BenQ EW3280U Review • Delivers as promised

BenQ EW3280U

4K UHD monitors are generally premium monitors, but “pure” UHD is not so common. This is especially true in combination with the 32-inch screen size, which is the most popular. One such monitor is BenQ’s EW3280U with an IPS matrix that emphasizes clear color reproduction.

BenQ EW3280U is VESA Display HDR 400 certified. This is a basic HDR standard with Adaptive-Sync support and some other features found in this manufacturer. For example, IR remote control and built-in subwoofer. Let’s take a look at the BenQ EW3280U review and try to understand what its advantages are.

BenQ EW3280U: Design

The front panel of the EW3280U monitor is designed in a simple style. The bottom edge of the screen and the base of the stand are in an unconventional color. The base of the stand is painted in bronze and the metallized powder coating gives a premium appearance. The bottom panel is a matte brown plastic with a honeycomb structure.

The treVolo speakers are covered with a decorative grille. The bottom panel is about 33mm thick. Attaching the monitor itself to the stand is of interest. In the central part of the screen, the “beginning” of the stand is even lower by 8 mm. This rectangle houses the light sensor and IR receiver for the remote control.

The EW3280U monitor has a sleek top and side matrix mount design. It consists of thin panels that are flush with the rest of the screen (as it seems at first glance). On these sides, the material is hard plastic. The bezel is quite thin at about 7.5mm. Bezel on the sides is 8.5 mm. The screen of the BenQ EW3280U monitor has a light matte anti-reflective coating.

It should be noted that the edges of the bezel are actually slightly pushed forward in relation to the rest of the screen, but the effect of the “perfect” picture is preserved completely. Most modern monitors look exactly like this, so we will not provide comments on this score.

On the side, the EW3280U is quite thin – only 20mm at the very top of the case. Below, to the base, the body is convex. The included stand can tilt 5 degrees forward and 15 degrees back. The lower part of the body rises 76 mm above the table. The overall height of the monitor is 525 mm.

BenQ EW3280U design

Opportunities

On-Screen Display (OSD) can be operated using normal buttons or using the joystick on the remote control. The OSD button is located on the right rear of the monitor. There is also a separate volume control wheel on the bottom left of the monitor. For most users, it is more convenient to operate the OSD menu via the IR remote control. It is designed in the style of a television remote control.

This remote can be housed in a small silicone compartment located at the base of the stand. This remote control tray can be moved inside the stand base (left-handed option).

BenQ EW3280U: Interface and sound

It should be noted that the monitor has a VESA mount with a size of 100 × 100 mm. The leg of the stand is well suited for wiring. The I / O ports are directed downward. They include a 3.5mm headphone jack, 2x HDMI 2.0, DP 1.4, USB-C and a power input. Internal power supply (built-in).

Above, in the central part, there is a 5W subwoofer, covered with a black plastic grill. The front of the monitor has a pair of 2W speakers. They are also covered with a grill and are located under the lower front panel.

This 2.1 speaker system from treVolo delivers good loud sound and decent bass. The built-in subwoofer gives certain advantages to the entire sound system. This is usually not the case with this type of monitor. However, the highs and mids are not as varied and crisp as some of the more expensive speakers. Low frequencies can sometimes drown them out.

As for the best dynamic range of the sound system, it can be noted that the total sound power may not be enough for high-quality reproduction. And this is understandable, the monitor as such is not a sound reproducing equipment.

There are various presets in the “audio script” settings. There is a built-in equalizer that makes small adjustments to the overall sound balance. But the best option, according to users, is the “Live / POP” setting if used by default.

This sound preset is the best balanced compared to other options. All other options sound pretty simple and do not use the main feature – the presence of a subwoofer. While using some content, using a preset without bass may be warranted.

BenQ EW3280U interfaces

BenQ EW3280U: Picture

The standard resolution for the BenQ EW3280U monitor is 3840 × 2160 @ 60Hz. HDR is supported through DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0. Adaptive-Sync is supported on both inputs, although HDMI 2.0 is specifically reserved for AMD FreeSync. A power cable and HDMI cable are supplied as standard with the monitor.

In some regions, you can find a package with additional accessories, such as a DP-MiniDP cable, USB-C cable and 3.5 mm audio cable. The EW3280U monitor supports a wide range of refresh rates. When operating in 4Kx2K 3840 × 2160 (native 4K UHD) or 1080p 1920 × 1080 (Full HD) modes including 24Hz.

