BenQ recently gave me an opportunity to take a look at one of their most up to date gaming and media 4K HDR monitors, the EW3270U. BenQ is no rookie when it comes to some of the best quality monitors available especially if you’re a gamer so it’s always a good thing to be able to try out the next new thing. BenQ’s latest effort focuses on HDR content as well as 4K gaming which is perfect for me since as of the past year I not only built a brand new gaming PC but also to play higher res games. On top of that, I upgraded to the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X. Now, my gaming is next level and the EW3270U is exactly what I needed. That’s what this review is about.
I’ve had the EW3270U for about two weeks and just like with any piece of technology I always step back and take a good look at it and give it thorough visual examination before I power it on. Once I got a good look at the design, I knew I would like this monitor right away. The size of this monitor is the attraction. I currently own a Samsung 27″ monitor and while I didn’t think the 32″ would make much difference, surprisingly, it makes a big difference. You get a lot of screen real estate and for $699 it’s right on par with the current market and easily a great pick up if you’re in need of a great gaming monitor or just a great multimedia monitor.
Design & Ports
Stylistically there isn’t much to this monitor but it’s not a negative. It’s not a monitor that boasts a futuristic design. That’s ok. I love the minimalism. It’s square-shaped, super clean and gives my desk a certain sophistication. What you get is a 32″ monitor with give or take half-inch bezels around the sides and top with about an inch at the chin. In the middle of the chin is the Brightness Intelligence sensor, further to the right underneath are the function buttons, LED lit power button and on the bottom right above the power button is the HDR resolution toggle. Simple. The stand is a sturdy heavy weighted base that allows for the monitor to tilt back and forth. I’m wondering why BenQ opted for this as opposed to a height adjustable lift. No matter, this monitor is VESA mount capable anyway. The back of the monitor boasts two HDMI ports, 1 display port slot and a USB type-C port. All of the bells and whistles that you would come to expect in a monitor in 2018 are here.
Specs & Function
If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while then you know I’m not a big fan of specs. It’s not that they don’t matter, they do and I know some people base their purchases on them and that’s fine. I just believe that specs don’t always speak to the experience that you will have as much they speak for the experience that you should have, but for those who need to have them, have at it. This monitor has got it all covered in the spec department. If you put all of these great specs together what you get is a monitor that will offer you some of the best visual experiences that you can imagine. I’ve used it thus far with my PS4 Pro, Xbox One X and my 4K UHD Blu-Ray player.
Screen Size: 32 Inches
Resolution: 3840 x 2160 4K UHD
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Panel Technology: Vertical Alignment (VA)
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Response Time: 4ms
Contrast Ratio: 3000:1 (Static)
Brightness: 300 cd/m²
Built-in Speakers: Yes (2 x 2 Watts)
Stand: Height – No
Stand: Tilt – Yes (-5°/+20°)
Stand: Swivel – No
Stand: Pivot – No
VESA Compatibility: Yes 100 x 100
Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2 x 1,, HDMI 2.0 x 2, USB-C x 1, 3.5mm Jack
Dimensions with Stand(WxHxD): 28.6” x 20.56” x 8.47?
Aside from just being a great monitor for media it’s also great for productivity. Since this monitor has a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 that gives you a ton of screen space for a number of different tasks that you can perform simultaneously. The USB type-c port in the back allows for you to connect your Macbook or any laptop that supports USB Type-C. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of the latter meaning I don’t have a Macbook or laptop with USB Type-C to test out the display connectivity but my Note 8 does use USB Type-C and being able to have my phone screen blown up on this monitor is a plus. Nothing like being able to use your phone fullscreen and be able to get a charge as well. For those that have laptops that use USB type-c, this monitor is great as an extra display or a full display if you want to keep your laptop closed and work off of the larger screen.
