This year, BenQ has released two new designer monitors, the PD3220U and PD2720U which are the successors to the PD3200U and PD2700U that were released early last year. A few months ago we reviewed the PD2720U and found it to be an excellent monitor for photographers, video editors and graphic designers. The PD2720U also excels at serving as a multi-purpose monitor for users who are into HDR content such as watching movies and gaming.
Today we are reviewing the PD3220U which is a 4K UHD 32-inch monitor that supports pretty much all color gamuts used by creative professionals. BenQ is using a 10-bit IPS panel that can display up to 1.07 billion colors, and can cover the sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, and the Display P3 color spaces. The monitor features a 60 Hz refresh rate, 1000:1 static contrast, 5 ms response time, and a maximum brightness of 300 nits.
Something that BenQ does really well with its monitors is the I/O and BenQ has gone above and beyond with PD3220U. The PD3220U comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports allowing you to use up to two 4K monitors. One of the Thunderbolt 3 connections provides 85W of power delivery which means it can charge your laptop, while the second Thunderbolt 3 connection offers just 15W of power delivery.
BenQ's PD3220U retails for $1199.99 on Amazon and comes with 3 years of warranty including on-site replacement service. The PD3220U competes with other 4K 32" IPS monitors on the market such as the LG 32UD99-W 32" ($1100), Dell UP3216Q 32" ($1030), and ASUS PA329Q 32" ($1050). While all these monitors share many of the same specifications, the PD3220U has them beat in the I/O department due to its Thunderbolt 3 connectivity which also explains the higher price tag.
Some of the features that BenQ has integrated into the PD3220U include Flicker-Free and Low Blue Light. Flicker-Free technology is used to reduce or eliminate screen flickering which effectively reduces eye fatigue and it can also help with reducing headaches brought on by prolonged computer use. There have been many studies that have shown that blue light coming from the computer monitors may be very harmful to the eyes causing macular degeneration or sleep disorders and that's where BenQ's Low Blue Light technology comes into play to combat the possible side effects.
Furthermore, the PD3220U supports many different type of image modes such as Animation Mode, Darkroom Mode, and CAD/CAM Mode. Darkroom mode adjusts image brightness and contrast to improve clarity and detail sharpness. Animation mode enhances the brightness of dark areas without overexposing bright regions. CAD/CAM mode can be used in design software such as SolidWorks, AutoCAD, and CATIA to improve the finest details for better display performance.
The PD3220U features BenQ's DualView mode which allows you to view images in two different color spaces simultaneously side-by-side (e.g. sRGB and CAD/CAM). Another attractive feature is the built-in Keyboard Video Mouse (KVM) switch. The KVM Switch enables users to control two different computers using one keyboard and mouse and this can easily be activated through the OSD.
BenQ also includes a Hotkey Puck G2 which can be used to customize shortcuts to your preferred features through the OSD. You can use the hotkey Puck G2 to adjust the brightness, contrast and volume of the monitor based on your preferences.
BenQ has factory calibrated the PD3220U to produce the most accurate colors possible and they have included a printed report with the factory calibration settings in the box. It's very important for people who do graphics work for a living to have their monitor output highly accurate colors. BenQ has said that all of their PD series designer monitors will be professionally factory-calibrated out-of-the-box.
The PD3220U is not being targeted at gamers because it lacks gaming features such as AMD FreeSync or nVidia G-Sync and also the refresh rate tops out at 60Hz. A 60Hz refresh rate is not ideal for fast-paced games like CS:GO and Overwatch because fast-paced games require a high refresh rate. Even though though it's not a gaming monitor, it can certainly play any game you want just fine.
I tested the monitor by playing Anthem with all the settings turned to maximum including HDR and I must say that the image quality looks outstanding on the PD3220U. Enabling HDR mode makes the game look stunning because it improves the contrast and enhances the dark areas in games.
