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BenQ EX3200R – Review

BenQ EX3200R – Review

The BenQ EX3200R is a huge, curved monitor that’s designed for movies, TV and gaming – but its £350 price means it needs to impress if it’s going to find a regular spot on our desk.


The EX3200R is a striking and distinctive panel for two reasons: its curved screen and its huge 31.5in diagonal.

BenQ claims that those two factors combine for an improved entertainment experience. We’ve no quibbles with the curve, which does a great job of wrapping around the user. It delivers marginal improvements to movies, and it has a huge impact in games – especially in fast-paced driving and FPS titles, which really benefit from the extra space on either side.

The panel beneath the curved glass is a VA unit. Any screen technology will have various pros and cons, but it makes sense for BenQ to deploy this kind of monitor: VA screens usually have great contrast and black levels alongside good viewing angles. VA technology usually has good response times, too, which is important for gaming – although their colour accuracy can sometimes be weaker.

It’s an 8-bit panel, which means it can display 16.7 million colours – a fine figure, but not as many as the 1.07 billion that a 10-bit screen can pump out. That’s fine for entertainment, though – only those doing proper work really need true 10-bit technology.

The huge curved screen makes a big first impression, then, but it’s not all good news. The BenQ only has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, which is a mixed bag: the panel’s pixels are pretty obvious, and it doesn’t afford a huge amount of real estate when compared to the 2,560 x 1,440 resolutions found on similarly-priced flat screens.

It’s a 16:9 panel, which means more games and applications will be compatible with the screen – but it also means that 21:9 movies will still have black borders.

On the plus side, it means that weaker graphics cards will still be able to run games smoothly on this panel. That’s certainly not the case on other curved screens, which can stretch to 3,440 x 1,440.

The lower resolution also bodes well for AMD FreeSync. This technology synchronises game framerates to the refresh rate of the screen, which means there’s no screen tearing, ghosting or stuttering. It’s the best way to get butter-smooth gameplay, and on this panel it functions between 45Hz and 144Hz – so long as your graphics card can run a game at between 45fps and 144fps.

It worked perfectly when we tried it on the BenQ, and we certainly prefer AMD FreeSync to Nvidia’s own G-Sync, which requires proprietary hardware that increases the cost of monitors. Bear in mind that to use AMD FreeSync at 144Hz you’ll need to use DisplayPort, because HDMI 1.4 can only manage a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz.

This large, curved screen weighs 9.1kg, which is on the heavy side, but at least it’s easy to build. The stand snaps into place on the back of the screen, and the base attaches with a single pre-installed screw. It’s a well-made bit of kit, and it looks decent too: the base is made from chrome-effect metal, and the screen is ringed with unobtrusive, dark plastic.

It uses an external power brick, so it’s thinner than many other monitors, and it has a faceplate and cable-routing hole – handy for keeping wires tidy.

The BenQ has 60mm of height adjustment and can be tilted back and forwards, but that’s it – there’s not option to swivel the screen from side-to-side, or move the panel into a portrait position. Those options are more common on conventional screens without curves.

The EX3200R’s buttons are hidden beneath the right-hand side of the bezel, and the on-screen display is easy enough to use. There are quick links to switch between screen modes and alter the contrast and brightness, and opening the full menu reveals more options for tweaking – including low blue light options, colour temperature alterations and power-saving modes. It’s easy enough to use, even if the menu itself is a bit pixellated and basic.

The BenQ does have several niggling issues, although none are dealbreakers. The single HDMI port and two DisplayPort connectors face downwards and are positioned behind the panel’s plastic rear, which makes them tricky to access. There aren’t any USB 3 ports on this panel, either, and there aren’t any speakers – although any entertainment aficionados will surely connect their own audio kit.

Full Specification

Panel Type: VA
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Display Size: 31.5in
Quoted Contrast Ratio: 3,000:1
Viewing Angle: 178°/178°
Colours: 16.7m 8-bit
Quoted Brightness: 300cd/m2
Quoted Response Time: 4ms
AMD FreeSync range: 45Hz-144Hz
Connectivity: 1 x HDMI 1.4, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x MiniDisplayPort 1.2, 1 x audio
Weight: 9.1kg
Dimensions: 727 x 224 x 530mm
Warranty: 2yr RTB


The BenQ gets off to a good start with a solid set of benchmark results at factory settings. Its brightness level of 259cd/m2 is ample for games and movies, and the black level of 0.066cd/m2 is stunning – it means black levels in games and films will be top-notch.

The contrast of 3,924:1 is fantastic, too, and that also contributes to great gaming – it means that subtle shades will be picked out properly and that colours will be rich and vibrant across the entire gamut.

The BenQ pairs its stunning contrast with reasonable colours. Its average Delta E measurement of 1.7 is decent rather than spectacular, and it returned a colour temperature of 6,223K. That’s a tiny bit warmer than the 6,500K ideal figure, but it’s not enough of a gap to be noticeable in movies and games.

Those decent colour figures are backed up by a reasonable gamut coverage level. The BenQ can churn out 92.8% of the sRGB colour gamut, and only fell short when display some red, pink, green and light blue shades. That’s a good result – you’ll only get better gamut coverage levels from work panels or gaming screens that cost hundreds of pounds more.

It’s a rapid panel, too – the screen’s average response time of 16.1ms is comfortably under the 20ms marker that’s used when judging gaming screens. The great response time combines with the 144Hz operation to ensure a smooth gaming experience, and only the keenest competitive players will need to search out something faster.

The screen’s large size does mean that uniformity falters slightly. The BenQ’s backlight lost more than 13% of its brightness along the top of the screen, with nearly 7% of its strength vanishing at the bottom of the panel. That figure sat at 11% along the left and right sides.

Colour temperature was affected by the size of the panel, too, with the screen warming up by around 3% along the top edge of the screen.

Both of those figures are a little higher than we’d expect from smaller flat panels, with the best screens keeping the backlight figure below 10%. These are only minor issues and won’t affect gaming or movies, as the figures aren’t divergent enough to be noticeable to the human eye – but they do preclude the BenQ from serious, colour-sensitive work tasks.

As usual, this screen includes several modes designed for different tasks – but, as usual, most of them aren’t worth considering. The Cinema option saw the average Delta E decline to 2.08. The Gamer mode saw the Delta E result worsen to 2.66 and also upped the colour temperature to 9,316K, which is far too cool – the screen was hindered by a distracting blue pall. The Photo option suffered similarly.

The sRGB mode is the only one worth using. The average Delta E improved to 1.27, and the contrast was raised to 4,263:1 – although we’d tone down the brightness, which sat at a retina-searing 341cd/m2.


There’s a lot to like about BenQ’s latest entertainment panel, but there’s no getting away from the EX3200R’s various trade-offs. Its curved screen is especially pleasing for gaming, but its 1,920 x 1,080 resolution is lower than the 2,560 x 1,440 that’s found on flatscreens in this price range. This screen doesn’t have as much versatility as its more conventional rivals, either.

Quality is generally good, with stunning contrast and black levels paired with solid colour accuracy – the uniformity levels and different screen modes aren’t as impressive, but they’re minor issues that won’t affect gaming and movies.

The BenQ EX3200R is a good screen for gaming and entertainment thanks to its curved design and solid quality, but this £420 panel will involve a bit of compromise – if you’re willing to accept its lower resolution to get that curved design, it’s a worthwhile investment.

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BenQ EX3200R
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Mike Jennings

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