It’s no secret that I personally have an affinity for BenQ monitors. I have two of them in my home in my personal life so when the opportunity comes up to review another one of their high end entertainment/gaming monitors come up, I’ll always jump on it.
BenQ hit me up awhile back to review their latest 4k entertainment monitor the EW3280U. Here at G Style I cover gaming primarily and typically don’t always engage in products that don’t have that singular focus. This time however, I was intrigued. The two monitors that I use in my home are the same. I’m currently using the BenQ EX3203R curved gaming monitor. It’s great. Curved, 1440p resolution, 144hz screen refresh and 1ms input time. Perfect for gaming. The EW3280U is an incredible monitor but for very different reasons than the monitors I use daily. While you can use the EX3203R for anything, it’s not really for everything. The EW3280U is different. It’s for everyone and everything. It’s also in 4K so the screen is gorgeous and the design is modern and clean. I fell in love with it. Let me tell you why at the risk of sounding a little biased.
SETUP, DESIGN, PORTS & FUNCTION
If it’s one thing that BenQ does well, it’s design and aesthetic. A lot of companies do it well but BenQ does it their way. With their monitors you’ll always get clean lines, small bezels, lightweight form factor and something that you can put on your desk that makes you look like a millionaire boss. This is the vibe that their entertainment/gaming monitors give off.
The EW3280U is pretty. It’s copper colored/accented with a very minimalist boxy style design. When you look at it after it’s all assembled, you’ll know that it’s got a very clean modern look when you sit it on your desk. The screen is flat, the monitor stand completes and compliments the overall look of the monitor as a whole. The monitors’ form factor makes it easy to mount a webcam and the monitor stand has a pull out cover on the back that allows you to tuck cables away thus completing the clean look for your desk.
As far other general functions, in the front on the bottom part of the monitor you have the ambient light sensor that controls the brightness of the screen based on the lighting of the environment. In the back on the underside are your standard HDMI ports, Displayport and USB type-C connection. On the front left underside you have a manual volume control which is a godsend and the on rearside right you have the manual menu controls if you opt to not use the remote control (Also, a godsend nowadays). This monitor handles all of the ports, function and setup easily. I set this monitor up out of the box with a screwdriver in about 7 minutes. Super easy. BenQ gets an “B+” grade for setup and design.
The EW3280U is an incredible monitor and with that comes a ton of technology. BenQ is not one to cut corners when to comes to what they build and this monitor is no different. While I never pay too much attention to specs because I’m a firm believer that specs don’t always speak to the experience you’ll ultimately have. They are important though. Here is full rundown of the inner guts of BenQ EW3280U.
Screen Size – 32
Resolution (max.) – 3840×2160
Panel Type – IPS
Backlight Technology – LED backlight
Brightness – HDR off 350 (typ)/HDR on 400 (min)
Native Contrast(typ.), 1000:1, Viewing Angle (L/R;U/D) (CR>=10), 178/178
Response Time – 5ms (GtG)
Refresh Rate – 60Hz
Aspect Ratio – 16:9
Display Colors – 1.07 billion colors
Color Gamut – 95% DCI-P3
Display Area(mm) – 708.5mm x 398.5mm
PPI – 138
DCR (Dynamic Contrast Ratio) – 20,000,000 : 1
Color Bit – 10 bit
Eye Care – ZeroFlicker Technology, Low Blue Light, Brightness Intelligence plus (B.I.+), Color Weakness, ePaper mode, Eye Reminder
Freesync – Yes
Audio – Built-in Speaker, Stereo speaker 2W*2 + Woofer 5W *1
USING THE EW3280U DAILY DURING LOCKDOWN
Due to unfortunate events globally we’re all kind of stuck at home due to reasons we all know (I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy). BenQ sent me this monitor at the perfect time. Since I’ve been home, all I can do is consume content and really get a feel for what this monitor can really do. It’s an unusual element to add to a review but it’s pertinent here.
