BenQ EX3200R Curved Monitor Review
For the enthusiasts, 1080p might seem a tad little outdated. For me personally, I’ve been spoilt by 1440p and 4K resolutions for a little too long now to go back to 1080p. But, there is still a market for 1080p, and that is what BenQ’s EX3200R aims at. What makes the EX3200R unique is, first of all, its big size at 31.5 inch, and second, its a curved screen. 1080p at 31.5 inches seems weird to say the least. I game at 1440p on 24 inch screens, so the pixel density on the EX3200R is underwhelming. The EX3200R also carries a high refresh rate of 144Hz and good colour accuracy, as BenQ advertises. Let us take this for a spin.
The EX3200R is stylish in its own sense. It has medium size bezels and a commanding curvature. Curved screens provide enhanced viewing angles and more immersion, by fitting the screen easily into your peripheral vision. Curved screens particularly work better for solo gamers and viewers. For scenarios where there are multiple viewers, the screen will look best for the person sitting in the centre, and not so good for the rest.
The EX3200R has an old school 16:9 aspect ratio, the curved monitor with such a ratio. Most curved monitors have as aspect ratio of 21:9. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it will down good with your GPU and with games.
The bezel around the EX3200R are of matte finish and black in colour. This provides for an understated quality that is neither too stylish nor too dull. The triangular metal stand though, is what stands out. It is shiny and very modern in its design. The stand only support vertical adjustments. There is no swivel support, which makes sense as you wouldn’t want to be swivelling a 32 inch curved monitor anyway.
The back panel plastic has grainy textures that suit the look of the monitor. They also help in dampening dust deposits. There are three video inputs in the centre facing downward. All inputs are marked, but they are still hard to access. I smudged the finish of my table because I had to bend the monitor to plug in the cables. The ports available are DisplayPort, HDMI and mini DisplayPort. Obviously, DisplayPort is recommended because HDMI won’t support the 144Hz refresh rate that the monitor has.
Summarising the design, I feel BenQ has done the right thing by going for a living room vibe with the monitor. It looks good overall, and will blend in well with whatever your room interiors.
We got to keep the BenQ EX3200R for around three weeks. For this time period, I used it as my main gaming, image editing, movie watching and general browsing and writing monitor. Here are my impressions.
The settings we used were:
Picture Mode: Standard
Colour Vibrance: 10
Blur Reduction: Off
Colour Temperature: Normal
Gamma: Gamma 3
Low Blue Light: 0
For gaming, the EX3200R performed really well overall. While its performance is not particularly spectacular, it is not lacking either. The contrast levels are strong, and the curvature really adds to the immersion. Yes, the low resolution did disappoint, but I guess it is because I have been used to high resolution monitors for a long time. I played a bunch of games, Dota 2, Dark Souls 3, Warhammer 2, Resident Evil 7, and they all performed well. If I ignore the low resolution, everything else works just fine on the EX3200R.
The high refresh rate, obviously adds to the gaming experience. My PC could easily run games at 144 fps because of the low resolution. Thus, playing fast games is a joy on the EX3200R. The input lag performance is good too. I set the AMA setting to High, which prevented motion blue without any overshoot.
For other tasks such as image editing and browsing, the 1080p resolution does hinder your screen real estate. Keeping multiple windows open at once isn’t the same thing as it is on a 1440p or a 4K monitor. The curved screen doesn’t really benefit much in such scenarios.
The on screen-display (OSD) has seven buttons mounted on the bottom of the monitor. They are unmarked, so hitting the wrong button is common. On multiple occasions I hit the wrong button and switched the monitor off, which make me wait about 10 seconds to get things up and running again.
Benchmarks on the BenQ EX3200R were performed with a Spyder4Elite. We calibrated the display to gamma 2.2, white point 6500L and 120 nits of brightness before beginning the tests.
The monitor’s colour gamut shows 95% sRGB, 72% NTSC and 74% AdobeRGB. This is OK as the monitor isn’t designed for accurate image editing.
Next, let us see how the monitor was calibrated out of the box. The Delta-E (error) values are very low for white point and 50% gray. Contrast rations were decent, and the black level were very low.
Now, let us look at the display’s gamma curves. Here are the results. All the curves are almost perfect, off only by 0.01 at the maximum.
The grey ramp for our chosen setting is a little off, but not by much. This is acceptable.
Next, we have colour uniformity. Here, the results aren’t as good as our gamma tests. They are infact quite poor, especially for the upper corners. For the rest of the screen however, they are pretty good.
Our next test is of luminance uniformity. Here, the results are better than the previous test. There is a maximum variance of about 10% in the upper centre area, it is dimmer than the rest of the screen.
As per the benchmarks, I would say the the BenQ EX3200R is a pretty good monitor, despite some minor flaws in grey ramp and colour uniformity. The results aren’t perfect, but for a gaming and office-work focused monitor, they’re pretty good.
After using the BenQ EX3200R for close to three weeks, I have to say, I am pretty happy with its performance. Having said that, the low resolution did bother me, but that is what makes the monitor unique. It is a 32 inch curved monitor priced very reasonably. BenQ wanted to give you these premium features, namely, 32 inch size, curved screen, 144Hz refresh rate, but it had to make a sacrifice somewhere i.e. the resolution. The contrast ratio is outstanding, and the black levels are good too.
For gaming and movies, the EX3200R is a highly recommended monitor. However, if you plan to use this monitor of office work and multi-tasking, there are much better and cheaper options. In those cases, you would be better off with a 1440p monitor and a 21:9 ultra-widescreen aspect ration.
Take note, if you have a mid range PC and would like to the make most out of your hardware, the EX3200R is perfect for such cases. A 1080p resolution means less load on your GPU, plus, you get to enjoy 144 frames per second.
+Good for gamers with low-end and mid-range PCs
+Good performance across most sectors
-Lower resolutions makes for unsuitable day-to-day work
-Could have done with a 21:9 aspect ratio