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OSD Setup & Calibration

If you’ve read our past reviews of BenQ displays, you know we’re big fans of the company's OSD controllers. Most have a puck like the one included with the PD3200U, while gaming monitors get the S-switch with its angular shape and scroll wheel. It’s an easy way to navigate the menus quickly and intuitively. If you want to reduce desktop clutter and put the puck in a drawer, there are excellent touch keys at the screen’s lower-right corner. Pressing any button brings up a quick menu and a second click engages the full OSD.

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BenQ groups the PIP/PBP controls and input selector at the top. You can view two sources at once, and the PIP window can be moved around the screen.

Next up is the Picture menu which contains most of the image and calibration options. There are five gamma presets ranging from 1.8 to 2.6 along with three color temp options and a user mode. The latter is only available in the User picture mode, which must be selected in the Picture Advanced menu. The RGB sliders work well but we could not improve on the PD3200U’s amazing out-of-box accuracy with an instrumented calibration. There are also color hue and saturation sliders which affect all six colors at once.

Picture Advanced offers eight image presets of which Standard is the default and best mode. sRGB and Rec.709 are also highly accurate. The others are task specific and there is a Low Blue-Light feature that promises to reduce eye fatigue during long work sessions. If you want full access to all adjustments, choose User. Display Mode has many aspect ratio options that make the PD3200U very flexible as a mastering monitor. You can create virtually any screen shape for things like game development or video post-production. HDMI RGB PC Range determines the proper black and white thresholds for PC versus video signals. The default is Auto Detect, and it correctly processes both formats without user intervention.

Audio has volume and mute controls along with a source selector. You can hear sound from either digital sources (HDMI and DisplayPort) or the stereo analog input. The speakers boast 5W per channel, making them a little louder than most. You’ll still long for bass, though. Stick with headphones or external cabinets for best results.

The KVM switch is enabled when two computers are connected to one PD3200U. This allows the use of a single keyboard and mouse for both systems. In the System menu, you can program the first three bezel keys to any of the listed functions. That allows quick access to things like brightness or picture mode and saves a trip into the OSD. There are also three programmable buttons on the puck. Those options are found in the second screen under Controller Keys. This gives you a total of six programmable controls.

The Ergonomics menu has options to automatically control the backlight, but you must enable the sensor in the Eco menu first. You can also have the PD3200U power down automatically when you leave your desk.

Calibration

We measured all the picture modes and found Standard, the default, to be the most accurate for grayscale, gamma, and color gamut. sRGB and Rec.709 are essentially perfect as well. The User preset unlocks all image adjustments so you can calibrate grayscale, select one of five gamma curves, and tweak saturation and hue for all six colors. Despite our best efforts, we could not improve on the out-of-box numbers which are pretty much flawless. We recommend sticking with Standard mode and simply setting brightness to taste. Even a LUT calibration is unlikely to yield any gains. If you want to try our User settings, they are detailed below. The PD3200U is one of the best uncalibrated screens we’ve ever encountered.

BenQ PD3200U Calibration Settings
Color ModeUser
Brightness 200cd/m251
Brightness 120cd/m221
Brightness 100cd/m214
Brightness 80cd/m27
Gamma2.2
Color Temp UserRed 98, Green 94, Blue 100
Hue & Saturation50

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.