It is typical for any PC user to stare at their monitors for very long periods of time, even more so those who work and game a lot. Most of the times people like this work in low-light conditions to either spice up the experience or just plain save on electricity. There’s a tendency the the high contrast sometimes takes its toll in our eyes and our heads starts to hurt. Antec, under its SoundScience brand, has developed a product that aims to alleviate this issue with their bias lighting LED kit. A strip of flexible LED lighting that attaches to the back of your monitor and intends to improve the visual experience when using your monitor in the dark. Let’s make this showy!
If my memory serves me right, this is going to be the first Antec product we review. For those unfamiliar, Antec is manufacturer of PC chassis, power supplies, cooling solutions and a lot of other things. They have been in the business for a very long time and have a very impressive port folio of cases from the budget segment all the way to the prestigious high-end. Today we have a product from them under the SoundScience brand, a subsidiary of Antec targeting audio/visual entertainment market, in the form of the SoundScience halo Bias Lighting LED Kit. As described above, this is a simple accessory that has therapeutic benefits.
â€¢ LCD monitor up to 24â€ in size placed against light colored wall
â€¢ available USB port or powered USB hub
Certifications/Safety:Â Â CE, RoHS
â€¢ Cable: 4â€™3â€ / 1300 mm
â€¢ Light Strip: 14.6â€ / 370 mm
â€¢ 5.9â€ (H) x 5.5â€ (W) x 0.6â€ (D)
â€¢ 150 mm (H) x 140 mm (W) x 15 mm (D)
Net Weight:Â 1.0 oz / 28.3 g
Gross Weight:Â 2.0 oz / 56.7 g
Product Warranty:Â 2 years
The halo Bias Lighting LED Kit comes in a small and simple packaging, about the size of a an ATM card and a quarter inch thick. Surely not the most appealing packaging but its the content that counts.
Nothing much inside the packaging. We see the lighting is actually made of a flexible material with 6 LEDs on it. The LEDs are 5v super-white so they’ll run off your USB port no prob. The entire lighting strip is around 14 inches in length and is lined with an adhesive on the back for attaching it to your monitor.
The strip is USB powered so you can just plug it in the back of your CPU or wherever you want and you’re good to go. There is a switch in the cable so you can easily turn the lighting on when needed. Just place it somewhere close.
USER EXPERIENCE & CONCLUSION
There’s the halo attached to the rear of our 23″ monitor. Take note that we used tape instead of the actual adhesive.
There’s really no scientific way to do these kinds of things than to experience it ourselves. Vision can be a very subjective matter and not all people distinguish contrast the same way others do. For our testing we use a 23″ monitor in low light conditions. The monitor is set to 40% brightness.
Halo OFFHalo ON
We can see from the picture above that the monitor still overpowers the halo but we can still see the difference it makes. Now for some people with better desktop arrangements especially those facing a light wall, there should be a more significant improvement. We used this setup to show a worst-case scenario for the product.
So in closing, we feel that this small accessory can be worth it given some conditions are met first: 1) 24″ monitor at most and 2) a light-colored wall behind the monitor. Now the only issues we have is that as the monitor grows, the benefits of the halo diminishes as it tends to get obscured by the size of the monitor. Switching placement didn’t do much to balance this out so we ended up placing the lighting a few inch above the midline of the monitor, dead-center of the VESA mounting. For these kinds of situation though,Â Antec SoundScience provides a much larger version for HDTV’s and large screens up to 60″ in size here:Â http://www.soundscienceaudio.com/hdtv-bias-lighting.php
The Antec/SoundScience halo Bias Lighting LED kit comes price at around US$12.95 which is around Php550, making it a very pricey proposition for a LED strip but that’s barring the optimizations and research put into calibrating this LED strip as well as the flexible body itself. For average office user or non-technical people, this is a fair value in return for your well-being and we recommend the halo for you if you tend to work in the dark and keep experiencing eyestrain.
For technical and mod-junkies, you know what to do. Just don’t expect to have an easy time duplicating the cold-glow and calibration that Antec has put into this kit.