Hardware Review: BenQ EX3203R 32-inch HDR Monitor

Product: BenQ EX3203R 32-inch HDR Display
Manufacturer:BenQ
Original MSRP:$599 USD
This product was provided by the manufacturer for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

After I reviewed the EW3270U 4K monitor from BenQ a while back, they asked if I’d like to take a look at this one as well, and I was intrigued by the prospects. Obviously it’s cheaper, but it’s also less feature-packed. Also, honestly, I’ve normally scoffed at curved screens, mainly in the “large” displays space for home theater use, but I was curious. Also, it uses the same “pseudo-HDR” that its older brother does, so at least I knew what to expect from that feature limitation.

Boasting a bit higher brightness capability of 400 NITS, it still doesn’t meet the full HDR spec, but it gets closer than the EW3270U does, and it’s very evident when they’re side-by-side, even in Non-HDR uses. You still get an expanded color spectrum that HDR affords, and if your source supports the feature, you definitely can benefit here. I’ve connected my PC via Displayport (and HDMI for some testing), The XBOX One S, and the PS4 Pro to this display, and all look great. I will say that this is an obvious step down, especially since its native resolution is 2560×1440 (known as Quad HD in tech circles) instead of a full 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160. Normally that’s not a “big deal”, but one oddity in this formula is that the XBOX One S and X actually support 1440P natively, whereas the PS4 Pro will downconvert to 1080P, but in terms of HDR, that works with ANY PS4, so you’ve got that going for you at least. The other benefit for XBOX One users is that this display supports AMD’s ‘Freesynch 2’ technology, and so do those XBOX Models. FreeSync 2, like Nvidia’s G-Sync, helps remove tearing or stuttering usually associated with gaming on monitors, as the technology syncs refresh rates to ensure games run smooth. FreeSync and G-Sync are widely used on PC gaming systems and monitors.

Connectivity options include 2x HDMI 2.0 ports, 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 2x USB 2.0, 1x USB-C, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The audio jack is nice to have though, since you can just plug headphones in and listen to audio sent via any of these digital inputs, I’d suggest headphones with their own volume controls though, mostly for a simplicity standpoint. In my setup, one HDMI is used directly from my PC, and the other connected to an XBOX One S and “Standard” PS4, all of which support HDR output.

The rest of the aesthetics are quite pleasing, with only one button on the front (which allows you to turn HDR and “Brightness Intelligence Plus” on or off individually). The other 6 buttons are on the bottom of the bezel, and easy to find and use. It’ll definitely take you a few attempts to get comfortable with navigation through the menus and options, and, of course, it took me a couple of minutes to figure out that the power button was underneath, instead of being the one on the front of the display. Available options are plentiful and easy to understand, and I especially like that there’s a “night time” mode that automatically adjusts when the room gets dark. There’s a small sensor at the bottom of the bezel that handles that for you if you’ve activated that option, so don’t cover that up. Lastly, the stand is minimalistic and incredibly easy to install, and it even supports tilting the display a bit, but no swivel.

It is pretty odd but also pretty cool having two displays on my desk that are both the same size, but it can occasionally get a bit odd since one supports essentially half the resolution that the other does. It’s actually great for me though, since, on the PC, there are instances when images or text can appear too small on the 4K display, so I simply drag it over to this one so everything appears larger.

The screen height can easily be adjusted by simply lifting from below or pushing the top, and the base is simply angled between two thin legs, but it’s incredibly stable. This display sits to the left of the BenQ EW3270U 4K on my desk, so funny enough, the slight curvature of this screen is a benefit. I still scoff at home theater displays with a curved screen, but in this situation, I love it (surprisingly). Let’s be honest, having two 32-inch displays on my desk is badass, especially when hosting a livestream.I can sit right here and do everything that I need to, all with crisp and bright displays that support wonderful response times (this one is 4ms).

Conclusion:
So, this is definitely devoid of a few of the “cooler” features than the EW3270U that I’ve previously reviewed, but the core functionality is exceptional. The BenQ EX3203R Monitor offers great resolutions, with “almost” full HDR10 support and blazing response times. I will say though, that even though this is a good display for PlayStation 4, it shines as a display for the XBOX One S or X, since those consoles support its native resolution. If you’re looking to use this with your PC and/or Mac, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a superb display that I use every day alongside its big brother, and I seriously have no complaints.

Score:
8.0

Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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