|BenQ PD3220U Specifications|
|Panel Type||IPS Panel|
|Refresh Rate||60 Hz|
|Color Bit||10 Bit|
|Response Time||5ms (GtG)|
|Max Resolution||3840 x 2160|
|Display Colors||1.07 billion|
|Color Gamut||95% DCI-P3/100%sRGB/100% Adobe RGB|
|Display Area (mm)||697.31(H) x 392.23(V)|
Low Blue Light
|Power Consumption (On mode)||220W|
|Dimensions (HxWxD mm)||H: 627.6x714.8x185.81|
|Net Weight||10.4 kg|
|Gross Weight (kg)||13.3 kg|
|Display Screen Coating||Anti-Glare|
|OSD Language||18 languages|
|VESA Wall Mounting||Yes|
|Ports||2 x HDMI 2.0|
1 x DisplayPort 1.4
3 x USB 3.1 Downstream
1 x USB 3.1 Upstream
1 x USB Type-C Downstream
2 x Thunderbolt 3
|Release Date||February 2019|
The PD3220U comes in a basic brown carton that weighs roughly 29 lbs. The features of the monitor are listed on the side of the box. On the front you can will find some basic information about the monitor such as the 32" monitor size, PD series, PD3220U model number and that it is a designer monitor. On the sides you will find a list of the features that the monitor comes with such as the low blue light technology, eye-care, HDR10, 4K UHD, and Thunderbolt 3.
BenQ includes high quality thick cables which is nice to see. The components inside are well packaged and everything feels well secured inside the box. Inside you will find the 32” monitor, the stand and base, power cord (1.8m), 2x HDMI 2.0 cable (1.8m), 1x USB Type-C cable (1m), a quick-start guide with documentation on a CD-ROM and a printed report with the factory calibration settings. The PD3220U measures 24.71 inches in length, 7.32 inches in width and 28.14 inches in height and weighs 29 lbs including the stand.
The PD3220U comes well protected by two high density foams as shock absorbent and plastic wrapping to prevent any accidental damages during shipping. Packaging is top notch and the product arrived in perfect condition.
BenQ is using a 2-stage bezel design which is a very thin hard outer component and a panel border that appears to blend into the screen when the screen is turned off. The bezel is approximately 8 millimeters thick. BenQ's PD3220U sports a minimalistic and elegant design with a dark gray finish that looks really attractive. The display features an anti-glare screen coating finish which makes it easy to see the screen under bright lights.
The stand and base are made out of metal which gives the monitor a nice premium feel to it which I really like. They do not come pre-assembled but the installation process is completely tool-less and won't take more than a few seconds. You simply connect the panel to the stand and the base attaches via a single thumb screw.
Moving on, on the back you will be presented with a black smooth surface along with the BenQ logo printed at the top. When it comes to adjustments, you can adjust the height of the monitor up to 150mm and tilt the monitor by -5° backwards and 20° forward. You are also able to swivel the panel left and right by -30˚/30˚. The panel offers 178/178-degree viewing angles and 5ms (gray to gray) response time. The OSD buttons are located behind the frame and they are easy to press.
The display can also be turned on its head by rotating the display 90-degrees into vertical orientation to meet the needs of many type of users. BenQ has also added support for VESA mounting into the PD3220U which might come in handy if you want to mount it to a stand or to the wall.
The PD3220U does not come with BenQ's Brightness Intelligence Plus Technology. For those that don't know what the B.I+ technology is, it's a sensor used to detect the environment that you are in and will change the brightness and color temperature of the monitor accordingly. Using the Brightness Intelligence Plus technology helps to balance maximum contrast and vibrancy while maintaining viewing comfort.
As far as ports go, you get one 3.5mm headphone jack, one DisplayPort 1.4, three USB 3.1 downstream, one USB 3.1 upstream, one USB Type-C downstream, two HDMI 2.0 ports with HDCP 2.2 support and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. The ports themselves can easily be hidden behind a cover which BenQ includes. Also, the PD3220U has support for VESA 100 x 100mm mounting but BenQ has not included a VESA converter plate in the box. You will need to purchase a VESA transfer kit from either BenQ's store which retails for $39 USD or get one from Amazon.
I love the minimalistic design of the stand that BenQ has gone with here. It feels extremely well designed and high quality. The stand offers fantastic stability and is very sturdy and it doesn't wobble even if you move your desk around. It is quite blocky so it takes up some space on your desk but at least it provides firm and precise movements. Typically, large monitors come with a big power supply but BenQ has integrated the power supply inside the monitor so you don't have to worry about finding a place to hide the power brick.
The on-screen display menu is easy to navigate and the buttons are located behind the frame of the monitor. The buttons are quite snappy and easy to press. The OSD menu consists of four settings with the first setting being the color mode, then we have input mode, after that comes brightness mode, and then comes the customization mode which is where you will spend the majority of the time tweaking different settings.
In the color mode you can select between pre-configured options but you can also customize your own profile. The monitor ships with the Display P3 option as the default but you can also choose sRGB, M-Book, DCI-P3, HDR, Adobe RGB, Rec.709, CAD/CAM and Animation.
