For as long as he can remember, Charlie has always been interested in computers and gaming. It all started with the Sega Mega Drive and then evolved into PC gaming in his early teens. CS 1.6 was his first go at competitive gaming which soon evolved into CS:Source and now CS:GO - a game that he still plays (almost exclusively) today. Throughout that period he has also been a keen PC builder and enthusiast - dedicating a large portion of his time to the craft. My current rig is an ASUS 5700XT with AMD's Ryzen 3600X.
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Today we have the privilege of testing BenQ’s impressive 32″ UHD 4K Display. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to for a while now thanks to the implementation of, what BenQ are calling, true HDR and brightness intelligence plus technology. The EW3270U comes with a whole bunch of cool features such as 3000:1 contrast ratio, 300 nits brightness, 4ms GTG response time and HDR 10 support to name just a few.
BenQ are no strangers to producing fantastic monitors for both gaming and entertainment purposes and their new EW3270U is a fine example of what they’re capable of achieving. In the following article we will break down what we consider to be the main features of any display offering to see whether this 32″ monitor lives up to WEPC’s high expectations.
We’re also going to see how it compares to some of the other market leading monitors available in today’s market and whether or not the price tag it’s been branded with is truly worth the money. Let’s waste no more time and dive straight into what this monitor has to offer.
The EW3270U, How We Tested It.
A question we get asked across all of our product reviews and best of guides is how we test the products, it’s a great question. How do you as a reader and consumer know the information you’re being told is accurate?
Well, the EW3270U got dropped off a couple of weeks ago and has been my primary monitor ever since. The build that I’ve been using to test this monitor has an i5-8600 paired with an EVGA 1080Ti black edition meaning we can push this to the absolute limit of what it’s capable of.
We usually do a number of tests across several games to see how it performs, however, due to the nature of this monitor being more tailored towards entertainment viewing we’ve decided to keep that section quite brief.
In terms of entertainment, we ran several different HDR rated visuals through the screen and compared it to some of the market leaders to see how it stood up in the hope that readers would have some reference to how good this thing really is.
The first place you should be looking when purchasing a new monitor or display is the hardware specifications. In this section you will find everything you need to know about a product and whether or not it is suited to you specific user requirements.
For example, a gamer usually demands low response time and high refresh rates, whereas a film enthusiast will be more concerned with contrast ratio and HDR support. Either way, finding the right monitor for you starts in the products specifications.
Below are the specs for the EW3270U:
Physical Size and Weight
The size of this monitor is, as state above, a huge 32″. That’s diagonally for any tech newbies out there. The physical dimensions stand at 72.5cm (28.5″) x 42.8cm (17″) which is pretty excessive as far as gaming and work monitors are concerned. From an entertainment stand point however, it creates a fantastic environment for cinema style viewing which you simply don’t get from smaller displays.
It comes in at 21.6lbs which again is pretty hefty as far as monitors go, nevertheless, in real world situations the weight isn’t going to be an inconvenience any time soon. As long as you have a sturdy desk with ample support you’re going to be absolutely fine.
The recommended viewing distance for this monitor is roughly 1.8 metres away which is definitely recommended if you’re viewing film and TV, however, I’ve been using this monitor now for around a month and sit much closer than that. So far I have yet to experience any issues, we can probably thank BenQ’s impressive eye care support for this which will be touched upon shortly.
Resolution and Refresh Rate
The EW3270U boasts a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (4K), a 60Hz refresh rate, and a 4ms response time which is pretty solid for a display not geared towards gaming.
For those who are a little unfamiliar with both these aspects, below is a brief description of each.
Resolution is the number of pixels that are in the monitor. The max resolution of a monitor refers to the amount pixels vertically and horizontally. So a monitor with a maximum resolution of say 2560×1440 (1440p), it has 2,560 pixels running width wise, and 1,440 pixels running height wise.
Response time measures how fast colours change on the monitor; more specifically how fast the LEDs react to changes in colour. This is measured in milliseconds (ms). If the change happens too slowly, you can get ghosting on your images which ultimately reduced quality. As a general rule of thumb, you want to be aiming under the 4ms mark for any new monitor, however, gamers will demand much lower levels. Just be aware this will increase the shelf price of the product.
