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BenQ EX3203R 31.5 inch 144Hz VA model with FreeSync 2

Update: Updated model list. News piece below initially published 17th April 2018.


For users after an immersive experience, a large screen that fills up a lot of their visual field both horizontally and vertically is desired. By combining support for high refresh rates with a large screen and a high-contrast VA panel, options like the ASUS XG32VQ and AOC AG322QCX can be quite appealing. The BenQ EX3203R features a similar panel, aiming for a combination of immersion and attractive gaming features. Externally the monitor appears quite stylish but understated, with a look shared amongst other members of their ‘EX’ entertainment line-up. The bezels are dual-stage with a slim panel border and very thin hard outer bezel component. The OSD (On Screen Display) is controlled by pressable buttons on the underside of the bottom bezel, towards the right side.

A large, curved screen

The monitor uses a 31.5” VA (Vertical Alignment panel) with 2560 x 1440 (WQHD) resolution and a 1800R curve. This curve is moderate, but from experience is something that is generally viewed as a subtle and welcome addition rather than something that dramatically alters the viewing experience. Given their close affiliation with panel manufacturer AU Optronics (whose panels feature pretty much universally in BenQ monitors), it’s possible this is a variant of the AUO M315DVR01 rather than the more common Samsung panel seen on similar products. The monitor features a 144Hz refresh rate, 3000:1 static contrast and has 178° horizontal and vertical viewing angles specified. A (presumably light) matte anti-glare screen surface features. The monitor offers support for AMD FreeSync 2, which distinguishes itself from the first generation of the technology with more stringent latency requirements, support for broader variable refresh rate ranges and HDR (High Dynamic Range) capability. The variable refresh rate range is currently unknown, although LFC (Low Frame Rate Compensation) will feature as that is a requirement for FreeSync 2 certification – this means the effective variable refresh rate range will be very high.

In terms of HDR capability, this is de-coupled from FreeSync itself and can be used on GPUs from other manufacturers, which don’t support FreeSync. The monitor does not offer the full-fat HDR experience as it lacks extreme luminance, Full Array Local Dimming (FALD) or a super-generous colour gamut. Nonetheless, it does tick some boxes due to the backlight it uses. This is a flicker-free (DC dimming, not PWM) WLED backlight that offers 90% DCI-P3 coverage – that’s well beyond sRGB and closing in on that near-term DCI-P3 target for HDR. The backlight has a typical maximum luminance of 300 cd/m² but is boosted as high as 400 cd/m² under HDR operation. The monitor offers true 8-bit colour output, with HDR presumably compressing a 10-bit+ colour signal into the native 8-bit output stream for HDR content. The monitor also features ‘Brightness Intelligence Plus’ (B.I.+) which adapts the image based on ambient lighting, both in terms of colour temperature and brightness. Low Blue Light (LBL) settings also feature, which as usual for a BenQ monitor are easy to activate or deactivate when desired. A 4ms grey to grey response time is specified (take with salt). The stand offers tilt (5° forwards, 20° backwards) and 60mm height (2.36 inches) adjustment. 100 x 100mm VESA mounting is supported using a wall mount transfer kit. The ports face downwards and include; DC power input (external power brick), 3.5mm headphone jack, 2 HDMI 1.4 ports, DP 1.2a, 2 USB 3.1 ports and a USB Type-C port (data, power and display signal).

A slick rear

Further information can be found on the product page. The monitor is available to pre-order in various European regions and the UK for ~£470. We’d like to review this model as we’re sure there will be a lot of interest in it.

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BenQ EX3203R