Over the past couple years, 4K UHD has been gaining popularity, especially on the media consumption side. HDR has also been gaining traction with many 4K TVs and gaming consoles supporting the format. Our BenQ EW3270U review takes a look at a 32″ 4K UHD computer monitor with HDR 10 support, Eye-care technology, auto-brightness adjustments, AMD FreeSync support, and more.
The BenQ EW3270U has the following features and specifications:
- LCD Size (inch): 31.5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Resolution (max.): 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD)
- Display Area(mm): 698.4 x 392.85
- Pixel Pitch (mm): 0.181 (H) x 0.181 (V)
- Brightness (typical): 300
- Native Contrast (typical): 3000:1
- DCR (Dynamic Contrast Ratio): 12M:1
- Panel Type: VA Type
- Viewing Angle (L/R; U/D): 178/178
- Response time: Panel OD 9ms; Scalar OD 4ms (with OD); Premium 4ms/High 8ms)
- Display Colors: 1.07 billion
- Color Gamut: 95% DCI-P3
- Backlight: LED
- Audio/Video Inputs/Outputs: Input/Output Connector USB C (display), 2x HDMI2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, headphone jack
- Speakers: 2W x 2
- Horizontal Frequency (KHz): 30KHz ~135KHz
- Vertical Frequency (Hz): 24Hz ~76Hz
- Video Bandwidth (MHZ): 600MHz
- Special Features: HDR 10 content support, Eye-care Technology, Brightness Intelligence Plus Technology, Low Blue Light Technology, Flicker-free, AMD FreeSync
- Dimensions(HxWxD): 522.2 x 726.4 x 215mm
- Net Weight: 7.5kg
What’s in the box
- BenQ EW3270U 4K UHD HDR monitor
- Power cord (1.5m)
- Signal Cable Type-C (1m/4K+ data)
- mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable (1.8m)
For the most part, the BenQ EW3270U monitor looks like your standard monitor. The metallic grey (almost black) bezels are reasonably sized with the left and right bezels coming in at 1/4″ while the top bezel is just under 1/4″ and the bottom sports a 5/8″ bezel. The bezels have slightly rounded corners for a bit of a sleeker look. The BenQ logo is printed in lighter grey centered on the bottom bezel. Underneath this logo is a brightness sensor unit, more on that later. On the far right of the front of the bottom bezel is the HDR/BI+ (Business Intelligence Plus Technology) button. Pressing this button toggles through HDR on/BI+ off, both on, HDR off/BI+ on, and both off. I’ll touch on those more in the Performance section below.
On the underside of the bottom of the monitor, just to the left of the HDR/BI+ button is the power button with five more buttons to the left of that. Pressing any of these buttons invokes the OSD menu which lets you adjust the Low Blue Light feature, Picture Mode (Standard/HDR/Cinema HDR/Low Blue Light/Game/Photo/sRGB/Rec. 709/Eco/M-book/User), Input, Eye-care mode, Picture (sharpness, contrast, brightness, and other standard adjustments), and Volume.
The back of the monitor is slightly curved with a cutout portion in the bottom half of the middle. In this area, you’ll find your two HDMI ports, DisplayPort, USB Type-C display connector, and 3.5mm audio jack on the left (when facing the back of the monitor) and the power port on the right. Centered between these ports is the stand connector. On either side of this cutout, you’ll find the speaker grille slates for the dual 2W speakers.
There are also four VESA mount holes on the back of the monitor should you wish to mount this to a VESA monitor arm. The BenQ logo is debossed above the VESA mount holes as well.
The stand arm itself angles back and is 7″ long before angling forward for another 5″ or so. It is a non-adjustable height stand but it does allow you to tilt it up and down for optimum viewing. The arm is then attached to a 5″ x 15″ base which sits directly underneath the monitor providing great support.
While the design is plain, it does work well aside from the lack of being height adjustable and should match most home computer setups nicely.
The bigger consideration in a monitor over design is that of the display. First off, the monitor is nice and crisp as one would expect with a 4K resolution. I found that the suggested Windows 10 scale setting of 150% worked rather well and I was able to easily read most text on the desktop and web pages without having to increase the zoom or decrease the resolution of the monitor. Details I never noticed before on games like Heroes of the Storm like faces on the mercs and minions… not that they’re not there, it’s just way more apparent and noticeable on a 4K 32″ screen.