As for your refresh rate, it represents how fast your monitor can physically refresh the images that are meant to be displayed. For example, a 144Hz monitor will refresh the image 144 times in a second. The higher the number the smoother overall visual will become.
Again, gamers seek out the highest possible refresh rates in the hope of creating the smoothest possible gaming experience. For this reason alone, the EW3270U isn’t the optimal gaming monitor.
The contrast ratio is one of the most important features you need to be aware of when looking to purchase a new display, especially one that is boasting HDR support. Contrast basically means the difference between the brightest bright and the darkest dark, the ratio is purely the numbers that are given to the two fields.
The first element of contrast ratio is peak brightness, this refers to the brightest bright and is measured in ‘nits’ which can be thought of as the light emitted from a single candle. The second is black level which refer to how dark a pixel can go and again is measured in nits.
Ultimately, you want your monitor to be able to cover the greatest range of light/dark so that the images it can display have maximum levels of realism.
The EW3270U has a contrast ratio of 3000:1 and is pretty decent considering the price tag. Anything over 2000:1 is great for both gaming and entertainment purposes meaning this monitor scores well here.
Inputs are pretty simple and refer to what compatibility your monitor has with other devices. If you’re an old school gamer you’ll remember the VGA and DVI ports which are close to extinction in today’s market.
The most popular input ports nowadays are HDMI v2.0, Display port and USB Type-C. With this monitor you get HDMI v2.0, 2 x Display port 1.4 and 1 USB Type-C connector.
As far as headphones connection is concerned, you have access via a mini jack directly through the monitor.
BenQ were not messing around when they were developing features for this monitor, they’ve equipped it with all the bells and whistles you’d imagine from a high end monitor and they do not disappoint.
All the features in this display felt like they had a place and a purpose which is really refreshing, mind the pun. Sometimes, usually on cheaper monitors, you’ll find manufacturers including features which have no real functionality and are merely a marketing ploy. However, this doesn’t feel the case with the EW3270U.
Lets jump right into the best features and benefits:
Starting the features portion of this article is High-Dynamic-Range. HDR is one of the best new features available in modern day displays and helps to increase the realism of your video output by having access to a better colour gamut and a wider ratio of contrast.
“In a nutshell, HDR has one sole purpose and that is to create a more realistic image by balancing the contrast between the bright and the dark (the dynamic range) whilst maintaining a wide colour gamut. By doing this it allows the user to perceive colours more vividly helping achieve a more realistic, lifelike image.”
You’ll probably already be quite familiar with HDR as it’s fairly mainstream within the TV universe, however, it’s taken a little longer to be fully incorporate itself within the PC domain. This is probably thanks to the increase in monitor prices that comes with adding features such as HDR. Fortunately though, we are starting to see much more affordable HDR monitors hit the shelves which is great for gamers and PC enthusiasts alike.
Game developers seem to be incorporating HDR support into all the latest games now which will drive HDR ready monitors ultimately reducing the cost.
HDR is also superb for supportive video content, it really does create an immersive, realistic experience that was once not possible.
FreeSync is a technology from AMD that allows their GPUs to sync with a monitor’s refresh rate. To stop screen tearing, Freesync allows the refresh rate and the FPS of your game to sync together so that your GPU doesn’t flood the monitor with too many frames. This creates a super smooth playing experience since your monitor will only refresh when a new frame is available;
Super resolution is a pretty cool little feature but one that I can’t foresee being a deal breaker anytime soon. To put it simply, it’s a way of boosting a poor quality image by upscaling the pixel density. In turn, this delivers an image with higher clarity and more vivid colours for better viewing enjoyment.
I can’t say I’ve been in a scenario where this feature has been utilized but one day it might happen. This is the only feature on the monitor that is, for now, considered a little pointless.
Brightness Intelligence Plus
Brightness Intelligence+ (B.I.+) is a feature benQ have been adding to their monitors for a while now and is a technology which automatically reduces screen brightness based on your surround light.
The ambient light sensor at the front of the monitor detects light levels and colour temperature in your current environment, based on what the sensor detects, the screen will automatically adjust the on-screen brightness to best suit your requirements.
The adjustments occur in such a way to not affect the viewers experience and will alter depending on how long the monitor has been in use for. Just another part of the Eye care package BenQ provide.
