Page 2:Packaging, Physical Layout And Accessories
Page 3:OSD Setup And Calibration
Page 4:Results: Brightness And Contrast
Page 5:Results: Grayscale Tracking And Gamma Response
Page 6:Results: Color Gamut And Performance
Page 7:Results: Viewing Angles, Uniformity, Response And Lag
Page 8:BenQ BL3201PT: A 4K Price Breakthrough
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.
If you want an Ultra HD monitor on the cheap, your best option right now is one of the 28-inch TN screens. We’ve reviewed six such displays so far (all currently selling for under $600), finding a couple of them to be good performers. But to take better advantage of that resolution (especially in Windows), you need a little more screen area. Thirty-two inches is an ideal size because it offers a 137ppi density. This is only a bit more than the 109ppi sweet spot we so enjoy from our 27-inch QHD screens.
The one option we still haven't seen is an affordable IPS display. The Sharp/Asus/Dell triplets employ similar technology with their IGZO panel parts, but even now they sell for at least $1500. Dell enjoys the advantage of an Adobe RGB 1998 gamut on its UP3214Q. However, the other 32-inch screens are sRGB-only. Of course, there are 24- and 27-inch IPS UHD monitors too, but all of them are just a little too small when it comes to font scaling.
BenQ is making a significant move with the BL3201PT. Not only does it use a high-quality Ultra HD IPS panel, it’s selling on the street for under $1000.
If you check out BenQ’s information on the BL3201PT, it calls the panel part AHVA. To be clear, this is not a high-contrast VA panel like the one used in the BL3200PT. In this case, the acronym stands for “Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle.” The bottom line is that it’s an IPS panel with really good off-axis image quality. When you check out our photos on page seven, you’ll see that it does indeed fare better at 45 degrees to the sides than other IPS screens we’ve reviewed.
Aside from that, the other components are fairly typical. The panel part itself is made by AU Optronics. The backlight is a white LED arrayed at the edges of the screen. And color depth is 10-bits, achieved with an 8-bit native panel using Frame Rate Conversion.
Feature-wise, the BL3201PT is packed with lots of digital inputs, five USB 3.0 ports, a slick OSD controller, an SD card reader and even a side-mounted headphone jack. It’s all presented in a high-end chassis with a solid aluminum upright and the excellent build quality we’ve come to expect from BenQ.
Of course, performance is important to the equation. At this price, we aren’t too bummed about the lack of a wide-gamut option. But hopefully the panel is fast enough to appeal to gamers. BenQ positions it as a luxury business-class machine, so it needs to be versatile and accurate as well.
Is this an affordable jumbo Ultra HD monitor that is also easy to live with? Let’s take a look.