BenQ EW3280U 32-inch 4K UHD HDRI entertainment monitor review – is it good for photo editing?

BenQ EW3280U 32-inch 4K UHD HDRI entertainment monitor review

What is the upgrade in BenQ EW3280U 32-inch 4K UHD HDRI entertainment monitor? The BenQ EW3280U is comparable to a small TV, so it’s usable for both couch and desktop setups.  With 4K resolution and multiple accurate color modes, it can serve as a professional monitor for those working in either the Rec.709 or DCI-P3 color spaces. Color depth is a full 10-bits, and it supports HDR10 signals with a VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification. Discover more in BenQ EW3280U 32-inch 4K UHD HDRI entertainment monitor review.

Consumer Reviews is supported by its audience. This website contains Paid Links. As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchase. Find more

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Wide Gamut Coverage
  • Attractive Design
  • Quality IPS panel
  • USB-C connectivity
  • Accurate and saturated color
  • Great HDR and supporting features
  • Great for games and entertainment
  • Excellent sound system, with crisp bass
  • Strong HDR performance
  • Navigation by mini joystick or remote control

Cons

  • No USB-A Ports
  • USB-C Limited to 60 Watts
  • Tilt-Only Stand
  • Refresh rate is just 60 Hz
  • Limited port selection
  • Ergonomic features limited to tilt control

Specs – BenQ EW3280U 32-inch 4K UHD HDRI entertainment monitor

  • Panel Size (Corner-to-Corner) 32 inches
  • Aspect Ratio 16:9
  • Native Resolution 3840 by 2160
  • Pixel Refresh Rate 60 Hz
  • Screen Technology IPS
  • VESA DisplayHDR Level DisplayHDR 400
  • Dimensions (HWD) 20.6 by 28.6 by 8 inches
  • Adaptive Sync AMD FreeSync
  • Rated Screen Luminance 350 cd/m^2
  • Rated Contrast Ratio 1000:1
  • Tilting Stand? Yes
  • Swiveling Stand? No
  • Video Inputs DisplayPort, USB-C, HDMI (2)
  • USB Ports (Excluding Upstream) 1
  • Weight 17.9 lbs
  • Height-Adjustable Stand? No
  • Landscape/Portrait Pivot No

Price

Pricing for the BenQ EW3280U is a little variable across the usual online vendors, but kicks off at around $800 (£708 in the UK). That puts it on a very direct footing with the likes of the Philips Brilliance 329P9H(opens in new tab). However, the BenQ EW3280U has the advantage of at least notional HDR support, plus wider color coverage.

Compare BenQ EW3280U 32-inch 4K UHD HDRI entertainment monitor

BenQ EW3280U 32 inch 4K MonitorBenQ EL2870U 28″ 4K UHD Monitor for GamingBenQ EW3270U 32 inch 4K Monitor | With Eye-care Technology
Aspect Ratio16:916:916:9
Display Resolution Maximum3841 x 21603840×2160 pixels3840×2160 pixels
Screen Size3228 inches31.5 inches
Display TypeLCDLCDLED
Item Dimensions28.62 x 8.04 x 20.59 inches19 x 3 x 26 inches8.46 x 28.5 x 20.55 inches
Item Weight18.70 lbs12.57 lbs0.25 ounces
Mounting TypeVESA wall mount 100 x 100mmVESA wall mounting 100 x 100 mm‎False
Refresh Rate60 hertz60 hertz60 hertz
Size32″ 4K IPS HDR USB-C 2.1ch SPK Remote (Mac friendly)28″ 4K 1ms32 in 4K HDR SPK

BenQ EW3280U 32-inch 4K UHD HDRI entertainment monitor review

Design

The EW3280U’s frame is simple and attractive, with a matte-black cabinet and a bronze-colored bottom bezel and base. When affixed to its stand, the monitor measures 20.6 by 28.6 by 8 inches (HWD) and weighs 17.9 pounds. The stand provides tilt control, but it lacks swivel, pivot, or height adjustment. The top and side bezels are minimal, while the textured bottom bezel is 1.3 inches thick. The base is a rectangular ring.