This is a feature that can be turned on or off, and you have the option of fine-tuning the sensor in the settings.
One of the best, and most relevant, features this monitor has to offer is BenQ’s eye-care technology. It’s something they’ve implemented to try reduce the damage caused by extended periods of usage. The 3 main pillars that make up the eye-care tech are B.I.+, reduced blue light and eliminated screen flicker.
B.I.+ has already been touched upon above so we’ll jump straight into their reduced blue light feature. As many will know, strong blue light can be harmful to the human eye over long periods of time, and monitors produce a lot of this.
The Blue light technology actually removes blue light and harmful radiation from the image whilst still maintaining maximum levels of quality and vibrancy. It also reduced eye irritation and fatigue meaning you can view for longer whilst being exposed to less radiation.
Screen flicker is probably more harmful to your eye than the blue light, and that’s why BenQ are incorporating flicker-free technology into all their latest product offerings. The worst thing about screen flicker is the naked eye can’t visualize it, meaning we are willingly damaging our eyes without even knowing.
BenQ knows this and has eliminated the screen flicker all together, again helping to reduce eye strain. They’ve really put in the work when it comes to eye safety with their monitors.
I’ll not lie, the EW3270U has really impressed me since switching from the ASUS ROG PG278QR. The first thing I noticed was how intensely in your face it was, 32″ is a large monitor for everyday usage. I initially had to move the monitor as far back as possible until I calibrated it to my specific needs.
The first half an hour was spent on excel and I found myself straining my eyes due to the brightness, it was at this stage that I decided to engage the B.I.+ feature which to my surprise, worked wonders. The automated screen adjustment toned down the brightness perfectly making life much more enjoyable again.
When I finally got round to setting up this monitor, I found that choosing my desired settings was really easy and user friendly. The front toggle button used to setup HDR and B.I.+ was very convenient and provided on the fly visual changes which I found extremely practical.
The 5 buttons underneath the front panel seemed slightly neglected as they have no tags or labels, meaning you just have to aimlessly press them until you find what you’re looking for. However, the on-screen menu is helpful and pretty easy to use once you get used to it.
To talk about the physical elements for a minute, I was pretty disappointed with the minute level of screen adjustments you got with this monitor. The stand can only be tilted back and forth whilst having zero height adjustment. Considering the monitor is so big, this probably won’t be a huge issue but i’d rather have the facility than not.
BenQ have equipped this monitor with mounting holes at the rear so consumers can make use of a better stand or wall mounting which was a nice touch. It certainly wouldn’t look out of place on a wall either.
The HDR, for me, was pretty impressive and made both games and film much more realistic and vibrant. However, the 3000:1 contrast ratio doesn’t quite meet HDR regulations so BenQ have had to adopt dynamic contrast ratio, which sits at 20M:1. Nevertheless, my viewing experience was certainly heightened when utilizing the HDR feature so it gets a thumbs up from me.
Disappointingly, this monitor only has a refresh rate of 60Hz so it really isn’t ideal for gaming, especially if you a running a high end build. The rig i’m using currently can pump out over 120FPS on games like PUBG, meaning my monitor was flooded with double the frames it could process in a second.
The resolution was a definite plus for me, the 4k UHD looked superb especially when viewing movies that could support both HDR and 4K. Having 4K and HDR enabled simultaneously really helps to immerse the user into whatever there viewing which is something I really appreciated.
Ultimately, what we have here is a brilliant entertainment display which is going to make movie nights and general media consumption a fantastic all round experience.
Is it Worth The Money?
If what you’re looking for is a large gaming monitor with some cool features like HDR and B.I.+ then i’d probably say this monitor isn’t the one to go for, and that’s strictly based upon it’s response time and refresh rate.
Gaming aside, the monitor works perfectly and would be a great addition to anyone’s entertainment setup, however, gamer’s require a minimum of 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time to fully maximize their user experience. So for me, it’s not a gaming display.
As far as entertainment goes, I would definitely be recommending this screen. It’s a large monitor which has magnificent picture and image output thanks to the colour gamut and wide contrast ratio. So for that purpose, at the current price of just north of $400, we think its excellent value for money and would highly recommend.
Why not leave us a comment with what your thought of this monitor? We will happily answer any questions you have that didn’t get covered in the review below!