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BenQ BL3200PT: Bigger Is Better

BenQ BL3200PT Review: A 32-Inch AMVA Monitor At 2560x1440
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Every few years, it seems like the typical screen size increases a couple of clicks. Rather than progressing slowly, the jump hits all at once. Not long ago, 19-inch displays were the norm, sporting 4:3 aspect ratios. With the advent of widescreen configurations, 22- and 24-inch 16:9 monitors took over as the market leaders. Now 27 inches is the go-to measurement for enthusiasts. But that extra area is accompanied by a problem. A resolution of 1920x1080 is just too coarse to render text and images smoothly without visible pixilation.

Remember that 92 ppi number we mentioned at the beginning of today's story? That seems to be a sweet spot. It works fine at 24 inches if your screen is FHD. You won’t discern individual pixels, but you’ll be quickly wishing for more screen real estate. Moving up to 2560x1440 at 27 inches increases density to 109 ppi. That’s great for gaming and photo work. However, text and small objects become difficult to see for many users.

Getting back to 92 ppi without giving up a large Windows desktop means a 32-inch diagonal size. BenQ is the first to acknowledge this with an actual product. In our opinion, the BL3200PT should be a trend-setter, and we hope it will be. Using the monitor is an absolute pleasure. It allows you to sit at a comfortable distance away and read text on-screen without straining (or relying on Windows' blurry scaling).

AMVA is a fairly new panel technology and it really impresses with a high native contrast ratio. Measurements of over 2000 to 1 are rare in the world of desktop computer monitors. Prior to this review, we praised any screen that could top 1000 to 1. The BL3200PT just raised our bar.

The only flaw we encountered was weak gamma performance. Extra contrast obviously presents a challenge to engineers using AMVA in their products. We were able to get to 2.3 on the lightest possible preset, but there’s definitely room for improvement. Plus, we discovered it has an effect on color saturations below 100 percent. The gamut measurements can certainly be made better, we think.

On the good side, light bleed and color shift issues plaguing past VA panels have been eliminated in the BL3200PT. We obtained some of our best results in the field tests, both for luminance and color uniformity. And our photos show that BenQ comes pretty close to IPS in off-axis image quality. After a quick and easy calibration, the grayscale results were close to pro-level, and most of the color saturation flaws were repaired.

Thanks to its fantastic contrast, image quality easily merits a rating of stunning. Not only does this monitor's sheer size inspire awe, but the depth and detail must be seen to be fully appreciated. LCD panels have a long way to go to match the contrast performance of plasma and OLED screens, but the BL3200PT takes a large step forward in the computer monitor category.

We’ll wrap up by mentioning this monitor’s terrific value. At a street price of around $800, it isn’t that much more expensive than rank-and-file 27-inch models. Its performance is equal to or better than all but the most expensive professional products, and the BL3200PT completely outclasses everything in the contrast department. Gamers even get slightly better response and lag than most 60 Hz IPS screens.

If you have the space and the budget, BenQ's BL3200PT is the only monitor of its kind available now. We certainly enjoyed using and testing this monitor, and we think it merits serious consideration if you're shopping for a big screen.

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  • 2 Hide
    npyrhone , August 26, 2014 8:21 AM
    "Remember that 92 ppi number we mentioned at the beginning of today's story? That seems to be a sweet spot. It works fine at 24 inches if your screen is FHD. You won’t discern individual pixels, but you’ll be quickly wishing for more screen real estate. Moving up to 2560x1440 at 27 inches increases density to 109 ppi. That’s great for gaming and photo work. However, text and small objects become difficult to see for many users."

    I can't understand why I would need a monitor with lower pixel density? Why not just zoom the text a notch in your word processor or whatever software you are using? Of two otherwise similar monitors I would always choose the one with higher PPI, even if I used it only for word processing.
  • 0 Hide
    kid-mid , August 26, 2014 8:24 AM
    I rather have the 27" QNIX Evo II 1440p for $300 or the ROG Swift for $600.
    The days of 60Hz are almost over with..
  • 0 Hide
    moogleslam , August 26, 2014 8:34 AM
    Quote:
    I rather have the 27" QNIX Evo II 1440p for $300 or the ROG Swift for $600.
    The days of 60Hz are almost over with..

