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

The extra pixel density of a 27-inch monitor sporting a native 2560x1440 resolution can make small text difficult to read. BenQ solves the problem by adding five extra inches to its BL3200PT. Today we test this jumbo 32-inch AMVA-based panel in our lab.

Although we’ve reviewed a fair number of gaming-oriented monitors lately, the bulk of our coverage over the past 18 months revolved around 27-inch QHD displays. They represent the majority of new introductions from all major manufacturers, and even some lesser-known ones. Thanks largely to panel parts from LG Display, the 27-inch IPS monitor with QHD resolution is fast becoming a popular choice for those looking to upgrade from their 24-inch FHD screens. Even though prices are still stuck around the $600 mark, there is no question that enthusiasts are buying them.

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. And the older the user, the more difficult it becomes to read at normal viewing distances. BenQ now offers a neat and obvious solution to the problem. If Windows' scaling doesn’t satisfy you, then simply increase the screen size. Today we’re looking at the brand-new BL3200PT, a 32-inch monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a density of 92 pixels per inch.

Brand
BenQ
Model
BL3200PT
Street Price
$800
Panel Type
AMVA
Backlight
W-LED, edge array
Screen Size
32-inch
Max Resolution
2560x1440
Max Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Aspect Ratio
16:9
Native Color Depth
10-bit
Native Gamut
sRGB
Response Time (GTG)
4 ms
Brightness
300 cd/m2
Speakers
2 x 5 W
VGA
1
DVI
1
DisplayPort v1.2
1
HDMI v1.4
1
Audio In
1
Headphone
1
USB
v3.0 - 1 up, 2 down
v2.0 - 2 down
Media Card Reader
SD
Panel Dimensions
WxHxD w/base
29.4 x 19.4-25.4 x 9.2 in
740 x 490-640 x 232 mm
Panel Thickness
2.7 in / 67 mm
Bezel Width
.6-.8 in / 14-20 mm
Weight
28.7 lbs / 13 kg
Warranty
Three years

A little over a year ago, we reviewed two screens (HP ZR30w Versus DoubleSight DS-309W, 30-inch Monitors, Tested) that offered a 16:10 aspect ratio in a 30-inch form factor. They were definitely a step in the right direction. The HP has since been discontinued, but you can still find the DoubleSight for around $1000. And no other companies have introduced similar displays since then.

We feel this represents a screen-size sweet spot. That 92 ppi number should look familiar to you because it’s the same pixel density as a 24-inch FHD screen, which is what’s sitting on a majority of desktops right now. So who wouldn’t want the same text and object size they’re accustomed to, but almost double the screen area? We’re going from 246 to 437 square inches. Now that’s significant!

Peeking under the BL3200PT’s hood, we find a new panel technology, AMVA, which stands for Advanced Multi-domain Vertical Alignment. In simple terms, we’re looking at a slightly different pixel structure than our old friends TN and IPS. Its goal is to maintain the high contrast and fast response time of TN panels, while incorporating IPS’ superior off-axis performance. Early examples had their share of color shift issues, but the latest generation proves to be a huge step forward.

The BL3200PT employs a panel from AU Optronics that is the first of its type we’ve seen in a mainstream product. The backlight is W-LED, which currently limits it to an sRGB color gamut. That backlight, by the way, does not use pulse-width modulation like a majority of today's monitors. It’s part of BenQ’s Zero Flicker initiative, dedicated to reducing eye fatigue. We saw the same thing on the XL2720Z and RL2460HT. Monitors using PWM don’t necessarily have visible flicker, but after a few hours of use, some folks report discomfort. By controlling brightness at the pixel level and running the backlight with constant current, that source of potential eyestrain is eliminated.

Of particular interest is the panel’s native 10-bit color depth. This monitor does not incorporate frame rate conversion and can accept a 10-bit signal through its DisplayPort and DVI inputs. Of course, to take full advantage, you’ll need a 10-bit-capable graphics board and content encoded with the extra color information.

Needless to say, the BL3200PT makes quite a physical statement even before you turn it on. Does its performance live up to the promise? Let’s take a look.

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30 comments
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  • npyrhone
    "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.
  • kid-mid
    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..
  • moogleslam
    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
  • moogleslam
    The Swift cost $800
  • Merry_Blind
    "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...
  • animalosity
    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....
  • Bondfc11
    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.
  • ohim
    I`ll wait to see what Active Sync monitors will be able to do , an IPS with Active sync over a TN with 144hz.
  • Merry_Blind
    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?
  • Merry_Blind
    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...
  • Chris Droste
    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.
  • Bondfc11
    640300 said:
    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.
  • lelias2k
    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?
  • oxiide
    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.
  • Patrick Tobin
    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.
  • luissantos
    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.
  • anbello262
    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?
  • LordConrad
    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.
  • shiitaki
    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.
  • soldier44
    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.
  • soldier44
    Quote:
    640300 said:
    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.


    This is why I went with the Asus 32 inch 4K display worth every cent of its $2400 cost too.
  • somebodyspecial
    1600P for me or bust. I want TALLER not wider. Web pages etc are not made for such wide screens, I'd rather SCROLL up and down FAR less than now. If I blow up the pages to use that extra width the scrolling vertically just gets even worse. It's also getting tougher to get 3 of these side by side on your desktops being so wide. I'd always rather have 3 taller (we're not talking much, just 1600p) side by side that can actually fit. At some point they'll be so wide on these larger screens you'll be swiveling your head all day just to see all the real estate...LOL.
  • hixbot
    Windows DPI scaling is terrible. Applications inconsistently behave with non-default DPI, leading to inconsistent fonts amongst application and windows dialogues. You are right that a display with a higher PPI is best, but only if the OS and all applications can be accurately and consistently adjusted to your preference. Failing that, simply choosing a display with comfortable PPI for windows defaults is better in my opinion.
  • hixbot
    Nice display, I'd buy it if it had Gsync.