I’ve haven’t had a ton of interaction with 4k monitors and mostly by choice. I never saw the need and I was never overly impressed by 4k. I don’t game in 4k either. This monitor did change my mind quite a bit because I’ve been using it everyday. My content looks so much better and this monitor has a lot to offer. Watching Netflix in 4K has been a very different experience. Gaming in 4k has been fun yes and it’s gorgeous although I’ll probably continue to game in 1440p but this monitor opened my eyes to why people game in 4K. Everyday use has given me so much time to analyze the experience. This monitor is a true entertainment experience. You’ll get sucked into all that good resolution, but if you find yourself spending too much time in front of this screen just remember that the EW3280U just like most of BenQ’s higher end monitors have that eye-care technology built in which is particularly important. You get that low blue light option, color weakness and an eye reminder to help you reduce eye strain.
The BenQ EW3280U has some pretty good front facing speakers and it’s a bonus because nowadays you’d have to look a little bit to not only find a high end monitor with speakers but speakers that sound as good as these because monitor speakers genuinely suck. Shockingly, I didn’t find myself having to use my speaker setup very often to watch content, play games or listen to my music. The speakers here were more than sufficient and they add a great deal of additional value to this monitor.
The EW3280U has been my savior during this period of time because I was able to sit in front of my desk and be productive since I’m also working from home and not have to turn on my TV to watch one thing while working. This monitor gets a lockdown grade “A” for getting me through this and continuing to do so.
GAMING ON THE EW3280U
Gaming isn’t necessarily a reason to buy this monitor but you can game on it. The IPS display will give you very good colors, decent blacks and an overall solid experience when playing your games. There are caveats, especially if you’re PC gaming and it’s not exclusive to the display. How you play your games and how they look on PC will be dependent on the hardware you have and your GPU.
The consensus these days is that you must have a monitor with a minimum 100Hz or above refresh rate if you want to play your games at their best. This is partially true. It depends on the type of gamer you are and the games you play. If you’re playing Call of Duty that refresh rate is a big plus, but if you’re playing Civ VI or Monopoly than having 100hz or greater won’t offer you any real advantage. This monitor has a fixed refresh rate of 60Hz. It’s not bad. It’s average. You can still play your games just fine with no problem even at 60Hz so don’t feed the hypebeast. This is not a monitor for competitive gaming. There are monitors specifically for that so if that’s your bag, then this monitor isn’t for you, get a competition monitor.
Freesync is the adaptive screen technology of choice on this monitor so if you have an AMD GPU then you’re golden, but even if you’re rocking something from Nvidia you can still enjoy Freesync if you enable it in the Nvidia Control Panel and you’re all good.
Gaming in HDR is also available on this monitor. What this monitor does better than the monitors I own is utilize HDR very well. The colors really pop here and your games will look gorgeous. You get three modes. Cinema, Game, and Display. All give you a different variation in color palette, color temperature and brightness.
THE BENQ EW3280U IS A 4K MONITOR FOR EVERYONE
Shopping for a monitor is getting harder and harder with so many options being available with great specs on the lower and higher end of the budget spectrum. At about $800 this monitor is not at all cheap. You do get a lot for the price though. Design, build quality, HDR capability, good quality speakers, remote control and function are the things that matter in the make up of the price. Yes, you can probably find a monitor that will give you 4K quality resolution and maybe a higher refresh rate for less money but that’s not why you would buy this particular monitor.
What you get for your $800 bucks is a total experience. While I’ve used 4k monitors before, I’ve never gotten the opportunity to use one for this length of time. I tend to be very set in my ways once I figure out what works best for me. This monitor opened me up to the possibility of buying this monitor and replacing one of my other monitors at home. The whole “entertainment” monitor thing didn’t make sense to me but I get it now. I’ve been pleased with this monitor from BenQ. While, I do have to return it to BenQ as it’s only a review unit I’m gonna ride the wave until I can’t anymore. It’s been so much fun just watching everything at the highest possible quality and seeing the difference. There’s no doubt in my mind that anyone that picks one of these monitors up will thoroughly enjoy it. If you’re looking to grab one of these premium monitors you can do straight from BenQ right HERE and see what it’s all about.