I just wrapped up testing what just may be the ultimate desktop LED lamp. BenQ’s WiT lamp has a uniquely curved head designed to eliminate reflection and contrast glare while illuminating a vast swath of desktop. Not only the brightness, but also the color temperature are user adjustable and the lamp itself offers an extreme degree of flexibility. Build quality is premium, using aluminum and zinc alloys, with niceties like touch controls and even a cloth braided power cable. BenQ calls it the “first lamp designed for e-Reading.” But is it worth $299?
That’s the question I set out to try to answer.
There has been a real surge in LED desk lamps that use this general design approach: articulating arm with a long bar of LED lights mounted beneath. I have one on my desk right now. It offers less flexibility, is made of black plastic, and looks like a simplified version of the WiT at two thirds scale. It has touch adjustable LED lighting as well, but costs just $60.
And it seemed perfectly suited to the task of providing illumination, especially for those times when I have to read dead-tree documents. However, after using the WiT, it quickly became obvious that BenQ’s offering is an entirely different class of device.
The design of the WiT starts with the business end of the light, which is long and very noticeably curved. BenQ calls this “Smile Curve tech” and it enables the lamp to project light over a very wide surface area. Much wider coverage than other lamps. That lighting module is attached to the arm using a ball joint for extreme adjustability. The arm has two additional points of articulation and can rotate on the base. Thanks to torque springs and friction control, all movement is extremely precise and it remains in position. That base is also extremely heavy, so even when hyper-extended, there’s no sense the WiT is in danger of toppling. Touch the aluminum loop and the light activates.
The LED lighting itself (18 watts worth) is flicker-free, dimmable, and the color temperature can be adjusted between 2700K and 5700K using a knob that is one of the few plastic pieces on the light. This is intended to support different types of reading—cool light to focus and warmer when you wish to relax—but I suspect it would also come in very handy for anyone using the lamp while working on tasks like illustration or photo editing. Adjust the WiT to shine down over your PC monitor, touch the ring to enter e-Reading Mode and the lamp uses an ambient light sensor to adjust illumination so it’s brighter on the sides and darker in the middle section, reducing screen reflection and contrast glare.
So technically, the WiT pulls off some pretty cool and useful stuff, easily outclassing anything my current desk lamp can do. It also has it beat hands down on aesthetics and looks. The aluminum and zinc alloy construction of the WiT is sleek, attractive and gives off a premium vibe. The review unit I had is white with a silver head, but there are splashier options with heads in gold, pink, blue, and green. The braided cloth-wrapped power cords (which are visible as they wind their way from the power adapter through the arms to the lighting module) are colored according to the option chosen, adding another splash of color.
So is it worth $299? I have no problem recommending the BenQ Wit. It’s easily the best desk lamp I’ve ever used, whether that’s measured by functionality, build quality, or looks. I’m going to start saving up so when my current light wears out or moves on, I can take the plunge and replace it with a WiT. Whether you’re willing to pony up the $299 is going to be a matter of personal preference, but if you rely on task lighting I doubt you’ll be disappointed.