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BenQ BL3201PT 32-inch Ultra HD Monitor Review

The first-generation 32-inch Ultra HD monitors came out at over $3000. They’ve dropped in price of course, but BenQ’s new BL3201PT is debuting at a more aggressive MSRP of $1100. We've even seen it selling for under $1000. Today we test its performance.

Packaging, Physical Layout And Accessories

The BL3201PT comes in a carton that we think should be just a little deeper for such a large and heavy display. It’s well-protected by rigid Styrofoam, however. In addition to the base and solid-metal upright, you get DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI cables. There’s also an analog audio cable and a USB A-to-B connector. Finishing off the bundle is a small cable clip, a quick-start guide and a CD-based manual and support software.

Product 360

Make no mistake, this is one large monitor. The base won’t take up a ton of desktop space, but the panel is wide. Speaking of the base, it’s quite beefy with a solid-aluminum upright that exudes quality. It snaps onto the panel and screws into the base with a captive bolt.

The anti-glare layer is similar to most of the IPS monitors we’ve reviewed – lightly textured with good clarity and minimal reflections under typical office or workspace lighting. Even with such a large screen, we had no trouble seeing even the darkest content on the BL3201PT.

Along the bottom-right are touch-sensitive keys that are actuated with the perfect amount of pressure. They light up when your finger gets close, but they aren’t too touchy. An even better way to navigate the OSD is with the puck-style controller pictured below.

BenQ uses this controller on several models and we love it. It plugs into a dedicated mini-USB port and nests in the base as shown. At its center are a select key and directional buttons. Around the perimeter are three picture mode hot-keys plus a return button.

Thanks to an extremely well-engineered stand, this heavy panel is easy to position. In addition to a portrait mode, you get 90 degrees of swivel, 25 degrees of tilt and almost six inches (150mm) of height adjustment. The movements are super-smooth, with just the right amount of resistance. The BL3201PT’s stand is truly a cut above the norm.

The side view shows a panel of average thickness with a large flat surface for wall mounting. All of the inputs and USB ports are on the right side (we’ll show them in better detail below). We’re happy to see not only two USB 3.0 ports but an SD card reader and a headphone jack on the side panel. It’s hard to tell in the photo, however, the side-facing video inputs are recessed from the edge, simplifying cable management.

The BL3201PT’s back panel is smooth and only interrupted by a small polished BenQ logo. If you unsnap the upright, a 100mm VESA mount is exposed. The hole in the upright can be used for cable management or you can attach the small included plastic clip.

The built-in speakers can be seen through the top-facing vents. They sound better than most thanks to their five-watt op-amps and two-driver-per-channel configuration.

The top half of the photo shows the video inputs. You get a single DVI port along with two HDMI, a standard DisplayPort and a mini-DisplayPort connector. To operate at 60Hz, you need to use one of the DisplayPort inputs along with a heavy-gauge cable and a 1.2-compliant video card. The dual-HDMI configuration is not supported.

The second panel in the photo faces downwards, providing three more USB 3.0 ports along with the upstream jack. The mini-USB port is for the OSD controller. Finally, at the far right, there's an analog audio input. Sound can also come from the DisplayPort or HDMI signal chain.

  • blackmagnum
    I wouldn't want to bump it over and drop it from the table, because the stand looks so tipsy.
    Reply
  • avatar_raq
    I wonder why all the links to Amazon belong to the BL3201PH not the reviewed "PT" model. Am I missing something?
    Reply
  • I Hate Nvidia
    I Don't Know Why monitor vendors can't make a decent 28 inch IPS UHD monitor below 500 $ whereas I bought my LG UB820T 42 inch IPS 120 Hz UHD TV for only 630$ ,and it comes with the amazing magic remote and TV tuner and smart TV support, WIFI and LAN , USB 3 and 3 HDMI 2.0 ports!
    Reply
  • qwfgbn
    Dell P2415Q and P2715Q are 4K 60HZ IPS panels which can be found for around 600$ on amazon.
    Reply
  • ohim
    Why is everybody stating about Luminance / Brightness as "higher is better ". I had an Iiyama 27" IPS pannel that had over 350 cd you can`t even use that monitor at 100% brightness, you can actually feel the heat from the monitor on your face. Best use was at around 25 to 50% brightness ...had to return it though due to flickering .. my eyes were going insane with that monitor.
    Reply
  • beshonk
    Been waiting for that xl2420g review you promised us! This monitor's way too pricey!
    Reply
  • nukemaster
    I hate to ask, but how is the glow?

    I wouldn't want to bump it over and drop it from the table, because the stand looks so tipsy.
    The stand is sturdy since the 3200PT(2560 x 1440 MVA) was very solid with the same stand.

    Why is everybody stating about Luminance / Brightness as "higher is better ". I had an Iiyama 27" IPS pannel that had over 350 cd you can`t even use that monitor at 100% brightness, you can actually feel the heat from the monitor on your face. Best use was at around 25 to 50% brightness ...had to return it though due to flickering .. my eyes were going insane with that monitor.
    I think the brighter is better has carried over from cell phone reviews or something. Working in a very bright area could also benefit from extra brightness. On the plus side almost all BenQ screens use voltage based dimming and not PWM. This should allow you to get a dimmer screen without the flickering(not that it bothers me).

    I personally have my screens at a much lower setting as well.
    Reply
  • Eggz
    Siiiick! This is the first 4K screen I've seen that seems reasonable in terms of price, performance, size, and image quality.
    Reply
  • burmese_dude
    "it’s selling on the street for under $1000." I wonder if they sell these on my street. I need to call and ask.
    Reply
  • ubercake
    I thought we'd start seeing some sort of adaptive sync technology on just about every monitor by now. I can't get excited about anything that doesn't have it.
    Reply