard switch or button. Aesthetic value is not worth the tradeoff of utility – a classic example of form on function. Especially since the "aesthetic value" has a superficial thickness, because the control circle is a rather cheap plastic that contrasts badly with the metal of the rest of the lamp.

I see the Light

As a reviewer, I'm often happy to see the review units return to the manufacturer just to get the space back home, especially with appliances. This is not the case with the BenQ Genie electronic reading lamp. I want to keep it and, to be honest, I will probably buy me one when UPS will remove it.

This opinion is only an excuse to let me put as much of my hobbies in one photo as possible. This opinion is only an excuse to let me put as much of my hobbies in one photo as possible. Michael Crider

This is not a useless compliment because this thing is expensive. BenQ gives the retail price at $ 149, or $ 199 if you want the largest with the double jointed arm. But damn, this thing justifies its high price by emitting a wonderful light in a wide range, which avoids hurting my eyes, even in its widest setting.

I was not impressed by the automatic light detection mode and I do not see what would have been so bad with a conventional switch. But aside from these small worries, this lamp is fantastic and worth its high price.

This is what we like

Flexible arm
High degree of intensity of options
Very stable
Large beam of light

And what we do not do

Automatic mode is not flexible
Strange touch switch

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