From the side the monitor is fairly slender – ~20mm (0.79 inches) at thinnest point, lumping out centrally. The included stand offers tilt (5° forwards, 15° backwards) as the only ergonomic flexibility. The bottom sits ~76mm (2.99 inches) clear of the desk surface, including the central sensor box underhang. The top of the screen sits ~525mm (20.66 inches) above the desk. The screen sits ~203mm (8.00 inches) back from the front edge of the stand.

Connectors

The input panel is spartan with one DisplayPort 1.2 and two HDMI 2.0 (for a look at how the two ports compare, see our DisplayPort vs. HDMI article). A USB-C port, another handy feature, accepts video signals and provides a 60-watt charge capability. A 3.5mm audio output is available for headphones

Resolution

The 32-inch, 10-bit in-plane switching (IPS) flat panel has a native UHD (a.k.a. 4K) resolution. That’s 3,840 by 2,160 pixels, at a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. Its pixel density of 138 pixels per inch (ppi) is fine for entertainment, gaming, or light photo editing. 

Brightness

BenQ rates the EW3280U’s luminance (that is, the brightness per unit area) at 350 nits (candelas per meter squared) and its contrast ratio at 1,000:1; the latter is standard for an IPS panel. I measured its luminance at 207.6 nits in Standard color mode and 338 nits with DisplayHDR enabled. Its contrast ratio slightly exceeded its rating, at 1,087:1.

HDRI

HDRi is BenQ’s own technology, geared to better displaying HDR content. While HDR improves the contrast and dynamic range (the ability to render subtle gradations of light or shadow) of a scene, HDRi seeks to further enhance HDR images.

HDRi generally brightens dark regions without overexposing bright areas, resulting in a more balanced image. It also automatically tweaks color balance and saturation, depending on the displayed content. HDRi has both hardware and software elements. A sensor on the monitor’s bottom bezel measures ambient light, letting the EW3280U adjust its screen brightness in response to changing conditions.

OSD Menu

The OSD offers seven main-menu choices: Input, Picture, Color, Audio, Eye Care, Custom Key, and System. From Input, you can switch among the HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C inputs. The Picture menu lets you control brightness, contrast, sharpness, and the like. The Color menu lets you choose among 11 color modes, including Standard, Low Blue Light, three gaming modes, two Custom modes, and M-book. (The last is a mode tuned specifically for displaying the image from an Apple MacBook laptop.) You can also switch among HDR modes: Display HDR, Cinema HDRi, Game HDRi, and Off.

Refresh rate

The EW3280U is fine for casual gaming, but it doesn’t have a wealth of gaming-centric features. It supports AMD FreeSync adaptive-sync technology, but is limited to a refresh rate of 60Hz, unlike the BenQ EX2780Q, which supports refresh rates of up to 144Hz. Still, the EW3280U did fine in handling gameplay and some canned benchmark runs with the titles Final Fantasy XV and Far Cry 5, showing a minimum of artifacts. I switched among Game HDRi, Cinema HDRi, DisplayHDR, and SDR modes; Cinema HDRi generally showed the best contrast.

FreeSync

Another multimedia relevant feature is AMD’s FreeSync adaptive refresh. It gives the EW3280U a little gaming credibility, though the 4K resolution(opens in new tab) creates a huge load for any graphics card(opens in new tab) and the 60Hz fresh rate will limit its appeal to serious gamers. Still, it’s part of an overall package that ensures a broad remit for the BenQ EW3280U. It’s specified to be effective for everything from productivity(opens in new tab), to entertainment and a little light content creation.

Audio

The EW3280U comes with twin 2-watt speakers and 5-watt subwoofer. The monitor employs digital signal processing (DSP) to offer the five audio modes mentioned above. The audio system has excellent bass and very good treble response.

