Product Name: BenQ EX3203R
Product Description: 32in curved monitor that's best suited to console gaming
Offer price: £469
Features & design
Value for money
A good-quality 32in curved monitor that’s best suited to console gaming
HDR support for a great price
144Hz at 1440p
Great for gaming
Low pixels per inch
Not so great for Windows
Manufacturers love to give us reasons to upgrade our monitors and TVs: as we approach 2019, the alluring terms “4K Ultra HD” and “HDR” are hotter than Vesuvius. With the BenQ EX3203R including both technologies, AND a curved screen, AND
BTQ: Brief Tech Questions
|What does HDR stand for?||High dynamic range – it makes images look super-vivid|
|Does HDR work on Windows 10?||Yes, and after a recent |
|Can I stick this monitor onto a wall?||You’ll need a VESA transfer kit for this – that’s one of the disadvantages of a curved design|
|How big is it?||31.5 inches from diagonal to diagonal|
|Is Vesuvius really hot?||Not so much anymore. The magma, Wikipedia tells me, is now more than 10km away from the surface, which has been turned into a national park|
BenQ EX3203R review: the positives
There are so many great things about this monitor. First,
- HDR support
- 144Hz max refresh rate with FreeSync 2 support
While FreeSync 2 is only a boon to AMD graphics card owners, the 144Hz refresh rate means you can enjoy slick frame rates at the monitor’s maximum resolution.
BenQ EX3203R review: console vs PC
Now we need to talk resolution. On a 31.5in screen, a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution is great for games and videos, but not so amazing if you’re going to be looking at spreadsheets or browsing the internet all day.
The reason is that text can look jagged. It doesn’t help that I was switching from my usual 32in monitor with a 4K resolution, but even if you’re moving up from an older, smaller monitor then you may find that its
In practice, this means I wouldn’t recommend this screen for a Windows system used for everyday tasks. Instead, it would be better for a primary gaming system – preferably one using an AMD card – or a console.
Why a console? Simply because of its 1440p resolution and large size, which becomes ideal for gamers. While it’s true that a 4ms response time isn’t the fastest, I never saw any smearing or ghosting in use.
BenQ EX3203R review: how curved is curved?
The technical answer is 1800R, but the best way to answer is through a photo:
If you’re switching from a flat monitor to a curved design, the first couple of hours can be odd. Again, this is most obvious in Windows rather than in games – you become much more conscious of the fact that you’re looking at the left side of the screen, for example, because your brain goes, “hey, something ain’t right!”
When playing games, this becomes much less of an issue because you’re distracted by the on-screen excitement. Does this curvature make you a better gamer? I’m not convinced, but it’s true that your eyes are a little closer to the action.
BenQ EX3203R review: how good is the panel?
I was surprised by the quality of the panel, but in a good way. It doesn’t have luxuries such as a 10-bit lookup table, to help produce smooth graduations in colour that professional photographers and designers would love, but it floated through our quality tests in fine style.
For instance, it covers 88% of the DCI-P3 gamut favoured by Netflix, and scored even higher – 95% – in the more standard if boring sRGB colour space. Mix in a low Delta E of 1.55 (Delta E is a measure of accuracy, with 0 being the unreachable ideal) and what these figures tell us that this is an accurate panel that can display almost every colour you need.
It’s bright, too. I measured it at 453 candela, which is far more than most people need – I typically use my monitors at around 250 candela.
BenQ EX3203R review: switching inputs
BenQ errs on the side of generosity with the collection of ports. For now, the two HDMI 2.0 inputs are most likely to be used, but there’s also DisplayPort 1.4 and a forward-looking USB-C input. BenQ even includes cables for all three standards in the box.
I’m not such a fan of the on-screen display requiring four different button presses to switch between inputs, but at least it’s clever enough to realise that the console, say, was in HDR mode when last connected while your Windows system uses the standard mode.
Note that there are no speakers, though, so you may want to take advantage of that awkwardly placed 3.5mm jack.
BenQ EX3203R review: key specifications
|Resolution||2,560 x 1,440 (aka 1440p)|
|Refresh rate||144Hz at 1440p|
|Response time||4ms (grey to grey)|
|Max brightness||453 candela (tested)|
|Pixels per inch||93|
|Tilt||-5 down, 20 up|
BenQ EX3203R review: verdict
I like this monitor a lot – but as I hope is clear, I wouldn’t recommend it as a primary screen for a Windows setup. If you’re buying for a den or child’s bedroom, though, where the screen will spend 80% of its time hooked up to a console, then it’s a great buy. Especially at this price.
Read this next: What does 4K mean?
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