Crisp Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) picture. Accurate colors. Solid grayscale performance. Robust feature set.
Pricey. Finicky settings controller. Limited advanced color options.
- Bottom Line
The BenQ PD3200U is a well-equipped 32-inch display that delivers very good color, grayscale, and viewing-angle performance, as well as a highly detailed UHD picture.
Designed for CAD/CAM users, content creators, and other graphics professionals, the 32-inch BenQ PD3200U ($899) packs a wealth of features into its extra-large frame. In addition to an Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel that performed wonderfully in our tests, this pricey business monitor offers numerous graphics-centric picture modes, a fully adjustable stand, a built-in KVM switch, and an SD card reader.
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Design and Features
The PD3200U shares the same basic design as the BenQ PV3200PT and the BenQ BL3201PH. It uses a matte-black cabinet with half-inch bezels, and comes with a rectangular stand that provides height, tilt, swivel, and pivot adjustments. It also has four VESA mounting holes for use with an optional wall-mounting kit. Port placement is a bit different from most monitors; the two full-size HDMI inputs and two DisplayPort inputs (full size and mini) are mounted on the right side of the cabinet rather than around back. Just below are two USB 3.0 downstream ports and a headphone jack.
At the back of the cabinet are three additional USB 3.0 ports (one upstream and two downstream) and a connector for the included hockey puck controller, which sits in a cradle at the base of the stand and allows you to change settings and assign hot keys for switching picture modes. As we saw with the BenQ PV3200PT, the controller can be tricky; the four-way inner ring used to maneuver up, down, left, and right is thin and can lead to accidental settings changes if you're not careful. All of the USB ports can be configured to work with the internal KVM switch, which allows you to share the monitor and a single keyboard and mouse between two PCs.
The 10-bit IPS panel has a maximum resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 and covers 100 percent of the sRGB and REC.709 color gamut. It has a 16:9 aspect ratio, a 1,000:1 native contrast ratio, a 4-millisecond (gray-to-gray) pixel response, and a 350 cd/m2 peak brightness. The embedded 5-watt speakers are loud and offer a smattering of bass, but they can't stand up to the 9-watt speakers that come with the Dell U3417W.
You get a good selection of settings with the PD3200U. In addition to Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, and Color Temperature settings, you can choose one of eight Picture Modes, including REC. 709, sRGB, CAD/CAM, Animation, Standard, Low Blue Light, Darkroom, and User Defined. There's also a DualView feature that lets you view two windows side by side using two different picture modes. As with the BenQ PV3200PT, the PD3200U contains an Ergonomic menu with an Eye Protect setting that uses an embedded sensor to detect ambient light levels and adjust screen brightness. It also has a light meter and a timer that reminds you to rest your eyes, as well as a presence sensor that puts the monitor into sleep mode when you're not there. This monitor doesn't have the individual six-color Hue and Saturation settings that you get with the BenQ PV3200PT and the Dell U3417W, but it does have two sliders for increasing or decreasing overall Hue and Saturation levels.
BenQ covers the PD3200U with a three-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight. The monitor ships with HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB (upstream) cables, the hockey puck controller, and a resource CD containing drivers and a user guide.
The monitor provides very good color accuracy right out of the box. As shown on the chromaticity chart below, my red, green, and blue color measurements (represented by the colored dots) are closely aligned with their ideal CIE coordinates (represented by the boxes). Moreover, the monitor aced the DisplayMate Color Purity and Uniformity tests and provided a razor-sharp UHD picture while displaying scenes from Marvel's Deadpool on Blu-ray. The panel's ability to display outstanding highlight and shadow detail in my test images is not surprising, given its stellar performance in the 64-Step Grayscale test. As with most IPS panels, viewing angles were wide, with no apparent color shifting or dimming.
It's not designed for gaming, but the PD3200U performed fared well in our Crysis 3 (PC) and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Sony PlayStation 4) gaming performance tests. The panel's 4-millisecond pixel response kept ghosting to a minimum, and while screen tearing was evident, it was not overwhelming. Input lag, as measured with a Leo Bodnar Video Signal Lag Tester, was a very reasonable 10.7 milliseconds. The BenQ SW2700PT remains our leader, with a 9.5-millisecond input lag.
In Standard mode, the PD3200U consumed 44 watts of power (it does not offer a power-saving ECO mode). That's more efficient than the same-size BenQ PV3200PT (57 watts), the BenQ BL3201PH (56 watts), and the 34-inch Dell U3417W (56 watts).
The BenQ PD3200U is an excellent choice if you're a professional who works with CAD/CAM, graphics design, or other applications that require fine detail and accurate colors. Its 32-inch UHD panel delivered accurate colors and superb grayscale performance in our tests, and the display is equipped with plenty of features, including a built-in KVM switch, a fully adjustable stand, an SD card reader, and a USB hub.
If you require more screen real estate and are willing to shell out $200 more, check out the Dell UltraSharp 34 Curved Monitor U3417W, our Editors' Choice for high-end, extra-large-screen monitors. It has a 34-inch, ultra-wide curved screen and offers more video ports than the PD3200U, including a DisplayPort output for daisy-chaining multiple displays. It also has six-color Hue and Saturation adjustments and RGB Gain and Offset settings, not to mention a more powerful set of speakers.
By John R. Delaney Contributing Editor
As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of the Labs technical staff, as well as evaluating and maintaining the integrity of the Labs testing machines and procedures. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, John spent six years in retail operations for… More »
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