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BenQ EW3280U Review

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The world of monitors is a vast and potentially intimidating place to navigate. So many companies, so many different specifications, and so much to take in. BenQ has always been one name that has stood out above the rest. A trusted name in both the general use, media consumption and gaming markets. BenQ has set a high standard for themselves over recent years, does the EW3280U live up to this? Let’s find out.

A No-Nonsense Viewing Experience

From the off we’ll say this, the name isn’t catchy. However, when have monitors or TVs ever had that? Name aside, this monitor is so much more than just a screen. The BenQ EW3280U delivers a fully immersive viewing experience that provides audio and visuals that surpass what has come to be expected from a monitor.  

BenQ EW3280U PS5
Astro’s Playroom looks and plays amazing on this monitor

This monitor is not setting itself out to be a pure gaming monitor, but that’s not to say the gaming experience is bad here at all. The BenQ EW3280U has an impressive grey-to-grey response time of just 5ms and an input lag that measures around the 10ms mark. These combined with the 60hz panel, provide a fluid gaming experience. Those seeking to reach the dizzying heights of the MLG ladders may find that this monitor doesn’t quite hit the specifications they’re used to. However, for those of us who enjoy gaming as an escape, will have no issues losing themselves without being held back by this monitor.

Enhance Your Immersion

Audio on monitors has always been something that gets brushed over, rarely mentioned unless it’s outstanding. It’s a pleasure to say that the BenQ EW3280U supplies users with an audio experience few monitors have ever been able to reach. The guys at BenQ have put in a few audio presets too, allowing an enhanced experience for different media content. These range from a “Pop/Live” feature which helps you feel like you’re right in there with the content, to a “Dialog/Vocal” setting which drastically increases the clarity of spoken audio. Sound from this monitor is provided by the inbuilt 2.1 speaker system that is supported by treVolo (a professional media brand within the BenQ group). A 3.5mm audio out port is also available if you have your own speaker system already, but if not you can’t go wrong with the audio experience that BenQ has provided here.

BenQ EW3280U Spoken
Listening to spoken word content is a dream thanks to the audio presets

Movies will benefit from the devices ability to display content at a cinematic 24p frame rate. Allowing users to feel immersed in a full-on movie experience. Combine this with the HDR (high dynamic range) settings that are available and you’ll forget that this is actually a monitor and not a TV you’re watching on.  

Designed With Detail In Mind

Over the more recent years, monitors have gotten thinner and thinner, with more compact housings to minimise the space they take up on the desk. The EW3280U does its best to do this, however, it must be said that it is far from being a slimline display. Not to say it’s too big, there’s a lot of technology built into this, but I’ve definitely used thinner screens. As far as the stand goes, it allows for tilting back and forth but there’s no rotational movement or vertical changes that can be made. If you’re a taller user of this monitor, you may need to tilt it back to allow for a more ergonomic experience. The base is sturdy and even has a spot for cable management on the back, along with the ability to mount it to a wall.

In terms of connectivity, the EW3280U has two HDMI (2.0) ports, one Display Port 1.4 port and one USB type C port (along with the aforementioned 3.5mm audio port). The USB type C port can even provide power to charge a connected device (up to 60W). There is one downside with the ports though, the location on the back of the monitor can be very awkward to reach. When you combine how fixed the actual display is, you may find yourself tilting the monitor back off the stand to connect something up.

BenQ EW3280U menu
The menu system is super simple and the included remote allows for easy navigation

Menu systems on displays aren’t usually the easiest to navigate. In this instance though, BenQ has used a joystick-style navigation system to allow for ease of traversal. Located on the back, this allows users to quickly access all the customisation options to get the most out of their display. From pre-configured display settings to tweaking accessibility options (of which BenQ have provided a whole host), setting this monitor up to your perfect configuration couldn’t be easier. BenQ even goes as far as providing a remote with the monitor, meaning that even if you’re sat on a sofa or not right in front of it on a desk, you can easily change inputs or settings without getting up. It’s a small touch but it goes a long way.

A Viewing Experience Like No Other

What sets this monitor apart from competitor products in BenQ’s inclusion of a technology called HDRi. Think of it as HDR that’s improved with artificial intelligence. It takes a scene, analyses the colours and enhances where it can to bring even more out of it. This can be achieved by it adjusting the clarity, the contrast and how vivid the colours are (among other things).

It will also use the ambient light in the room around you to adjust the brightness and backlight settings to make it the most pleasant viewing experience it can. Usually straying away from any artificial intelligence that improves image quality is a good step, however, BenQ has provided us with something that breaks the mould here. It may not be to everyone’s liking, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you pick up one of these monitors and don’t try out the HDRi viewing experience.  

BenQ EW3280U Spider-Man
Although not designed as a “pure” gaming monitor, the EW3280U does an amazing job at it

The time spent using this monitor was done watching a lot of HD and 4K content online, as well as playing 4K HDR PlayStation 5 (check out our review here) games. It should be noted that the fleshy tones in some HD video content were a little on the vibrant side right out of the box, however, after some tweaks they became a lot more pleasant. As for the gaming experience, titles such as Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man Remastered played like an absolute dream. Maximising what the monitor can do, and allowing the console to push out the best visuals it can.  

BenQ EW3280U HDRi
Thanks to the HDRi, the EW3280U pushes the viewing experience to another level

If you’re looking for a monitor that can do it all, look no further. The BenQ EW3280U can easily take the place of your TV, gaming monitor and office monitor. With speakers that provide insane audio quality (not just in comparison to other monitors either), connectivity that allows for a whole host of different inputs and customisation options that really let you bring your content to life, it’s only let down by the rigid-ness of the design and the 60hz panel. The BenQ EW3280U is a first-class monitor that would be right at home in any scenario.

Rapid Reviews Rating

You can purchase the BenQ EW3280U for £709.99 on the BenQ Shop

You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.

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