Contrast and brightness

By measuring the brightness levels of white and black, static contrast ratios can be calculated. With different settings, these figures differ. Here are some of them. So, for example, at a brightness level of 100%, the white level was 350 nits, black 0.36 nits, the contrast level was 975: 1. At 60% brightness, it was 237 nits, black 0.24 nits, the contrast ratio was 988: 1. Average at 65% brightness 250 nits with 965: 1 contrast ratio.

In HDR Mode + Game HDRi, the peak brightness was 470 nits with a contrast ratio of 1060: 1. The EW3280U has no local dimming, so there is no significant contrast improvement in HDR mode. Peak brightness of 469 nits with Game HDRi and Cinema HDRi – a figure in a very bright room. These specific settings use the “BI +” light sensor built into the monitor.

Using the “DisplayHDR” setting, which lowers the room light level measurement, the peak brightness is 414 nits. The measurement was carried out while displaying a white square surrounded by black, that is, not filling the screen with white. However, this is a real test, as the entire screen is usually never filled with white.

Color rendering

BenQ EW3280 color gamut was compared with sRGB and DCI-P3 reference color spaces. The color gamut completely covers sRGB and even wider. DCI-P3 96% coverage and Adobe RGB 86% coverage. These numbers are suitable for HDR content where DCI-P3 is the primary color space. The monitor perfectly displays all hues in the sRGB color space (normal SDR content) with a good dose of saturation and brightness.

BenQ EW3280U Resolution

Input delay

Without going into the details of the method and equipment for measuring the input lag, it can be noted that the EW3280U display has an input lag of 3.13 ms. This is roughly 1/5 of a frame at 60Hz. This parameter indicates an impressively low latency that even professional users will note as normal.

AMD FreeSync and Nvidia Adaptive-Sync

AMD FreeSync is an AMD specific variable refresh rate technology and an alternative to Nvidia G-SYNC . Whenever possible, the monitor dynamically adjusts the refresh rate to match the frame rate output by the GPU.

At a basic level, a mismatch between frame rate and refresh rate can cause stuttering (VSync on) or tearing and jitter (VSync off). FreeSync also boasts lower latency compared to running VSync in a variable frame rate environment. All this is in the EW3280 monitor. BenQ supports a variable refresh rate range of 40 to 60 Hz.

EW3280U specifications

The monitor uses a 32-inch AHVA panel with extended viewing angles from AUO and IPS technology. 60Hz refresh rate and 10-bit color support (8-bit + FRC). The backlight is made with WLED technology with KSF for improved color gamut. The response time declared by the manufacturer is 5 ms, but this requires separate documentation.

Pros
Impressive performance and wide color gamut for bright and accurate images on an IPS panel.
Reasonable contrast and matte screen surface to prevent severe graininess and help maintain brightness and clarity.
Stable 60Hz performance, with low input lag. FreeSync works as intended.
Excellent pixel density and plenty of desktop space, interesting design, built-in subwoofer and a handy IR remote control for OSD control.

Cons
HDR capabilities are questionable in terms of peak brightness and contrast.
The amount of IPS highlights can spoil detail in dark scenes.

Conclusion

The fact that the combination of a 32-inch screen size and a native resolution of 3840×2160 UHD would be a great choice in terms of physical size, screen area and pixel density is undeniable.

This enables the EW3280 monitor to provide a productive work environment where relatively low zoom levels are required, while still delivering excellent clarity and detail for high-resolution content. Due to the good tilt stand, this model will appeal to many.

For fans of wall mounting, a VESA mount is provided. This “rustic” aesthetic is very attractive at the moment. Visually, this monitor will appeal to you as a user than most monitors on the market today. Additional control using the remote control and facilitated work in OSD is another plus of this model.

The monitor has a fairly stable response time at a matrix frequency of 60 Hz. The low input lag is combined with the minimal response of each pixel, and for a 60 Hz monitor, these are good enough numbers. In some places, of course, there are weak points, including a little in the image quality. But the user’s gaze will not notice anything unpleasant or striking.

This model should not be compared to the shortcomings observed in competing VA models. Adaptive-Sync is another plus for the BenQ EW3280U monitor. With AMD FreeSync, you can get rid of tearing and stuttering due to frame rate mismatch and screen refresh.

Effective operating range at typical high level for an adaptive sync model of 40 to 60 Hz. Therefore, this model does not offer as much flexibility as some professional gamers would like.

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