Protect your eye

The monitor has a feature called ‘Eye Care’ that encompasses the ‘Low Blue Light’ and ‘Brightness Intelligence Plus (B.I.+)’ technologies that aim to make working on a monitor in dimmer environments less tiring for the eyes, while at the same time preserving the image quality. Also, just below the brand label on the lower screen bezel, there is a light sensor that controls the auto-brightness of the monitor.

BenQ EW3280U 32-inch 4K UHD HDRI entertainment monitor Performance review

The ANSI (intra-image) result is a tad lower at 879.5:1. That’s not far from a typical IPS monitor, though the Aorus and Razor screen boast slightly better numbers here. The EW3280U is not a standout for dynamic range, but it has other positives that help improve picture quality.


Watching streaming video was another showcase for the EW3280U’s capabilities. 4K movies were eye-popping, with picture quality that rivalled my (considerably more expensive) 4K HDR TV. The monitor supports not just 4K video with HDR10 support, but also at a movie-friendly 24P cinematic frame rate.

In a dorm, office, or den where there is room for only one screen, the 32-inch BenQ EW3280U would make a great substitute for a TV. Just plug in the streamer of your choice.

BenQ EW3280U 32-inch 4K UHD HDRI entertainment monitor Customer review

4K, HDR, 10-Bit Color

This monitor offers a large 32-inch 4K IPS panel with true 10-bit color and HDR support. BenQ’s HDRi technology emulates an HDR look on non-HDR content and looks quite good in what I’ve sampled. Gamers who play first person shooters and fast paced action may be let down by the 60hz rating but I mostly play strategy and adventure games, so that’s not a concern for me. I wanted accurate colors without going completely overboard on a professional reference monitor, for video production. The BenQ has a lot to offer, especially given the growing prevalence of HDR content we will see in the near future.

The built-in speakers are a welcome feature (as is the volume knob) that can cut down on desk clutter, and switching settings with the included remote really sell the idea that this is a multimedia entertainment monitor. BenQ gives you a molded remote holder that fits thoughtfully under the stand, so it’s easier to locate when needed.

The stand adjustments may leave more to be desired, but you can mount this screen easily if you need more articulation. This monitor isn’t cheap, but I feel it is excellent in the areas of concern and adequate at worst elsewhere. Youtubers, media creators, console gamers who stream, or anyone who dabbles in a combination of those things may benefit most from the BenQ EW32OU.

By Adamificus at Best Buy

Alternate of BenQ EW3280U 32-inch 4K UHD HDRI entertainment monitor

Samsung UR59C

Specs

Screen Size & Aspect Ratio: 32 inches / 16:9Panel Type: VAPorts: 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x 3.5mmRefresh Rate: 60 HzAdaptive-Sync: None

Pros

+Stunning picture+Effective curve

Cons

-No USB ports-Needs calibration

The Samsung UR59C is the best budget 4K monitor, offering a 32-inch VA panel with accuracy and curves. Image quality is superb with bold, accurate colors and clear text — after calibration, that is. When we tested in sRGB mode, we recorded a color error of 4.3dE with visible errors, but our calibration got it down to 0.9dE. Your web and games should look as intended. The UR59C also offers fantastic contrast, as expected from a VA panel, hitting an impressive 2,590.5:1 after calibration.

Ultrawide screens typically offer more noticeable curves, but despite its 16:9 aspect ratio, the UR59C’s1500R curve is noticeable and beneficial, allowing us to keep more windows in view.

This monitor isn’t fit for serious gaming, but casual players can make it work. The UR59C has a 60 Hz refresh rate, 4ms response time, and no FreeSync or G-Sync to fight screen tears. You’d get noticeably better response times and input lag scores from a 75 Hz screen even. But with its high contrast and the pixel density of a 32-inch, 4K screen, games didn’t look bad. If you’re games that aren’t graphically intense or at lower settings and you have a speed enough graphics card that can consistently hit 60 frames per second (fps), you can enjoy blur-free gaming on the UR59C.

Editor’s recommendations