Given that there are various modes to use, it’s fairly easy to set up the monitor to your liking with excellent colour accuracy. The different default settings provide a variety of colour ranges depending on the content you are viewing. When viewing HDR content like various titles available on Netflix, the colour range is just that much more visible and provides a richer, fuller experience while watching a movie or gaming.
The display panel is a VA panel and while there are those who will debate the pros and cons of VA versus IPS panels, I found the VA panel perfectly acceptable for both regular use as well as gaming. Even though it only has 300 nits brightness, I did find that it was more than bright enough even with HDR mode enabled and the colour gamut coupled with the contrast ratio was more than suitable for dynamic colours and light/dark separation.
According to the PC Gaming Wiki, there are currently only 36 games with HDR support on PC. Fortunately, I was able to test out Forza Horizon 7 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War and I must say that the added HDR rendering turned them both into entirely new games due to the deeper colours and richer contrast. This effect was enhanced further with both HDR and BI+ mode enabled. I also hooked up the monitor to my Xbox One X and tested a few HDR supported games from the console and was equally rewarded.
The same goes for HDR video content although there are more titles being added each month. Shows like Marvel’s The Punisher and movies like The Siege of Jadotville were at treat to watch in 4K HDR on the monitor while streaming from Netflix.
That being said, HDR was pretty hit and miss and for the most part I used the monitor in BI+ mode until I was playing an HDR-support game or viewing HDR-supported videos. When in Windows and just browsing the web, some things looked great with the HDR enhancements while others looked a bit odd and off. To be honest, that’s unlikely the fault of the monitor and more due to the lack of HDR content on the internet. My biggest complaint when using HDR while word processing or reading web articles was that I could notice a white ghosting/halo effect around text that was rendered in black or other darker colours and it became too much of a distraction to read with it enabled.
One feature that I found I like way more than I thought I would is the BI+ mode. I know I’ve mentioned it a few times but haven’t really explained it yet. BenQ’s Brightness Intelligence Plus Technology detects ambient brightness and colour temperature to not only adjust brightness automatically but also adjust the color temperature to match your current environment. By automatically adjusting the brightness and color tone, BI+ also helps reduce eye strain. I was a bit skeptical at first but after the first day using BI+, it became a no brainer to keep it enabled full time.
I also tested the monitor with HDMI, mini-DP to DP, and the included USB Type-C cable and the monitor performed as expected in each case.
While we didn’t have a chance to test it out due to not having a machine equipped with an AMD video card, the monitor also supports AMD FreeSync for higher refresh rates for those that do.
To be honest, while speakers on a monitor are a nice idea, the current iterations remind me too much of early laptop speakers. That being said, the dual 2W speakers in the BenQ EW3270U are very loud and crisp when you have the monitor speaker level set to max and crank up the Windows volume as well. At full volume, they are almost too loud and I found that full monitor speaker level with 50% Windows 10 volume was suitable. However, there is no bass or low end whatsoever so they do sound a bit mid/high/tinny at times depending on the content you are listening to. They definitely do fine in a pinch but if you’ve got a computer setup, you’ve most likely got a set of decent speakers for media consumption and gaming anyways.
There are a few 4K HDR monitors available to choose from and they range in price from $450 to over $1000USD depending on brand, colour gamut coverage, and panel type. Based on the current market pricing, $699USD is a pretty reasonable price given the quality and performance of the BenQ EW3270U monitor.
While 4K HDR content is gaining traction, it’s still very much in its infancy but the amount of available content is growing fast. Don’t let the overall score cause you to hesitate if you’re interested in this monitor as the sound is what brought it down. If you are looking for a 4K monitor and are looking to throw HDR into the mix, the BenQ EW3270U is an excellent choice with its multiple connection types, crisp display, and BI+ technology.
*We were sent a review unit of the BenQ EW3270U for the purposes of this review.
Last Updated on May 22, 2018.
BenQ EW3270U$699.99 USD
- Non-descript design
- Easily adjustable HDR/BI+ options
- HDR10 support
- Brightness Intelligence Plus Technology is fantastic
- Bright, crisp display
- VESA mountable
- Easily navigateable OSD
- Non-adjustable height
- Speakers loud, crisp but no low end
- Limited HDR PC games
- Limited HDR video content