Tue. May 21st, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • The Razer Aether Monitor Light Bar enhances workspace lighting with customizable LED options.
  • The light bar offers white light, adjustable warmth, and rear-facing RGB LEDs.
  • Integration with apps allows for interactive lighting effects.


Good lighting in your computer space can enhance your mood, improve your productivity, and optimize eye comfort. An increasingly popular way to light desktop areas is with LED light bars that attach to the top of a monitor and shine light directly down on your workspace. As part of this trend, Razer has introduced its Aether Monitor Light Bar, which promises to take workstation lighting to the next level, while not forgetting to have some fun along the way. Despite some technical hiccups, it does a good job of straddling the line between utility and entertainment.

Razer Aether Monitor Light Bar

Razer Aether Monitor Light Bar

Equipped with angle-adjustable front-facing white LEDs and back-facing RGB LEDs with a suite of lighting effects, the Razer Aether Monitor Light Bar is ready for both work and play.

Brand
Razer

Weight
1.01 lbs.

Dimensions
W 17.8 x D 3.9 x H 1.7 IN

White Color Temperature
2700 – 6500K

RGB Lighting
Razer Chroma RGB

Luminous Flux
500 lm

Connection Protocol
802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz

Pairing
Bluetooth

Pros

  • Fully configurable interactive lighting
  • Matter compatible smart home integration
Cons

  • Full control requires mobile app for set up and Windows app for advanced features
  • Intermittent connectivity issues

Design and Hardware: Versatile Light Source

The Razer Aether monitor light bar lighting up a desk.
Jerome Thomas / How-To Geek


The Razer Aether Monitor Light Bar is 17.8 inches long and has an adjustable clamp that can attach to monitors with a thickness between 0.19 and 1.7 inches. I had no trouble attaching it to my INNOCN Ultrawide 40-inch 40C1R monitor. If for some reason you can’t attach it to your monitor, there is a thread mount for attaching it to a tripod or other compatible support.

There are both a warmth-adjustable front light and rear-facing RGB LEDs. The downward-firing front light is adjustable from a more yellow, and warmer, 2700k, to a white, and cooler, 6500k. In general, the more yellow the light, the more blue light is filtered out, and the more calming. The more white the light, the more energizing, making it great for focusing on tasks or intense gaming sessions.

The rear-facing RGB LEDs can be controlled from either the mobile Razer Gamer Room App for iPhone or Android, or the Windows-based Razer Synapse. Using one of these apps, the RGB LEDs can be set to any brightness, color, or effect, including interactive, although for most options you need to use Razer Synapse.


The front of the Aether Monitor Light Bar features all of the physical controls, which are optional once the apps are linked, although I did find I had to regularly reach for the power button so a connection could be established. From left to right are the white light brightness button, white light temperature button, setting adjustment slider, RGB button, and power button.

In short, the light is easy to manually control, but that’s not really why you buy a light like this. You buy it for the interactivity with its apps.

Set Up and Software: Power and Apps

 The back of the Razer Aether monitor light bar.
Jerome Thomas / How-To Geek


The initial setup requires the use of the Gamer Room App for iOS or Android to scan a code under the Aether Monitor Light Bar’s adjustable monitor clip. Once added to the app, the Aether Monitor Light Bar is linked to your network.

While Razer implies that both the light bar and your Windows computer need to be connected over Wi-Fi, they really just need to be on the same network. In my own case, my Windows desktop is wired into an Eero 6E extender.

Similarly, Razer implies that the USB-C cable from the Aether Monitor Light Bar should plug into an empty port on your PC when in reality the USB-C cable just supplies power. There can be the advantage of the Aether Monitor Light Bar powering off from your PC as long as it’s not in an always-on USB-C port, but it can be set to power off in the Razer Synapse app anyway when the computer is shut down, negating the need for a physical connection.