BI+ and other features
An overlooked feature that I didn’t notice right away was the BIS (Brightness Intelligence Sensor) in terms of how it worked with BI+ (Brightness Intelligence Plus). On a personal level, I tend to stay up late at night a lot of the time writing reviews, researching, Netflix, and gaming. Although I normally rely on the natural light in my apartment, once it gets later into the day and subsequently darker I have to manually change the setting on my PC or Macbook to make it easier on my eyes. With this monitor, the BIS and BI+ make adjustments to the brightness and color temperature on screen to be safer on the eyes over extended periods of time. I never realized the importance of having a feature like that until my vision got progressively worse over time and I imagine that its partially due to all of the time I’ve spent in front of bright computer screens, whether it be at work, school or at home. Great feature of this monitor. BI+ used in conjunction with the Low Blue Light feature is great for long hours of productivity. This monitor has a host of different features to make the experience that you intend to have favorable to your vision and workflow.
The BenQ EW3270U is a VA panel monitor. There are three types of monitors overall. VA, IPS and TN. The science behind these three monitor types is complex and I won’t begin to try to explain it but if you need to know exactly what each monitor type does, then you can check this out from the good fols at Trustedreviews.com for some in depth explanation HERE. What I do understand about this monitor is that the VA panel gives you some advantages and some disadvantages. BenQ’s VA panel gives you really good blacks, high brightness, good contrast and color accuracy. The EW3270U comes with a matte finish and it takes a little bit of getting used to because it’s glare coating associated with matte finishes and not as vibrant as a glossy screen, you’ll get it over quickly once you start watching your content and start gaming. You’ll see how good this panel really is.
Viewing angles. I actually find this to be a very misleading spec. Viewing angles are really just an exercise in nitpicking if you ask me. Yes, colors will appear different at times when you look at your monitor at an off or awkward angle but they are so subtle sometimes that they’re barely noticeable to the untrained eye (Which is most people). Also, there are a lot of things to consider when judging viewing angles. The lighting conditions, position of the monitor and the actual angle you are at. I know that there are tons of reasons to care about viewing angles. I just think it shouldn’t be the reason you do or don’t buy a monitor. Chances are, 98% of the time you’ll be directly in front of your monitor at your desk anyway. That being said, I won’t get into it. The EW3270U looks great when you sit in front it. Bottom line.
If there is one thing about this monitor that I absolutely dislike, it’s the speakers. To be fair I don’t expect blow away speakers from a PC monitor but I do expect them to be better than these. The speakers here are very tinny sounding and similar to the speakers on my cell phone in terms of the audio quality. That’s not a good thing. Luckily for me, I use a set of monitor speakers that take away the option of having to use the native speakers. I strongly suggest you do the same. This is the only issue with this monitor that I actually have. In all fairness, monitors normally don’t have speakers but if a company decides to make that decision, you shall be judged.
Should I buy this Monitor?
The first question you should ask is “Who’s this monitor for?”. It’s for the multitasker. It’s for the person that loves media and spends a lot of their time at their desk consuming it. It’s for gamers. BenQ does gaming. They do it well. Gaming on this monitor was and is a pleasure. At $699 it’s competitively priced for a 32″ monitor. Yes, there are monitors that can offer you more but not many of them can do it at 32″ for $700. Look it up. Once you get into more advanced function and features, add on a couple of hundred dollars more. Now you’re spending $1000. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things I would have liked to see with this monitor that were omitted. The EW3270U is devoid of USB ports, this monitor isn’t height adjustable nor can it rotate, and maybe the fact that this panel isn’t an IPS panel is an issue. Despite the minor issues with this monitor, it’s easily a monitor that I can say with no uncertainty that you should buy. It’s not too big and not too small. Once you get into 34″ ultrawide panels and above you now have space concerns as well as price. 27″ panels are nice but nowadays, I find 27″ to be somewhat small and I own a 27″ monitor. BenQ was kind enough to loan this to me and I know I’m going to suffer from withdrawals going back to my current monitor. It’s cool. I had a great time with this one.