BenQ EX3203R – The 1440p upgrade you didn’t know you needed.
When it comes to choosing a monitor for your computer, there are always a ton of choices-- both good and bad-- for your situation.
Need something small to monitor performance on the fly? 5” LCD monitors with ribbon HDMI cables are easily available. Want something great for gaming that’s not going to break the bank? Most top monitor brands have 1080p gaming monitors in the 20”-26” range for great prices.
But then there are the enthusiast monitors. You know the ones-- overly large, high refresh rates, enough features to write a small book about. These monitors are also becoming readily available, and that’s exactly what we’re here to talk about today: The BenQ EX3203R.
- Large (32”)
- Great Color
- VA panel
- Large Screens Aren’t for everyone
- No power eco mode
- 4ms response; could be faster
Easily the most impressive monitor I’ve had the pleasure of using. Images are sharp and crisp, and HDR content looks great. The curved display makes viewing all of the monitor easier on the eyes. Highly recommended if you’re looking to up your monitor game.
EX320R - Large monitor, or TV?
When BenQ told us they’d like to sponsor one of our articles, I jumped at the chance. I’ve watched BenQ monitors get increasingly better over the years, and I personally now run one of their 26” models as a side monitor.
What I wasn’t expecting was the sheer BEHEMOTH that showed up at my door.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the BenQ EX3203R-- the first monitor I’ve had to haul in my hatchback (and it took up the whole hatch). This is a 32” curved 1440p LED monitor.
Now, I understand my Hyundai Veloster is not exactly large, but I still had to fold down both of my back seats to fit the box for this thing in there. Its out of the box presence was just as impressive once I got it set up at my desk for testing.
The specifications on this monitor are pretty impressive. I wasn’t expecting something so large, that also came with some updated tech. I especially enjoyed the USB display input.
- ResolutionQuad-HD 1440P
- Screen Size32”
- Screen TypeLED
- Response4ms GtG
- Refresh Rate144Hz
- Contrast Ratio3000:1
- Flicker-free technologyYes
- Low blue lightYes
- Brightness Intelligence Plus (B.I.+)Yes
Physical Size and Weight
As stated above, this monitor is huge coming in at 32” diagonally (which is how screen size is determined). This gives us a total monitor area of 437 inches (2823 cm). For reference, a 24” 16:9 monitor has a total area of 246 inches (1588 cm). That’s an additional 77% extra usable monitor space.
The total HxWxD size specifications for the monitor are 21.1x28x8.77 inches (536x712.69x223.87mm).
This monitor does come in at a pretty hefty 18 pounds. This probably won’t be an issue for most, but if you’re using a glass desk with thin glass or a shelf to set your monitor on, 18 pounds is quite a bit heavier than the standard monitor so keep that in mind.
With a curvature rating of 1800R, this monitor is also perfect if you have a desk that’s not very deep and will need to sit closer to the monitor. 1800R is a measure of the curvature and indicates that the curvature is a radius of 1800mm. Taking into account the size and curvature, the recommend sitting distance for this monitor would be about 1.8 meters away.
However, I sat much closer than this during my time with it and had no problems with image quality or eye fatigue.
Personally, I felt the curved screen was a great choice. The field of vision for the human eye is already in a curvature, so when you’re staring at a monitor, it helps it feel more natural when it’s curved.
Resolution and Refresh Rate
The EX3203R boasts a resolution of 2560×1440 (1440p, or QHD), a 144Hz refresh rate, and a 4ms response time.
Let’s discuss these in some more detail below.
This monitor is a 1440p display. If you’ve been wanting to upgrade from a 1080p monitor, but don’t have the money to run a 4K setup, then is a great, widely supported middle option.
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 colors change on the monitor; the LEDs have to react and change as well. This is measured in milliseconds (ms). If the change happens too slowly, you can get ghosting on your images. In general, you should always look for 5 ms or under when it comes to gaming, as such this monitor’s 4ms response time is pretty normal.
As for your refresh rate, it represents how many frames per second your monitor can possibly display and is measured in Hz. 60Hz monitors are probably the most common, but if you want a smoother image, especially while gaming, then the EX3203R’s 144Hz refresh rate isn’t out of the ordinary for some higher-end gaming rigs.
The contrast ratio of a monitor can be very important as it’s a measure of the darkest darks and brightest brights. More specifically, contrast ratio is measured by the number of shades it takes to turn black to white. The more shades it takes, the more color range the monitor has.
The EX3203R native contrast ratio is 3000:1. This would mean that there are 2999 shades of grey between the monitor’s blackest black and its whitest white. 3000:1 is a great contrast ratio, but it gets even better thanks to HDR, which we discuss below.