In my own case, I didn’t have a spare USB-C port on my desktop PC. First, I plugged the light into one of my regular USB hubs, but that wasn’t providing enough power since the light requires a 5V/3A minimum. Without enough power, even the onboard controls won’t work. I tried one of my separate GaN chargers, but that caused Wi-Fi connectivity issues. Finally, I settled on another GaN charger that allowed the Aether Monitor Light Bar to work at 100% brightness and no persistent connectivity issues.

With the Aether Monitor Light Bar on my network, I used Razer Synapse on my PC to connect and provide more robust control over the lighting effects. When under Synapse control, the Gamer Room App will indicate “Synapse-controlled,” requiring an override.

The Aether Monitor Light Bar is also matter-compatible, meaning it works within that growing ecosystem of devices. As such, it can be added to both the Google Home and Amazon Alexa apps as a controllable light source.


Functionality: Light Your Way

Top view of the Razer Aether monitor light bar.
Jerome Thomas / How-To Geek

I personally like a lot of light in my workspace. I have two overhead lights and right and left side lights. Adding the Aether Monitor Light Bar put more of the light I craved where I needed it, helping even more with my eye strain issues.

Of course, I did have to make some adjustments to ensure the Aether Monitor Light Bar was positioned correctly. Initially, when I attached the bar, it was angled back slightly, causing the front light to be more in my eyes than necessary. After properly adjusting it, I no longer directly saw the front LEDs regardless of whether I was sitting or standing at my desk.

When I have a lot of light in my office, say on a particularly sunny day, I can get away with just 25% brightness. Other times, I go all the way to 100%. It’s easy to quickly adjust in Razer Synapse.


My office walls are what can best be described as a pastel mint green color, several shades above a flat white. This means that the rear RGB lights aren’t true to color as they would be on an all-white wall, but they still do a good job of displaying a convincing hue.

Besides all of the temperature and brightness settings, Razer Synapse lets you control various special effects. These include Ambient Awareness of all or a portion of what’s displayed on your monitor, an audio meter, color cycling, and more. You can also use Chroma Studio to program your own effects. It works well and adds real value beyond just a few simple bias lighting color changes.


Of course, this being Razer, there’s some deeper integration with select games. For instance, in “Diablo IV,” the RGB lights turn red, breathe red when dying, turn white when on skill cooldown, light up gold upon a legendary drop, and flash gold quickly when leveling up. These effects can be further enhanced and integrated through the use of other Razer Aether products in the Gamer Room line, such as lamps, light bulbs, and light strips. Naturally, Razer keyboards and mice also offer the same type of functionality, allowing the lighting effects to be even more immersive.

An important point to note is that I did find there to be a certain unreliability to the connectivity. Perhaps it was my PC, perhaps it’s just the nature of how the Aether Monitor Light Bar receives commands, but Razer Synapse didn’t always establish a connection, the light bar didn’t always switch off and on how I had it set to, and the brightness didn’t always go back to what I wanted without manually moving the app slider. I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a dealbreaker, but I certainly would have liked just a bit more reliability in this area.


Although not as dedicated of a task light as something like the Benq ScreenBar Halo, the Aether Monitor Light Bar costs $50 less and has considerably more customization possibilities thanks to its RGB lighting and software integrations. At present, there’s nothing else quite like it. The biggest negative I can say is that now I want more of the Gamer Room lighting products in my setup.

Should You Buy the Razer Aether Monitor Light Bar?

As a lover of a well-lit workspace, as well as a dedicated gamer, I welcome a product like the Razer Aether Monitor Light Bar. Although it’s perfectly usable by itself, the fact that it’s part of an ecosystem of products means it can remain a key part of my setup regardless of how I decide to change things going forward.

There are plenty of other monitor lights for far less money, but none of them are configurable in the way that the Aether Monitor Light Bar is. If Razer can work out the occasional connectivity glitches and integrate with even more games, they’ll have a must-own accessory that makes long hours at your desk more enjoyable.


Razer Aether Monitor Light Bar

Razer Aether Monitor Light Bar

Equipped with angle-adjustable front-facing white LEDs and back-facing RGB LEDs with a suite of lighting effects, the Razer Aether Monitor Light Bar is ready for both work and play.



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By John P.

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