It’s hard to argue with a 32in monitor comes with HDR support, a 144Hz refresh rate, support for active sync in games and even an 1800R curve to wrap its image around your peripheral vision. Read our BenQ EX3203R Review.
There are a couple of caveats. You don’t get integrated speakers, just a 3.5mm headphone jack, and owners of Nvidia graphics cards should look away now – it supports AMD FreeSync 2, so you’ll need to live with the overhead of vsync or suffer the occasional tearing in games.
If you have an AMD CPU, though, you’ll love the richness of HDR gaming. It supports VESA DisplayHDR 400, which is the first level of HDR specification. We put the EX3203R to the test with Forza Motorsport 7 and the colours looked suitably vivid, making a strong impact.
On the downside, the Windows 10 desktop looks washed out once you enable HDR, meaning we found ourselves only enabling HDR when it was time to play.
Sadly, BenQ hasn’t made this process particularly quick either – it takes four button presses on the menu to switch between Standard mode and HDR, and then you have to activate it in Windows 10. That said, if you have this monitor hooked up to a PlayStation and a Windows PC, it’s clever enough to remember the preferred mode for each device.
There’s plenty of inputs from which to choose too, with two HDMI 2 ports, a DisplayPort socket and a USB-C port. BenQ generously includes a cable for all the inputs in the box, but don’t expect the USB-C port to deliver power as well as a video signal – you’ll need the bulky external power supply for that.
The EX3203R doesn’t have the world’s most flexible stand either, with no pivot mode, a fixed stand (so no rotation) and the only flexibility coming via -5/20-degree tilt and a height adjustment of 60mm. Plus, if you’re hoping to mount this monitor on an arm or wall then note that it doesn’t have the usual VESA fittings – BenQ sells a VESA Transfer Kit – but that’s the price you pay for a sleek, curved screen.
What you really get for your money, though, is a 32in monitor with a 2.560 x 1,440 resolution and a 144 Hz refresh rate. As a point of comparison, the MSI Optix MPG27C costs less and only gives you a 27in 1080p panel. Those extra five inches offer an obvious advantage in games when it comes to immersion, as does that 1800R curve. Gaming is definitely this monitor’s forte, as spreading a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution across a 32in panel inevitably leads to a low pixel density. In everyday use. that meant text looked jagged on occasion – we really noticed the difference when switching to the BenQ straight from a 4K Iiyama ProLite X3272UHS-B1 (which also costs less).
We can’t fault the quality of this panel, however. While BenQ only boasts about its movie-friendly DCI-P3 gamut coverage in its marketing materials – it claims 90 per cent and it scored a creditable 88 per cent in our tests – when we switched from Standard mode to sRGB mode, it covered an excellent 95 per cent of the sRGB gamut. What’s more, its average delta E was 1.41; combine those two figures and you have a colour-accurate panel. It’s bright too, measuring 453cd/m2 (going beyond the 400cd/m2 needed to get the Display HDR 400 standard) at its peak, with a 2.952:1 contrast ratio.
BenQ EX3203R Conclusion
Despite the limits of its physical design and OSD controls, the EX3203R gives you a phenomenal amount of gaming panel real estate for the money, and it offers decent image quality too. If you own an AMD RX Vega GPU that can chum out decent frame rates at 2,560 x 1,440 then its HDR and FreeSync 2 support, plus its large curved panel, make the BenQ a decent gaming monitor for the money.
BenQ EX3203R SPECIFICATIONS
Panel type VA
Native resolution 2,560×1,440
HDR specification DisplayHDR 400 Diagonal 31.5in
Maximum refresh rate 144Hz
Active sync AMD
FreeSync 2 Display inputs 2 x HDMI 2, DisplayPort 1.4 Extras USB Type-X, 1 x audio jack
BenQ EX3203R VERDICT
A massive gaming monitor with decent HDR image quality for a very fair price, although you’ll need an AMD GPU to use its activesync features.