BenQ is synonymous with displays, offering monitors ranging from gaming, photography, and video production. The monitor we are looking at today, the BenQ EW3270U, belongs to the EW series. BenQ dubs this line of displays as the “Video Enjoyment Series”. To us, this means games, movies, streaming, and Blu-rays, but perhaps it’s open to interpretation.
Regardless of how one might use the BenQ EW3270U, this incredible 4K HDR monitor has serious video chops, which mean it’s best suited for media. With the EW3270U, BenQ is getting in on the trend of HDR and 10-bit color, while also cramming this technology into a 4K 32” panel. More to the point, they’re aiming for maximum value, targeting anyone looking to upgrade their desktop experience to Ultra HD on a budget.
In this review, we’ll see if the BenQ EW3270U hits its goals, and what kind of value this display offers gamers.
|Resolution||3840 x 2160|
|Panel Type||VA (Vertical Alignment), LED Backlight|
|Color Gamut||95% DCI-P3|
|DCR (Dynamic Contrast Ratio)||20M:1|
|Speakers||2W x 2|
|Connectivity||HDMI, DisplayPort (v1.4), USB Type-C|
Design and Features
Aesthetically, the EW3270U bears resemblance to other BenQ models in the EW, EL and BL series. The display uses a matte black and gray color scheme, with the top and side bezels coming in at around a half-inch. Overall, the monitor has a svelte profile, if a bit understated. Unlike Acer and Asus, it’s apparent BenQ favors a more simplistic design.
The front of the panel has a non-glossy, anti-glare finish. At the bottom right is where all the control buttons are located. Also, towards the bottom right, is the HDR button and brightness sensor. Pushing the HDR button allows the monitor to emulate HDR mode for non-HDR content, while the brightness sensor will adjust brightness depending on the level of ambient light in the room.
Under the hood, the EW3270U offers a 32” VA panel with 4K resolution. Complementing the 32” of viewing space is a 60Hz refresh rate with FreeSync. As stated before, BenQ has also packed in HDR10 support here, which is becoming important for desktop monitors. HDR has been around for TVs for some time, but it’s still a nascent trend for desktop displays.
Unfortunately, the EW3270U doesn’t offer a lot of versatility in the stand. The stand is a bit wobbly, and only permits tilting the screen forward or backward; there is no height adjustment or swiveling between landscape and portrait. The EW3270U is VESA compatible, with holes on the back for a 100mm VESA mount.
For connectivity and I/O, the EW3270U makes use of contemporary options. HDMI, DisplayPort 1.4 and USB Type-C are all located on the back of the panel. BenQ also includes these cables in the box, alongside the power cable. Additionally, the monitor makes use of a pair of 2W, down firing speakers.
The EW noticeably lacks any upstream USB ports to make up a USB hub, which has become a convenient feature these days. This is one of the sacrifices BenQ elected to make to keep a lower price tag.
To enjoy HDR to the full extent, you would require a full array backlit screen with local dimming, or an OLED panel. To do HDR justice, a huge amount of native brightness is required, with the HDR standard being around 1000 nits.
BenQ makes up for this by using VA panel and a strong contrast ratio, which still provides bright whites and deep blacks. Color accuracy is solid, with full saturation of sRGB and around 90% Adobe RGB. It also features a wide DCI-PC color gamut at 95% coverage. A 10-bit color interface means you won’t see any banding or dithering.
Gamma and grayscale are mostly on target. Gamma is slightly under the 2.2 standard in sRGB but hits the mark in DCI-P3. The EW3270U doesn’t offer any calibration options in HDR mode, which means you’ll have to live with the out of the box grayscale, which isn’t the best.
For gaming chops, the EW3270U offers respectable enough credentials. A 60Hz refresh isn’t anything to behold, but it’s something that is common among all Ultra HD screens – especially when coupled with a VA panel and HDR10. VA panels have a higher response time than TNs, but the tradeoff is the much-improved color accuracy. Additionally, the extra response time is unlikely to be an issue to anyone other than eSports players.
While VA panels generally offer a superior gaming experience over a TN, they still suffer from extremely narrow viewing angles, with anything past 45 degrees being unwatchable. You could still use two of these displays side by side, and not have to worry about quality degradation. However, being offset even slightly, or having multiple users around the screen, will create problems.
Lastly, FreeSync helps to ensure a seamless gaming experience, provided your GPU supports it properly. Obviously, the best way to do this is by having an AMD graphics card. If you’re using a GeForce card, you’re likely not interested in a FreeSync monitor. At the very least, you’ll need to be prepared for some workarounds.
Value and Conclusion
To some, the resolution is the highest priority, placing pixel density over a speedy gaming performance. If that’s you, BenQ has a proposition for you, in the form of the EW3270U.
BenQ’s EW3270U is an ambitious display, trying to do a lot with a little, so to speak. BenQ is offering HDR10, 10-bit color, modern connectivity options, and 4K Ultra HD at a price tag of $599 – which is quite compelling when other HDR enabled, 4K screens are north of $1,000. That alone makes the EW3270U worth its salt.
The price tag doesn’t come without some caveats, though. Outside of Ultra HD and HDR, the EW3270U is barebones, not really checking a lot of boxes. Gamers may recoil at the notion of only 60Hz. However, 60fps tends to be the target for Ultra HD, non-TN panels. Unless you’re in possession of an expensive GPU setup, this shouldn’t be an issue.
The EW3270U offers HDR10 support but stops short of delivering true HDR. To date, the only way to experience that is with OLEDs or full array LCDs, and that’s where the price gets out of reach for most. That said, the EW3270U offers a very compelling HDR experience for the price.
Regarding HDR, it’s worth mentioning you need HDR-ready content. For games, this means Destiny 2, Final Fantasy XV, Doom and Far Cry 5 to name a few. Also, getting HDR to look right can be a finicky process. You’ll have to enable HDR mode in Windows 10, and then calibrate your games according to your own tastes. After the initial hassle, you’ll experience great looking games with expanded color vibrancy and luminance.
BenQ also culled some other features, like USB ports and digital audio out. Given the price, it’s understandable why they’ve done this, just be prepared for it.
All said, for those among you looking to upgrade your gaming experience to Ultra HD and HDR on a budget, we’re not sure there’s a better option for $600. The value card is really the one the BenQ EW3270U plays the best, catering equally to gamers, professionals and everyday users alike.