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Results: Brightness and Contrast

BenQ BL3200PT Review: A 32-Inch AMVA Monitor At 2560x1440
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Uncalibrated

Before calibrating any panel, we measure zero and 100-percent signals at both ends of the brightness control range. This shows us how contrast is affected at the extremes of a monitor's luminance capability. We do not increase contrast control past the clipping point. While that'd increase a monitor’s light output, the brightest signal levels would not be visible, resulting in crushed highlight detail. Our numbers show the maximum light level possible with no clipping of the signal.

BenQ specs the BL3200PT at 300 cd/m2 max output. But we could only get to 248.9853 cd/m2 with the Contrast control on 50. Increasing it clips detail and shifts the color of brighter image elements towards green. When a monitor is this large, however, anything over 200 cd/m2 still looks suitably bright.

AMVA technology promises better black levels and contrast than IPS, and this display certainly delivers. With the backlight on maximum, BenQ lays waste to the rest of the group. In fact, a .1046 cd/m2 result is better than many HDTVs.

Despite its lower white level, the BL3200PT offers max contrast that’s almost double the second-place X270OC, putting it far ahead of any IPS screen we’ve tested and almost all of the TN monitors too.

We believe 50 cd/m2 is a practical minimum standard for screen brightness. Any lower and you risk eyestrain and fatigue. The XL2720Z bottoms out right at 50.5889 cd/m2. This is a great light level for playing games or working in a totally darkened room. As you’ll see below, black levels and contrast hold up extremely well, too.

We’ve only seen a couple of other displays measure darker than the BL3200PT, and they had correspondingly lower minimum white levels. Remember that the BenQ is actually practical to use at its minimum backlight setting unlike some other screens.

The resulting contrast is only a little lower than the maximum. That's the sort of consistency we always look for and appreciate from any display. No matter your brightness preference, you’ll always see a contrast ratio of around 2200 to 1.

After Calibration

Since we consider 200 cd/m2 to be an ideal point for peak output, we calibrate all of our test monitors to that value. In a room with some ambient light (like an office), this brightness level provides a sharp, punchy image with maximum detail and minimum eye fatigue. On many monitors, it’s also the sweet spot for gamma and grayscale tracking, which we'll look at on the next page.

In a darkened room, many professionals prefer a 120 cd/m2 calibration. We have found this makes little to no difference on the calibrated black level and contrast measurements.

The black level doesn’t suffer one bit after calibration. It’s less than half of the second-place AOC G2460PQU. AMVA panel technology seems to surpass the excellent dark-image performance of TN, while offering better off-axis viewing performance. It’s a win-win in our opinion.

The calibrated contrast ratio is solidly over 2000 to 1, which is excellent. We’re still hoping to see HDTV-level contrast in computer monitors someday, and the BL3200PT takes a huge step towards that goal. While AMVA is unlikely to ever match plasma or OLED in the black-level department, it’s emerging as the best LCD tech so far (at least in this discipline).

ANSI Contrast Ratio

Another important measure of contrast is ANSI. To perform this test, a checkerboard pattern of sixteen zero and 100-percent squares is measured, yielding a somewhat more real-world metric than on/off readings because we see a display’s ability to simultaneously maintain both low black and full white levels, factoring in screen uniformity, too. The average of the eight full-white measurements is divided by the average of the eight full-black measurements to arrive at the ANSI result.

We’ve seen feedback on early AMVA panels talking about poor uniformity and light bleed. Obviously, our sample does not suffer from those maladies. In fact, this is the first time we’ve seen a display’s ANSI result exceed its calibrated outcome, demonstrating excellent quality control on the parts of BenQ and AU Optronics.

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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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