Let me get this out of the way first; BenQ has been a great partner and sent us multiple monitors to review. Though we have a great relationship, that will not impact the review that I write for this monitor. The BenQ EW3270U 4K HDR Gaming Monitor is the latest in our line of monitor reviews, and this one was the biggest shock of all.
With the release of Mortal Kombat 11, I have moved my PS4 Pro into my office. This was primarily to make sure my daughter didn’t walk in on me ripping my opponents head and spine out of their body and gently placing it on a spike. The second reason was to see just how good a 4K 32 inch monitor would work for school, the site, and gaming. I’ll cover that all after the normal tech-spec part of the review.
As always, I will be reviewing the EW3270U with an eye towards the average user. That is, someone that cares little about the technology behind everything and is more concerned with the experience. I’ve never built a monitor and I don’t use tools or software to test every inch and pixel, so I feel that this is the best way to convey the experience of the monitor instead of getting too technical.
First off, unboxing and setup was a breeze. Most of the monitors I have reviewed from BenQ have been easy to assemble, but this one was the easiest by far. Maybe it is just experience at this point, but I had the monitor up and running in a matter of minutes. This monitor sits side by side with the BenQ PD2700U 27 inch 4K Design Monitor and the differences are pretty minor. While the PD2700U still has the best color reproduction around, I can only tell the difference when I put an image across both screens. Otherwise, the EW3270U is pretty amazing in the color department.
On top of a rich and fairly accurate color, the monitor has a nice footprint that doesn’t take up too much space, but feel sturdy. It doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles that the design monitor does (screen rotation and daisy chain) but the size and clarity is superior when it comes to gaming and every day work. At this point, the 3270 is my main monitor. Before, I expected the design monitor to be my primary since I do a decent amount of design work and it was fantastic for writing and school.
Now that I have had about a month behind the 3270 I have to say this will be my go to monitor for quiet some time. PC games, console games, writing, reading… everything, just works wonderfully. It is a monitor that isn’t afraid to go all out without breaking the bank. It isn’t perfect, which I’ll get to momentarily, but it is worth more than the asking price.
There are a few issues with the 3270 that will be a make it or break i deal for most. You only get 60 frames, no matter what you do. With my rig, I can go much higher in 4K, but I haven’t felt the need or missed it personally. Some people are constantly chasing the highest frame rate possible, and I understand that, so that may be a deal breaker. For the rest of us, the fact that I can play anything at 4K with a rock solid 60 fps makes life much easier. I load up a game, set everything to max, and I’m off to the races.
Contrast is the other big hit for me. It isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it is not as clear as some of the higher end monitors on the market. The dark colors look good, but true black is lacking just a hint. Again, this may only be noticable because I have it next to another monitor that has better contrast, but I felt it was important to mention. Ultimately, most won’t notice the slight lack, but if this is an additional monitor it is worth considering.
Finally, the bezel. While this bezel isn’t bad, compared to other monitors on the market it feels a bit large. This isn’t a huge complaint, but sitting next to some of its siblings it is painfully obvious that we are at an older bezel style. I don’t think it would be a deal breaker for me (the bezel is still much smaller than older monitors) but it feels like a step back compared to some of the more recent releases.
I covered a lot of the good stuff about this monitor in the intro, but I have to reiterate; you get a ton for your money with the 3270. A crisp image that looks good on PC, with a Mac, or with a console, and a pretty solid color gamut. In addition, the new HDR and B.I.+ dedicated button is back.
If you missed it in other reviews, Brightness Intelligence Plus is a big deal for those of us locked in our office until just before bed. With a simple press of a button, you get essentially what you would find with a phone when you put it into night mode. Everything becomes easier on the eyes and it helps your brain calm down a good bit.
Additionally, the button, which is located on the front of the monitor for easy access has four levels of HDR and B.I.+ modes. Will you use them frequently? Probably not, but the option is there to ensure you get the best image quality for whatever media you are consuming. Late night viewing of coffee cups in Westeros will require a different setting than middle of the day office work. The option is there and while not necessary, shows just how much thought BenQ puts into their product.
Ultimately, you get ZeroFlicker technology, which helps your eyes relax, and the monitor adjusts to the surrounding ambient light to reduce brightness and blue light. This reduces eye strain and fatigue and ensures you are getting the best image quality as the light around you changes. I can’t say enough about B.I.+; it just works brilliantly and I’m not sure another monitor manufacturer can say they offer anything close.
You may find other manufacturers offering sponsorship or becoming the official monitor of a particular game or eSports team, but for home use, BenQ has impressed me every single time. The 3270 has just been the culmination of all the rest and has easily become my favorite monitor since my days with my first big Gateway CRT monitor.
The inputs you expect are included and easy to reach, and the menu buttons are laid out incredibly well. Switching from PC to PS4 takes three clicks and moves quickly. When I turn off my PS4 at the end of the night, my PC screen takes over again. Other options are what you would expect. You can adjust the picture to your liking, choose from presets, and make as many minor adjustments as you need to get the image to fit your liking. For me, I made no changes out of the box and I have been perfectly happy with the image quality.
Finally, there are specialized modes for very specific uses. Smart Focus will darken the screen and highlight a video, for example. While I never found the need to do this (possibly due to the multiple monitor set up) the option is a nice touch that makes the monitor just a little more thoughtful for the user. Super resolution helps to bring lower quality images into a higher pixel density, which either I never used, or it worked perfectly as I never noticed it.
AMD FreeSync jumps in again as the go to for those with AMD cards. This was an issue for me a year or two ago as nVidia was the king of cards for most gamers, but these days that gap is closing and AMD cards are becoming more prevalent in towers, so the addition is a good on that will work for a larger portion of the PC gaming population that it would have a few years ago.
A quick search of BenQ will give you a review of all of our monitors on the site. It should be clear that I have been critical but fair on each monitor, liking some much more than others. Of all the monitors I have had the fortune to review, this is by far the best. Sure, a smaller bezel would have been wonderful, but choosy-beggers, right? The color and contrast are fantastic, even sitting next to another monitor, but they aren’t perfect. Still, they are far beyond what I would have expected from a monitor twice the price of the EW3270U. Overall, this is the monitor to get if you are a mix of gamer, student, writer, office worker, casual user, etc. It covers all the bases, with a focus on gaming and media, and it handles everything expertly.