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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.

Our Verdict

Price-wise, there’s no better choice for a 32-inch Ultra HD monitor right now than the BL3201PT. Even without calibration, it nearly aced our benchmark tests. Low input lag makes it a good choice for gamers and its bright saturated image stays solid even at extreme viewing angles. We feel it’s very well-suited for any computing task. BenQ hits a home run here; highly recommended.

For

  • Superb image and build quality
  • excellent out-of-box color, grayscale and gamma accuracy
  • IPS screen
  • low input lag
  • slick OSD controller
  • breaks the $1000 street price barrier

Against

  • No wide-gamut option
  • average contrast

Introduction

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.

  • 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