Moving on to the Input setting, here you can select between HDMI, Thunderbolt 3 or a DisplayPort connectivity.
The brightness setting is self-explanatory.
Now in the customization mode is where you will go to play around with settings such as Input, Picture, Color, Audio, KVM Switch, Custom Key, and System. In the input section, you can select between PIP, PBP, PBPx4 and SWAP. PIP / PBP stands for picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture which can be used to separate the screen into two parts so you can view images from different signals.
The picture section provides control over brightness, contrast, and sharpness. There is also an advanced option which will allow you to change Dynamic Contrast, Display Mode and Overscan. Dynamic contrast is used to allow the monitor to automatically adjusts picture detail and brightness. When you enable HDR, some of these settings become locked and you can't adjust them until you deactivate HDR.
In the color setting, you can change the Color mode, DualView and Color Temperature. The advanced section includes options to change the Gamma, Hue, Saturation, AMA, HDMI RGB PC Range and Reset All Colors.
The audio setting is pretty self explanatory but I will say that the 2x2W built-in speakers are fairly low-quality and the sound output is low even when it is set to 100%.
The KVM Switch sections will allow you to control multiple computers from one or more sets of keyboards, video monitors, and mice.
You can setup hotkeys in the Custom Key section.
In the system section, you can tweak settings such as OSD Settings, HDR Demo, Auto Switch, ERGONOMICS, Power awake, Advanced, System Setting and Information.
Now we are going to test the backlight bleeding at 0%, 50% and 100% brightness and the testing will be performed in a dark room. Backlight bleeding is a major concern among enthusiasts and gamers because it is a major issue with IPS panels but not so much with VA and TN panels. VA panels normally have superior blacks to IPS panels, but IPS panels have better color accuracy and viewing angles.
Another thing that I want to mention is that VA panels do not normally suffer from backlight bleeding whereas IPS panels are known for
suffering from backlight bleeding. The above photo is tested at 0% brightness and you can clearly see that this monitor suffers from
backlight bleeding in all four corners.
Here we are testing the backlight bleeding at 50% brightness.
Now we are testing at 100% brightness and you can see color variation on each corner and slightly in the middle of the screen. When it comes to backlight bleeding, it will all depend on how sensitive you are to it. I have spent a week testing this monitor and the backlight bleed has not bothered me during normal usage. Also, keep in mind that backlight bleeding varies from panel to panel and you could spend a lot of time trying to a find a monitor without any bleeding and not succeed.
Now we are testing the viewing angles at 0%, 50%, and 100% brightness and the testing will be performed in a dark room. The above photo was tested at 0% brightness and you can see that the viewing angles and color uniformity are very good when looking at the monitor from the sides which is to be expected from an IPS panel.
Now we are testing the viewing angles at 50% brightness.
Here we are testing at 100% brightness. During this testing, there was a slight color shifting and loss of luminance when viewed from an angle but for the most part, the colors stay true when the screen is viewed from an angle without distorting the picture or losing color accuracy. Overall, the viewing angles and color uniformity are acceptable for an IPS panel.
The PD3220U has everything you can ask for in a high-end designer monitor. It comes with a high build quality, a fully adjustable stand, a wide array of ports, and it's factory-calibrated out-of-the-box. Connectivity options are fantastic with the PD3220U. It has two Thunderbolt 3 ports that you can use to transfer your data, video, and audio files. Another thing that I really like about the PD3220U is the fully adjustable stand. You can adjust the height up to 150mm and you are also able to rotate it into vertical orientation.
Backlight bleed or 'IPS Glow' is very common with IPS panels and while the PD3220U suffers to some degree from it, it's definitely bearable. Keep in mind that backlight bleed should not impact you in any way, unless you are staring at the corners of the screen. Moving on, the 2x2W built-in speakers are quite weak. They are fairly low-quality and even when the volume is set to 100%, the sound output is still too low.
+ Factory Calibrated
+ Fully Adjustable Stand
+ IPS Display Panel
+ Outstanding Color Accuracy
+ Build Quality
+ Excellent Connectivity
+ HDR Support
- Weak Built-In Speakers
The PD3220U is an excellent monitor with an amazing color quality and I can safely recommend this monitor to creative professionals. I really like that the monitor comes calibrated out-of-the-box so I don't have to waste my time calibrating different settings. BenQ is selling the PD3220U for $1200 which is to be expected for a monitor of this caliber. Overall, the BenQ PD3220U deserves our gold award.
Final Score 9.5