    Except that the Swift cost $800
  • 0 Hide
    moogleslam , August 26, 2014 8:35 AM
    The Swift cost $800
  • 0 Hide
    Merry_Blind , August 26, 2014 8:39 AM
    "The only complaint we’ve registered along the way involves font size. With a pixel density of 109 ppi, text in most Windows applications becomes pretty small."

    That's why I don't understand people saying 1080p is crap and has to go away. I've always find that even at 1080p, the fonts are really small, and icons and interfaces in general are very tiny. In my case, it's not even a case of not being able to read, it's just that everything looks so out of place and hideous, like, Windows wasn't meant for such resolutions.
    I can't imagine 1440p. Must be ridiculous to look at. It's just aesthetically not nice.
    Bring on the downvotes...
  • -5 Hide
    animalosity , August 26, 2014 8:50 AM
    Why in God's green earth would you pay $1000 for a 1440p display at 60hz when you can get a 4K for way less than that now. Rather have UHD....
  • 1 Hide
    Bondfc11 , August 26, 2014 8:52 AM
    I agree with npyrhone - there are ways to enlarge everything on your screen if the density is too low. Having said that - this is an interesting panel. However, I cannot wait for the days when not TNs, but also IPS and VA panels (in large formats) become standard at 120Hz. The hertz do make a noticeable difference in everything you do on the screen.
  • -2 Hide
    ohim , August 26, 2014 9:04 AM
    I`ll wait to see what Active Sync monitors will be able to do , an IPS with Active sync over a TN with 144hz.
  • 1 Hide
    Merry_Blind , August 26, 2014 9:19 AM
    Quote:
    I`ll wait to see what Active Sync monitors will be able to do , an IPS with Active sync over a TN with 144hz.

    What is Active Sync?
  • 2 Hide
    Merry_Blind , August 26, 2014 9:20 AM
    Quote:
    Why in God's green earth would you pay $1000 for a 1440p display at 60hz when you can get a 4K for way less than that now. Rather have UHD....

    It's not 1000$ though...
  • 0 Hide
    Chris Droste , August 26, 2014 9:34 AM
    it's always depressing nowadays with monitors. I have a Samsung 23" with 2048x1152 (>1080p) and for like... $240 when i got it? now you can't have anything above 1080p unless you want 26+ inches and don't mind shelling out +$400 (nevermind korean grey-market monitors) i understand the whole film standard stuff but i LOVE just that small extra bit of real estate on ONE Monitor.
  • 4 Hide
    Bondfc11 , August 26, 2014 9:47 AM
    Quote:
    Why in God's green earth would you pay $1000 for a 1440p display at 60hz when you can get a 4K for way less than that now. Rather have UHD....


    Part of the reason people do comes down to one, the pixel density (if that matters) and two the GPU horsepower necessary to run it. 4K panels are cool, but I don't game on one at all. I have one, but it isn't my go to monitor due to the low refresh rate, lag, and blur. Is it pretty? Sure. But honestly right now that 28" 4K panel is dumb as a post.
  • 1 Hide
    lelias2k , August 26, 2014 10:53 AM
    I'll add my two cents regarding less PPI.

    I'm always amazed how most people don't know you can adjust the size of pretty much every font inside of Windows. I've had people lowering the resolution of the screen and seeing everything blurred until I showed them that you can adjust the font sizes.

    But for TH to make a comment like that? Did BenQ's marketing department sent you the text ready?
  • 4 Hide
    oxiide , August 26, 2014 11:04 AM
    Quote:
    "Remember that 92 ppi number we mentioned at the beginning of today's story? That seems to be a sweet spot. It works fine at 24 inches if your screen is FHD. You won’t discern individual pixels, but you’ll be quickly wishing for more screen real estate. Moving up to 2560x1440 at 27 inches increases density to 109 ppi. That’s great for gaming and photo work. However, text and small objects become difficult to see for many users."

    I can't understand why I would need a monitor with lower pixel density? Why not just zoom the text a notch in your word processor or whatever software you are using? Of two otherwise similar monitors I would always choose the one with higher PPI, even if I used it only for word processing.

    Its not so much your apps that are the concern, because yes, most of them will give you some scaling options. The issue is that Windows does not scale very far. Your UI (icon text, folder names, Windows Explorer stuff) will be smaller at higher PPI.
  • -2 Hide
    Patrick Tobin , August 26, 2014 11:43 AM
    Quote:
    "The only complaint we’ve registered along the way involves font size. With a pixel density of 109 ppi, text in most Windows applications becomes pretty small."

