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BenQ EX3501R 35" VA Curved FreeSync HDR Gaming Monitor Review: Good Gaming, Great Looks

Viewing Angles, Uniformity, Response and FreeSync

Viewing Angles

Curved VA monitors have no issues when viewed head-on or at a slight angle. But at 45° there is a definite shift to red and a 50% light falloff. Gamma doesn’t suffer too much, which means detail is still there. IPS retains its advantage here.

The story is the same when looking at the monitor from above; however, viewing it from this angle nearly wipes out screen detail. So don’t look down on your VA monitor. It just won’t look very good from that angle.

Screen Uniformity

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Our sample showed average screen uniformity. We didn’t see any obvious bleed or glow in the black field pattern, but the numbers show a little extra brightness down the center portion of the panel. At some angles it’s visible when the lights are out, but we there aren't any problems when playing games or watching movies. Color uniformity is technically perfect since the range of error values is comfortably below 3dE. We saw only even white tones from edge to edge.

Pixel Response & Input Lag

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

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Gaming is the EX3501R’s forte, and that is supported by an excellent 11 milliseconds (ms) screen response and just 40ms of total input lag. The other monitors here are 60Hz screens, so that explains the victory.

There are faster curved ultra-wides out there, but at this price BenQ offers good performance. The most-skilled gamers will want something faster, but for the vast majority this panel has excellent motion processing and delivers a smooth, fast experience.

Gaming With FreeSync

Even though the EX3501R doesn’t have sufficient FreeSync range for LFC, it didn’t show much tearing at rates below 48fps. We were able to play Tomb Raider in the 40fps range with little problem. That was at the Ultimate detail setting, which is something of a drag for our Radeon R9 285. Turning down to High kept the action solidly over 60fps, which was much better for control response and smoothness. We tried both settings of the AMA controls and found little difference between High and Premium. No ghosting appeared when using the faster option. In either case, motion blur was minimal and almost non-existent at the highest framerates.

As a gaming monitor, the EX3501R will satisfy all but the most competitive players. 100Hz is more than enough speed for players of average skill. The picture quality alone is enough to recommend it. Contrast and color saturation are first-rate. Adding in the wraparound curve and large size just pushes it over the top. Sadly, we had no HDR games to try. Given our findings on the previous page, we’d say this monitor is a good but not stellar candidate for that format. We imagine by the time HDR titles are common, BenQ will have updated this model or released something better.

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