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BenQ XR3501 35-Inch Curved Monitor Review

BenQ's XR3051 high-contrast AMVA panel offers an impressive 2000R curvature and a 144Hz refresh rate along with some very unique attributes.

Viewing Angles, Uniformity, Response, Lag And Gameplay

To learn how we measure screen uniformity, please click here.

Even though AMVA is similar to IPS, its off-axis image quality is somewhere between that and TN. To the sides there isn't much loss of detail but you can see quite a bit of light falloff and an obvious green shift. The same thing happens from above, so the reduction in quality is at least consistent. The extreme curve of the XR3501 however, completely negates any issues you might encounter when using such a large 21:9 monitor. There is no issue for anyone sitting on-center with the screen.

Screen Uniformity: Luminance

The black field result just cracks 10 percent thanks to a slightly brighter vertical band down the center of the screen. It's not really visible unless you use the monitor in total darkness and there is no real light-bleed here.

Here's the white field measurement comparison.

The white field test is also affected by the center-zone vertical band. Again, it's not visible unless you're really looking for it. Given the challenges of an edge backlight on such a wide screen, we have no problem with any of the 21:9 monitors we've tested.

Screen Uniformity: Color

There are no visible color shifts anywhere on the screen. White and gray tones are perfectly uniform from edge-to-edge and top-to-bottom.

Pixel Response And Input Lag

Please click here to read up on our pixel response and input lag testing procedures.

Besides the unique curve and the high-contrast AMVA panel, a 144Hz refresh rate is the XR3501's major selling point. While the BL3200PT scores well among 60Hz screens, going faster is the only way to improve native panel response. We can't really say we miss the blur-reduction feature given this result, but given the price, we still wish it were there.

Here are the lag results.

Only a super-human will be able to tell the difference between 28 and 32 milliseconds of input lag. This monitor should satisfy even the most skilled gamers. It proved very quick in all of our gaming tests and we never noticed any problems, even in the most detailed environments.

Gameplay

Obviously the omission of G-Sync or FreeSync in the XR3501 will be a problem for some users, especially given the premium price. But just how much will you miss the feature given this responsive 144Hz panel? The answer depends on what games you play.

In Battlefield 4 we definitely noticed tearing in urban environments, which are full of vertical lines like the edges of buildings and walls. The high contrast imagery makes it easier to see tears although when the action tops 100fps, it's barely noticeable. As framerates drop however, the artifacts become more evident and by the 40fps mark, we were really missing G-Sync. Since the XR is 1080p, most video cards should be able to keep things moving quickly if you don't max out the detail settings.

In Far Cry 4 and Tomb Raider, the loss of frame-rate-matching is less acute thanks to the lush outdoor scenes full of irregular shapes and lower contrast. You will start to see tearing when the framerate drops, but again the monitor's lower resolution and 144Hz refresh make up for much of what G-Sync and FreeSync bring to the table.

If you can accept the cost, the XR3501 is a fantastic gaming monitor that has pretty much everything except G-Sync or FreeSync. And you'll enjoy playing FPS titles on it as much as we did. But when value creeps into the equation, the decision becomes a little harder.

  • Soul_keeper
    Everytime I see these display news/reviews I look for the power usage numbers and end up having to google for them.
    Can you start adding the power usage to the specs tables ?

    thanks
    Reply
  • Grognak
    A thousand bucks for 80 ppi?
    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    Everytime I see these display news/reviews I look for the power usage numbers and end up having to google for them.
    Can you start adding the power usage to the specs tables ?
    thanks
    I don't know, I have never looked at power usage specs when deciding which monitor to buy. Ever. It is expensive for only 1080 vertical pixels though. Would rather settle for a 60hz model with 1440 for a similar price.
    Reply
  • rajeshgoblet
    'The other curved displays we've seen sport a 3800R curvature, which means a radius of 3000 millimeters.' i think its a little bit typo. 3000 should be 3800 milimeters.
    Reply
  • Shankovich
    Seems pretty good. Don't mean to sound like a whiner but for $1000 I would expect 10 bit colour on it. Then again loving that 144 Hz, can't complain about anything else really.
    Reply
  • Realist9
    1080p at 35 inches. No. 5 years ago? Maybe. Today? No.

    And someone dropping $1000 on their monitor is very unlikely to have a sub $300 video card.

    No excuses. This should have been at least 1440p. I was excited until I saw that.
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    this is clearly an attempt at milking the market. next year they will have a 1440p variant, and the year after they will finally incorporate freesync/gsync.

    they could have at least made it 1200p
    Reply
  • HideOut
    1080p. Why wouldnt you just buy a 1080p TV for less at that point...
    Reply
  • noobzilla771
    Got excited until that 1080p....
    Reply
  • atwspoon
    Waiting for "curved" to die out like "3D." More on this FreeSync and G-Sync tech!
    Reply