A superior monitor for the casual gamer


After watching an awesome 45-minute demo in January, BenQ gave me the opportunity to demo his 32 inch BenQ EW3280U 4K HDR Entertainment Monitor with HDRi technology. I played with this amazing product for about three weeks.

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One essential thing to note is that while this monitor has gaming capabilities, it is supposed to provide a superior visual and sound experience for all types of digital entertainment. Priced at $ 799.99, this is a Mercedes Benz of monitors with more premium features than anyone has ever needed. BenQ’s target user here is the casual gamer.

Compare that with the monitors that appeal to competitive, esports-oriented gamers who prioritize speed over picture quality. These monitors are also much smaller, ranging from around 24 to 27 inches. BenQ manufactures monitors specifically for competitive gaming under its Zowie Mark.

The HDRi lighting technology of the BenQ EW3280U monitor

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A major aspect of this monitor is its HDRi lighting technology. On the BenQ EW3280U monitor, a responsive sensor continuously analyzes the light levels in the monitor environment. When the lighting changes, the monitor reacts to these changes instantly.

If it is bright, the screen will compensate so as to make the image more vibrant. If it is dark, the image will darken to prevent the viewer from feeling eye strain. The monitor reflects these adjustments quickly. Viewers won’t notice these changes unless there is a major leap, like someone turning on a light in a dark room. Overall, it helps a person immerse themselves in a dark, gloomy scene that follows an action-packed daytime scene.

Many games and shows already incorporate HDR technology, which is compatible with monitors, graphics cards, and consoles that support it. As BenQ describes it, HDR “is an established family of standards that enables monitors to display brighter, more vivid images with increased color impact.” BenQ’s HDRi is a further improvement.

It turned out to be a cool feature. I played around with the Hue lighting settings in my living room to see how the monitor might react in different backlighting. When I changed the lighting from various shades of dark blue to hot pink to neon green, the monitor instantly responded. The changes were subtle, allowing a person’s eyes to easily adapt to the surroundings.

There are several different HDRi sub-settings. A Cinema mode emphasizes color and detail for a premium viewing experience when watching movies. When a person switches to gaming, then they can set the monitor to the Game HDRi setting. This setting is less dynamic, but instead emphasizes contrast so that gamers can better take advantage of their gaming environment. Display mode is intended for use on a desktop computer.

There were times when the HDRi feature wasn’t useful, like when I was in a video chat and wanted to change the settings so my face wasn’t as bright.

The real test: how does the BenQ EW3280U monitor work?

I have played several different games on this monitor including Destiny 2, Eternal destiny and Apex Legends. Destiny 2 and Eternal destiny both have HDR support, while Apex Legends does not.

Eternal destiny was visually stunning – so much so, in fact, that I got motion sickness. On two occasions I had to turn off the game. Most people are not prone to motion sickness from video games, so I don’t expect this to be a common problem. I adjusted some graphics settings and everything was fine from there.

Doom Eternal on the BenQ HDRi entertainment monitor.

via: TheGamer

Destiny 2 looked amazing on this screen, almost like I was playing a movie. The game ranges from visually stunning to overly dull, and native HDR has accommodated those changes perfectly.

The first time I played Apex Legends on the monitor, its size impacted my gameplay. I guess I noticed the differences because battle royale games require a lot of concentration. My home monitor is also 32 inches, but its display area is smaller. After some trial and error I found a new mouse sensitivity and a new FOV which made the experience more comfortable. Still, I couldn’t quite grasp the image.

It is difficult to use pictures to show the differences as the display changes depending on the lighting around the monitor, but is also impacted by the light shining on the screen. However, to me the game setting seemed too dark.

Apex Legends on the BenQ HDRi Entertainment Monitor in Game Settings.

via: TheGamer

The cinema was too bright.

Apex Legends on the BenQ HDRi Entertainment Monitor in Cinema mode.

via: TheGamer

The display looked generic, but I ended up going with this mode. Increasing the contrast value also helped a bit.

Apex Legends on BenQ Entertainment Monitor with HDRi technology.

via: TheGamer

Yet it has never been as precise as I would have liked.

Exploring additional features of the monitor

One aspect to note is the monitor’s Eye Care technology with low blue light, anti-flicker, and eye-reminder options. As many nighttime gamers know, it can be hard to fall asleep after a few lively games of a favorite game. While the blue light settings had an impact on picture quality, they did help alleviate some of the visual stimulation of a game. Although I haven’t kept any rigorous data on my gaming habits. sleep, this seemed to help with relaxation after the game.

The BenQ EW3280U uses FreeSync technology. FreeSync and G-Sync are competing technologies designed to prevent screen tearing and stuttering. G-Sync uses patented technology in the monitor, while FreeSync uses the Adaptive Sync standard built into the DisplayPort standard. Most hardcore gamers prefer G-Sync over FreeSync, but there’s no noticeable difference. FreeSync will work on both Nvidia and AMD graphics cards, while G-Sync will only work with Nvidia. While FreeSync is a welcome feature, the monitor’s 60Hz refresh rate means it’s hard to notice the benefits.

The monitor has a built-in subwoofer. It has different settings for sound options including Cinema and Game modes. The former is intended for a denser overall sound, while the latter allows gamers to hear the intricacies of a game’s background ambience. , like the steps in Apex Legends.

The sound quality of the subwoofer is solid, although as you might expect I preferred to use an external speaker system. When playing something like a battle royale, which requires a high level of sound awareness, headphones are always the player‘s best bet. But, as a built-in option, the sound capabilities of the monitor are much better than the standard quality.

If one thing was missing, it was the fact that there was no height adjustment option.

A monitor designed for casual gamers with taste

As someone who considers himself a die-hard player, I’m not sure this would be my first choice. It is designed for someone who wants a single screen for movies, games, and digital tasks such as editing or graphic design. BenQ makes fantastic monitors for each of these specific cases, but they designed this monitor to handle all of these things. As such, it is an ideal monitor for a casual gamer who wants to relax and enjoy an awesome viewing experience after a long day at work.

For this review, BenQ lent its 32 inch EW3280U Entertainment Monitor to TheGamer for a period of four weeks.

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