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Review: BenQ EW3280U 4K Entertainment Monitor

BenQ’s latest 4K monitor, the EW3280U is a powerhouse. It not only has a 32″ size, which could rival even a TV but a slew of technologies packed within that makes it truly versatile in enhancing the way you consume visuals from your computer or devices. But how so? Read on to find out what we feel about the BenQ EW3280U as a whole.

Body and Design

At first glance, the EW3280U features an overall copper/ bronze finish. It sleek, modern and yearns to be a tad classy with that color accent. At 32-inch, the monitor is pretty heavy but certainly bearable if you’re performing the setup and installation all by yourself.

Setting up is quite straightforward too. Turn to its rear and you will have a fairly decent-looking monitor with backward firing speakers, which we will come to that. The input/ output connectors are: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DPI.4, 1 x USB type C and a headphone jack. There’s also the power cable jack.

Having co-designed the monitor with the treVolo audio team, the monitor features a set of treVolo built-in speakers that have a pretty solid and high-quality tonal output. It’s a 2.1 channel speakers system that doesn’t require you to invest in another extra unit.

The best part is, it actually has a built-in subwoofer, and it delivers bass and low sounds without a hitch. Of course, if you’re expecting impactful thumps, then you would probably need a bigger dedicated speaker system for that purpose alone.

And the HDRi badge on the front speaker grill seeks to reinforce that the EW3280U is really about visual and color finesse. As one of its main strengths, we will show you how the HDRi technologies can improve the visuals to your eye’s content.

The stand is made of solid metal, while the neck has a swiveling mechanism for slight vertical tilt adjustments. Then again, I personally love the design aspect of this, not only because it’s sturdy but it’s also quite the looker.

Out of the box, the EW3280U comes with many accessories, mainly the necessary cables. But the most prominent accessory that you should not lose is the remote controller, which allows you to quickly access the monitor’s key settings such as HDRi and perform configurations.

Photo from Amazon

Just to provide you with better perspectives of the ports, this photo from Amazon has everything you need to know about the EW3280U. There’s also a convenient volume control wheel at the bottom left of the monitor that lets you ride the volume of the monitor’s onboard speakers.

The Test Begins

Being a gamer, nothing is more exciting than getting to experience in-game visuals on a new monitor. But to keep things concise, we will start off by accessing the different settings of the EW3280U’s main features. The remote control makes it so convenient to perform all these.

Brightness

From the wheel, adjusting brightness is a breeze as seen here. It’s a pretty straightforward thing.

Color Temperature

Expanding the settings menu provides even more stuff to adjust. Color temperature is one such setting. Here’s how the on-screen visual looks at normal temperature.

The second is the cooler, bluish option, which renders visuals much cooler than normal.

And of course, the warmer option “warms” up images, for the lack of a better word.

HDRi Settings

It’s hard to truly show you the difference in HDRi settings on photos so I decided to use a static, in-game main menu screen of Overwatch as it has a enough brightness, clarity, and color vividness for you to discern the difference when HDRi mode is activated. The above photo showcases HDRi when it’s Off. The visuals are quite basic, but still, very “realistic” as the depths of blacks and color contrasts aren’t very saturated. These settings can be accessed via the remote controller’s HDRi button.

HDRi – Display HDR

Display HDR is the next option available. Notice that the blacks become much deeper while the brightness is slightly increased. The overall colors gain more saturation and make the visuals blossom with high contrast and vividness.

In this scene with Display HDR turned on, notice how there are higher contrasts of the dark and black areas, against the brighter, colored regions.

HDRi – Game HDRi

The third option is Game HDRi. I would personally say that Game HDRi is like being in between of Display HDR and Off. It creates deeper blacks but not as deep as Display HDR, therefore maintaining more visibility of textures in dark regions and lighter shadows – so that gamers could have the best of both of worlds of having HDR and better visibility in dark settings.

Cinematic visuals under Game HDRi are deeper but the fine details of the black and shadowy areas can still be seen without needing to squint too hard. It’s a good balance.