    That's why I don't understand people saying 1080p is crap and has to go away. I've always find that even at 1080p, the fonts are really small, and icons and interfaces in general are very tiny. In my case, it's not even a case of not being able to read, it's just that everything looks so out of place and hideous, like, Windows wasn't meant for such resolutions.
    I can't imagine 1440p. Must be ridiculous to look at. It's just aesthetically not nice.
    Bring on the downvotes...

    Quote:
    "The only complaint we’ve registered along the way involves font size. With a pixel density of 109 ppi, text in most Windows applications becomes pretty small."

    That's why I don't understand people saying 1080p is crap and has to go away. I've always find that even at 1080p, the fonts are really small, and icons and interfaces in general are very tiny. In my case, it's not even a case of not being able to read, it's just that everything looks so out of place and hideous, like, Windows wasn't meant for such resolutions.
    I can't imagine 1440p. Must be ridiculous to look at. It's just aesthetically not nice.
    Bring on the downvotes...


    Windows 7/8/8.1 has gui scaling as does MacOSX. Non issue.
  • 2 Hide
    luissantos , August 26, 2014 11:44 AM
    Quote:
    I'll add my two cents regarding less PPI.

    I'm always amazed how most people don't know you can adjust the size of pretty much every font inside of Windows. I've had people lowering the resolution of the screen and seeing everything blurred until I showed them that you can adjust the font sizes.

    But for TH to make a comment like that? Did BenQ's marketing department sent you the text ready?


    I am one of the people to whom 1080p @ 24" renders things hard to see (not exclusive to text, mind you).

    I am fully aware of Windows' high-DPI settings. But let me tell you, unless the applications you are running have good built-in support for it, Windows' high-DPI is not going to be a magic bullet.

    You have 2 options: Win XP's high-DPI which will increase font size and leave every GUI element on screen looking highly unbalanced, OR the newest method that scales up the canvas surface upon which everything was rendered before "printing" it on screen, in which case you will also end up with blurriness.

    Trust me on this. I have tried using high-DPI for extended periods of time, not just toggled it on and off so I could tell myself it's there and pretend it works fine. Unless you have a real disability like me though, you may have a hard time understanding where I'm coming from... so no hard feelings.
  • -1 Hide
    anbello262 , August 26, 2014 2:07 PM
    In my case, I REALLY long for the exact opposite: Higher DPI monitors. After using a 120 DPI glossy one (18.4'' FHD), I haven't been able to get over its amazing sharpness and definition... At the moment I have a 24'' FHD anti-glare monitor, and I really, really miss the smaller one... My girlfriend has a 21'' FHD anti-glare monitor, and even that is better than my current one...
    Basically, sharpness of a glossy (or anti reflect, just not anti glare) high DPI monitor is amazing, I just can't get over that... I don't understand why the market is moving away from that...

    By the way, is there any monitor you can reccomend that has this specs? And one that is more than 60HZ?
  • 0 Hide
    LordConrad , August 26, 2014 4:53 PM
    My current monitor is a Dell UltraSharp IPS panel which has amazing color accuracy, but I've always liked the VA panels. Better blacks and faster response times then IPS panels, but better viewing angles than TN panels. I've owned two PVA panels, and while they weren't perfect, I thought they were a good cross between TN and IPS.
  • 0 Hide
    shiitaki , August 26, 2014 5:40 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    "Remember that 92 ppi number we mentioned at the beginning of today's story? That seems to be a sweet spot. It works fine at 24 inches if your screen is FHD. You won’t discern individual pixels, but you’ll be quickly wishing for more screen real estate. Moving up to 2560x1440 at 27 inches increases density to 109 ppi. That’s great for gaming and photo work. However, text and small objects become difficult to see for many users."

    I can't understand why I would need a monitor with lower pixel density? Why not just zoom the text a notch in your word processor or whatever software you are using? Of two otherwise similar monitors I would always choose the one with higher PPI, even if I used it only for word processing.

    Its not so much your apps that are the concern, because yes, most of them will give you some scaling options. The issue is that Windows does not scale very far. Your UI (icon text, folder names, Windows Explorer stuff) will be smaller at higher PPI.

  • 1 Hide
    soldier44 , August 26, 2014 7:11 PM
    Waste of res with 1440p Why not go ahead with a 2560 x 1600 stop with the cutting corners on these displays. I used a 30 incher for 4 years now with a 4K beast Asus 32 incher.
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