Tom's Hardware Verdict
BenQ EX3501R delivers a smooth immersive experience in fast-paced action titles. It supports HDR10 just fine but doesn’t offer as much contrast as some of the competition and has a little less color saturation in HDR mode. For SDR material however, it has few equals. While there are faster screens out there, few of them look as good.
Great gaming chops
Sharp, high-contrast image
Excellent color accuracy
Doesn’t need calibration
Accepts 3840x2160 signals
Processes 24p correctly
Lower contrast than other VA panels
A little less color than other DCI-capable screens
Why you can trust Tom's Hardware Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Features and Specifications
Update November 27, 2019: Now that this monitor's over a year old, it's starting to see some discounts. As part of the best Black Friday tech deals, it's currently selling at its all-time lowest price. You can find it for $550 on Amazon, which is $200 off its MSRP and $100 cheaper than it typical price tag.
Original review June 29, 2018
There is a lot of upward potential in the HDR market, gaming or otherwise. However, standards are still in flux, and implementation is all over the place. Just because a display has HDR doesn’t mean it will change your life; some do it better than others.
Enter the BenQ EX3501R, a 35” curved VA panel with 100Hz and FreeSync. A gaming monitor first and an entertainment display second, it delivers a smooth immersive experience in today's fast-paced action titles.
But while it supports HDR10 just fine, it doesn’t offer as much contrast as some of the best gaming monitors and has a little less color saturation in HDR mode. For SDR material however, it has few equals.
The EX3501R goes beyond casual entertainment and adds a 35” 1800R curved ultra-wide screen with vertical alignment (VA) technology and 3440x1440 resolution. Speed-wise, it tops all the HDR monitors we’ve looked at thus far, including BenQ's EW3270U and EW277HDR. And the aspect ratio screams gaming all the way. While 100Hz isn’t the fastest ultra-wide we’ve seen, 100 frames per second (fps) shouldn’t be too hard to achieve at this monitor’s native resolution.
HDR10 is the most common form of HDR so far, and this monitor supports it. The panel is 8-bits native, so some content may show banding. 10-bit color is a better choice for HDR, though gaming at that depth will exact a serious toll on performance. By moving 25% fewer pixels than an Ultra HD display, the EX3501R can boast some decent framerates. And if you have a fast enough video card, you can easily reach 100fps. FreeSync is offered from 48-100Hz, which eliminates the possibility of low framerate compensation, but most cards from the mid-range and up should be able to keep the action above that lower limit.
The EX3501R also offers extended color, meaning it goes beyond the standard RGB (sRGB) spectrum. Though it won’t quite reach the 90% P3 level, which produces a wider color range than sRGB, of other HDR screens, it still goes beyond sRGB - up to about 80% of P3 by our measurements. How much does that matter? If you’re watching Ultra HD Blu-rays (the best way to enjoy HDR right now) the EX3501R will deliver most of that extra color and look more saturated than an sRGB monitor.
However, gamers may want to consider that HDR titles are quite rare still. And games with color beyond sRGB are vaporware at present.
|Brand & Model||BenQ EX3501R|
|Panel Type & Backlight||AMVA / W-LED, edge array|
|Screen Size & Aspect Ratio||35" / 21:9Curve Radius - 1800mm|
|Max Resolution & Refresh||3440x1440 @ 100HzFreeSync - 48-100HzDensity - 106ppi|
|Native Color Depth & Gamut||8-bit / sRGB+HDR10|
|Response Time (GTG)||4ms|
|Video Inputs||1x DisplayPort 1.42x HDMI 2.0|
|Audio||3.5mm headphone output|
|USB||v3.0 - 2 x down1x USB-C|
|Power Consumption||38.7w, brightness @ 200 nits|
|Panel DimensionsWxHxD w/base||32.9 x 17.5-19.8 x 8.8"836 x 445-503 x 224mm|
|Panel Thickness||3.7" / 94mm|
|Bezel Width||Top/sides - .4" / 10mmBottom - 1" / 25mm|
|Weight||22.9lbs / 10.4kg|
Any 35” ultra-wide monitor will take up a lot of room on the desktop, but the EX3501R has a very thin, flush-mounted bezel that adds just 10mm to each side of the screen. A multi-display setup is certainly in the cards if you have the budget for two or three of these, plus the necessary space.
The curve is a tight 1800mm radius making the wraparound effect more than just noticeable. There is no image distortion, and our sample displayed decent screen uniformity. The VA panel offers a bright, contrasting image with excellent clarity through an aggressive anti-glare layer. Setup in nearly any lighting environment should be no problem.
The base is finished in chrome-plate plastic over a metal core. The upright offers a bit more than 2” height adjustment along with 20° back tilt and 5° forward tilt. There is no swivel available. Movements are firm and solid with no excess play. The upright features a hole to aid in tidy cable management, and you can hide plugs with the included snap-on cover.
In terms of connections, you get two HDMI 2.0 ports that both support HDCP 2.2 content protection. That makes them compatible with 18Gbps sources like Ultra HD Blu-ray players or movie servers. Also underneath is a DisplayPort 1.4 connector and a 3.5mm audio jack. The accessory bundle includes HDMI, DisplayPort and USB-C cables. The power supply is external, housed in a large brick.
MORE: Best Gaming Monitors
MORE: How We Test Monitors
MORE: All Monitor Content
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.
Amazon solidifies push into custom chips that replace Intel and AMD processors, unveils Graviton4 and Trainium2 cloud servers
Planned price hikes? DRAM and NAND costs are increasing due to industry-wide production cuts
Lenovo Legion 9i Gen 8 Review: The King of 16-inch Gaming Laptops
>Right now, there are no games that can take advantage of HDRReply
Uh ... Assassin's Creed: Origins, Final Fantasy VI?
Final Fantasy 15 even.Reply
mass effect andromeda I'm more concerned with that 4ms at 100hz YUCK already bought ASUS version and it was TRASH returned it motion blur and input lag VA is not where it needs to be yet ISP is still better.Reply
why are screens being made with internal bezel a portion of the edges being useless its very ugly and misleadingReply
21097935 said:mass effect andromeda I'm more concerned with that 4ms at 100hz YUCK already bought ASUS version and it was TRASH returned it motion blur and input lag VA is not where it needs to be yet ISP is still better.
I think you're confusing response time with input lag:
Response Time is a measure of how fast a pixel can turn on/off (yes I'm simplifying this...) and is what affects "motion blur". VAs are generally faster and better then IPS here and there are ways to fix a monitor with a slow response such as using ULMB.
Input Lag is the time it takes for a signal sent out by the source to be displayed on the screen, this has no effect on motion blur and IPS are generally faster than VA here. Example, click you mouse button and (40ms) later that action takes place on the screen, this is input lag.
If you're truely concerned about either of the above items, get a TN panel as it smokes both IPS and VA in both fields, but you will lose a lot of color, contrast, and viewing angle with a TN. I use to do competitive game and my main gaming monitor is still a TN; anytime I'm on a VA or IPS something just feels off and i suspect its the display speed. I didnt give up my CRT (NEC FP2141SB) as my main gaming monitor until 2012 if this says anything about it...
Do you think there's any chance they'll be releasing this monitor in a G-Sync flavor?Reply
Been waiting for a monitor like this, after experiencing 144hz, going back to a 60hz monitor just for the larger size and curvature wasn't acceptable. A Curved/Freesync/VA/100Hz is in the sweet spot for me.Reply
I'm worried these devices are effectively albatrosses since HDMI 2.1 is out.Reply