HDRi – Cinema HDRi

Cinema HDRi is the final option of the HDRi settings and it does seem to be the highest contrast and the deepest blacks in terms of HDR activation. The Cinema HDRi is perfect for, well, watching movies, which we will show you in a bit. Notice that the colors are much more intense while the dark regions are truly rendered in deep, rich shadows.

In this movie with Cinema HDRi, the colors are rich and exceptionally vibrant where you can truly see everything that goes on screen.

Eye Care Settings

Under Eye Care, you will get a host of settings to choose from, mainly the ability to activate Brightness Intelligence Plus, adjust the usage duration, set reminders and cut of blue light – all to create the best viewing experience that takes good care of your eyes.

Under Brightness Intelligence Plus, turning it on means that the monitor can adjust display brightness and color temperature through its sensor that detects screen content and environmental lighting, which then adapts the display image accordingly.

Additionally, you can set reminders, so that you could take some time off from the screen when it prompts you. A short break every now and then is always good to rest and revitalize the eyesight if you’re continuously using the monitor for long periods.

Moreover, you can control the monitor’s Low Blue Light output as is. As a novelty, BenQ included an ePaper setting, which renders all visuals in grayscale if that’s what you fancy.

The Reading setting is probably the “warmest” when you activate Low Blue Light.

Office option is reduces the warmth by a little bit.

Web Surfing option gets cooler than Office.

And lastly, Multimedia option of the Low Blue Light setting is the coolest. Indicating the levels of blue light reduction you can apply based on your preference.

Different Audio Modes

In terms of the EW3280U’s on-board treVolo speaker system, it actually has a sort of equalizer setting called Audio Scenario. This allows you to change the quality of audio output based on your preference or as BenQ puts it, the best settings for your specific entertainment content. In the above shot, I chose Games settings, which really creates sharp notes for the in-game audio especially when I was firing shots or trying to discern nearby movements.

Viewing Pleasures

Please don’t judge us for consuming these contents but what better way to test out the monitor’s capabilities with some movies and anime?

But before that, the EW3280U has 95% DCI-P3 Coverage on its 10-bit color IPS panel. Pretty much all modern films and shows are formatted in DCI-P3, the wide gamut color space that goes beyond standard RGB and even Adobe RGB. This means the EW3280U is very good for getting genuine experience as filmmakers intended. DCI-P3 arose from digital cinema and works great on both Windows and Mac OS.

 

Now that you’re informed, we toyed with the HDRi settings to see how the EW3280U performs. Activating HDRi brings out more depth of colors in movies and cartoons.

Even in darker scenes, you can discern everything that goes on screen. Dark and shadowy areas remain black and areas that are lighted are bright and clear.

In cartoons and anime, dark visuals such as above have no problem retaining its colors and clarity with HDRi.

The monitor does a great job overall at making content look the way they should!

Notice the thin bezels and the anime on full screen? The screen-to-body ratio is quite high, it’s almost bezel-less, which is definitely a great thing to save space.

Tele-conferencing is also really clear. With its huge 32-inch size, it makes Zoom webinars a really engaging endeavor.

And gaming is simply a beaut!

Although it’s recommended for FPS games that you don’t go beyond a certain size. Anyway, the EW3280U would be great for gamers nonetheless. The only thing to note however is that the refresh rate of this monitor is capped at 60Hz. So if you’re practicing snipers and playing other high-precision game formats, the 60Hz refresh rate might not be too convincing.

Conclusion

The BenQ EW3280U comes off to me as a fully-featured entertainment monitor but lacks a higher refresh rate than 60Hz. But if that’s not your concern, it performs exceptionally well at pushing the best color settings via HDRi and is even a step ahead at taking care of your eyes.

As an entertainment monitor, it does its job perfectly but not because of its specs but from an experiential standpoint. Movies, cartoons, and games are much more vivid to the eyes and most importantly retain full clarity at all times – even in dark regions of a particular scene.

And lastly, it’s thin bezels, well-designed body and sheer size at 32-inches makes it a perfect standalone monitor for your everyday entertainment needs – and one that might last you for a good long while.

Watch the official video of the BenQ EW3280U here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=625298648119886

Or get it here, if you’re interested in purchasing it:

BenQ Official Web – https://bit.ly/2FAAAY6

BenQ Flagship Store – https://bit.ly/32p30xo

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