Crisp Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) picture. Handles HDR content. Accurate colors. Good grayscale performance. Solid in our gaming testing.
Stand adjustability is limited to tilt. Ports out of sight and hard to reach. Relatively narrow viewing angles.
- Bottom Line
The BenQ EW3270U, with its UHD screen that can display HDR content, delivers solid color and grayscale performance, making it a good-value 32-inch entertainment monitor.
The BenQ EW3270U ($699) offers good value in a large-screen, high-resolution entertainment monitor. This 32-inch Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) panel can handle HDR content, and it performed well in our image testing and for both color and grayscale accuracy. It also handily mastered our gaming testing. Although not as feature-rich as the Editors' Choice Asus PA328Q, which has a wealth of ports and a far more adjustable stand, the EW3270U comes in at a considerably lower price.
Design and Features
You'll find the same basic design on the EW3270U, the BenQ EL2870U and the BenQ BL3201PH. The panel is housed in a matte gray-black cabinet with half-inch bezels, and comes with a stand that provides tilt adjustment but lacks the ability to swivel or pivot. When affixed to its stand, which cannot be adjusted for height, it measures 20.6 by 28.6 by 8.5 inches (HWD) and weighs 16.5 pounds.
In back of the monitor are four VESA mounting holes for use in affixing the cabinet to a wall. Ports, which are all downward-facing at the back of the cabinet—an all-too-common yet less-than-ideal configuration—include two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4, one USB-C port, and a headphone jack. An embedded pair of two-watt speakers provides usable if not particularly crisp sound.
The 10-bit Vertical Alignment (VA) panel has a maximum resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 and covers 100 percent of the Rec. 709 and 95 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamuts. The EW3270U has a 16:9 aspect ratio, a 3,000:1 native contrast ratio, a 4-millisecond (gray-to-gray) pixel response, and a 300 cd/m2 rated luminance. Using a Murideo SIX-G test pattern generator, a Klein K10-A colorimeter, and SpectraCal CalMAN 5 software, I measured its luminance at 228.65 nits in sRGB mode, and 275.48 nits when I switched to Cinema HDR, a little short of its rating. (I also tested it using the regular HDR setting, and got a slightly lower score of 268.29 nits.)
You get a good selection of settings with the EW3270U. You can choose among 10 picture modes, including Standard, HDR, Cinema HDR, Low Blue Light, Game, Photo, sRGB, Rec. 709, Eco, M-book, and User [defined].
When the EW3270U detects an HDR signal, it automatically switches into HDR mode. Pressing the HDR button at the bottom right corner of the monitor's frame when you're viewing standard-definition content enables HDR emulation, which improves the contrast and color. This button also enables B.I.+ (Brightness Intelligence Plus technology) mode, which uses an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust brightness and color-temperature levels based on the current lighting environment.
BenQ covers the EW3270U with a three-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight.
Solid Color Accuracy
Color accuracy for the EW3270U is very good right out of the box. As shown on the chromaticity chart below, based on my color testing in sRGB mode, my red, green, and blue color measurements (represented by the colored dots) are closely aligned with their ideal CIE coordinates (represented by the boxes).
I viewed the same video side by side on the EW3270U and the BenQ EL2870U, a TN panel that I was testing concurrently. In sRGB mode, colors—especially reds—were much better saturated and more pleasing than on the EL2870U. The EW3270U also did well in displaying grayscale test patterns, handling both very dark and very light shades of gray well. VR monitors have a reputation of being able to handle subtleties in very dark scenes well, and the EW3270U, helped by its 3,000:1 native contrast ratio, is no exception.
When I tested the EW3270U for color accuracy in Cinema HDR mode, the color gamut proved to have been expanded, as shown on the chart below. The area bounded by the triangle represents all the colors that can be made by mixing the three primary colors, and the points are now all outside of the triangle, but they've moved straight outward, minimizing any distracting color shift.
The EW3270U also did well in our grayscale testing, handling both very dark and very light grays well. The monitor has a fairly narrow viewing angle, which isn't uncommon for a VA monitor; I started noticing image degradation when I moved barely 20 degrees off center, both to the side and above.
I did some ad hoc testing with the EW3270U in place of my usual monitor. It did well in displaying photos, with good color saturation and contrast.
Some Gaming Chops
We hooked up the EW3270U to a Sony PlayStation 4 Pro to test its mettle at gaming, running sessions of FIFA 18, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Ratchet and Clank. The panel's 4-millisecond pixel response kept ghosting to a minimum. I saw no sign of tearing or other artifacts. Colors were bright for the latter two games; they appeared muted with FIFA 18, a game that has known problems with color when run in HDR. Input lag, as measured with a Leo Bodnar Lag Tester, came in at a decent 13 milliseconds. The BenQ SW2700PT remains our leader, with a 9.5-millisecond input lag, while the Asus PA328Q tested with a lag time of 10.3 milliseconds.
Power-Thrifty for Its Size
The EW3270U consumed 44 watts in Standard mode, and 24 watts in ECO mode. That's more efficient than the BenQ PV3200PT (57 watts), the BenQ BL3201PH (56 watts), and the Dell U3417W (56 watts), running in Standard mode. The smaller EL2870U consumed 17 watts of power in ECO mode, and 30 watts in Standard mode. The Asus PA328Q used 44 watts in Eco mode and 53 watts in Standard picture mode.
UHD and HDR for a Moderate Price
The BenQ EW3270U's 32-inch UHD panel provides good value in an entertainment monitor of its resolution and screen size. It delivered accurate colors and good grayscale performance in our tests. Its stand is limited to tilt adjustability, and as is all too common even with pricier monitors, the downward-facing ports in back are inconveniently placed. It's a good, affordable choice if you're looking for UHD resolution in a large HDR monitor. For a similar monitor but with a wider viewing angle, a full complement of ports, and a far more adjustable stand, look to the Editors' Choice Asus PA328Q, but be prepared to pay a couple hundred dollars more.
About the Author
As Analyst for printers, scanners, and projectors, Tony Hoffman tests and reviews these products and provides news coverage for these categories. Tony has worked at PC Magazine since 2004, first as a Staff Editor, then as Reviews Editor, and more recently as Managing Editor for the printers, scanners, and projectors team. In addition to editing, … See Full Bio
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