This monitor is top of the line and current when it comes to inputs. You get: 2x HDMI v2.0, Display Port, and USB-C. It should be noted though, that if you choose to use USB-C as the input, your refresh rate is limited to only 60Hz, as there’s not enough bandwidth for higher.
As for media inputs, this monitor is equipped with 2x USB 3.1, and an auxiliary port for headphones.
Reading through all the features that this monitor comes equipped with could almost make you dizzy there are so many. Luckily, they all feel like they have a reason to be included.
I never felt like the features were just “there”. I actually ended up using most of them, and the one feature I didn’t have a need for (Super Resolution, discussed below), I’m sure I’ll end up using it later on down the road for some retro gaming.
Starting the features portion of this list is High-Dynamic-Range. One of the biggest things that contributes to how good a picture looks is the range of colors and the contrast that can be displayed.
HDR increases that range significantly, allowing for much deeper, richer colors and much brighter images.
This was my first time using an HDR monitor so I wasn’t sure if it would be a pain to set up. Luckily, this monitor made it incredibly easy. Just select HDR from the display settings built into the monitor, and turn HDR on in Windows and any program with the feature.
I decided to use Destiny 2 as a test subject and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The changes are night and day.
I wanted to use screenshots for this, but screenshots don’t capture the HDR metadata and end up just looking washed out. But both of the above pictures were taken at the same time, and haven’t been retouched. You can see how much richer the game looks.
I know a lot of people aren’t completely sold on HDR content yet, but I wasn’t able to adjust the settings for Destiny 2 and get the brights and darks to a level that was pleasing.
FreeSync is a technology from AMD that allows their GPUs to sync with a monitor’s refresh rate. This allows the refresh rate and the FPS of your game to sync together. This creates a super smooth playing experience since your monitor will only refresh when a new frame is available; it will also help eliminate screen tearing.
Sometimes when you’re using a monitor, and you need to run a resolution with a different aspect ratio (say your monitor is a 16:9 and you need to run something at 4:3), there can be changes and distortions in your image.
Super Resolution allows the non-native resolution to run freely, without fear of distortion.
Brightness Intelligence Plus
Brightness Intelligence Plus (B.I.+) is a feature BenQ added along with HDR to help with bright spots in your images. Sometimes a scene or image is a little brighter than you’d like it to be, and this will try and soften those bright areas.
It does this by using a built-in sensor to detect the ambient light around the monitor. It decides if the image needs to be warmed or cooled, and it adjusts the color temperature accordingly.
This also helps with eye strain, since there won’t be as many bright spots glaring into your eyes while you use it. I used this monitor both during the day and night and never felt like my eyes were being strained.
This is a feature that can be turned on or off, and you have the option of fine-tuning the sensor in the settings.
BenQ has gone above and beyond to make sure their monitors are causing as little harm to your eyes as possible. Along with B.I.+, they’ve added their Eye-Care technology.
There are two main things that Eye-Care brings to the table: reduce strong blue light and eliminate screen flicker.
Strong blue light can be harmful to the human eye over long periods of time; monitors produce a lot of blue light. This monitor comes with blue light eliminating tech, a way to reduce the harmful blue light that is typically found in monitors without changing the color balance.
This leaves you with a great looking image, without the harm to your eyes.
Screen flicker is another big one that’s harmful to your eyes. Screens typically flicker, usually fast enough that you can’t see it, but it’s still happening. This can cause strain and fatigue on your eyes.
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 and their monitors.
My main monitor is a 27” curved 144Hz screen, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when testing the EX3203R. I only sit 2.5-3 feet away from my monitor, so I feared this 32” behemoth would be too big and that I’d be too close.
After getting everything hooked up, I sat down at the desk and realized that even though I was way closer than the suggested 1.8 meters, the monitor didn’t feel too big, which I largely attribute to the viewing angle and curved screen.
Messing with the settings for my initial setup was a breeze. Everything is well labeled, and the monitor controls are intuitive.
As mentioned above, once in HDR mode this monitor has a crazy contrast ratio, and you can certainly tell. I love how much richer and more full the content looks with HDR enabled.
I went from a triple monitor, 1080p setup to this single 32” 1440p monitor. While I still missed having at least 1 extra monitor so I didn’t need to alt-tab during gaming sessions, the rest of the time I never missed the other monitors.
The monitor is large enough and has a high enough resolution that I could use this single monitor the same I normally use my multi-monitor setup.
After using this monitor for a few days, I can say that I can’t recommend this monitor enough. If you’re looking to upgrade to a large monitor, then I say look no further than the BenQ EX3203R.