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It’s nearly 2022, and yet 1440p is still the sweet spot for a gaming monitor. With that resolution, you can get everything you need at a reasonable price. The difficult part is finding a monitor that understands that assignment. For its part, BenQ mostly succeeds at that task with its Mobiuz EX3210R gaming monitor.
The EX3210R is a 32-inch curved gaming monitor with a 165Hz refresh rate and a 2560-by-1440 QHD resolution with support for HDR. It is available now for $600 from sites like Amazon. Other key specifications for the EX3210R include support for DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0. That, along with its decent built-in speakers, make it an ideal single display for use with a PC and the new-gen consoles. You won’t get 4K120Hz, but you can get 1440p120Hz from an Xbox and 1080p120 from a PlayStation 5.
I think between those capabilities and its performance, the display is the right price — especially if you are looking to buy one device to do it all.
I’ll get to what the BenQ display does well, which is most of the things you should care about. But let’s start with its shortcomings. The biggest flailing is a familiar one: the HDR is underwhelming. The display tops out at 400 nits, which is the minimum HDR standard. Ideally, you want a display that can hit 1,000 nits. Many monitors skimp on this still.
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The display also doesn’t have perfect response time for switching between colors. It’s not bad, but I like to compare modern monitors to my very good Asus Predator XB321HK that is about 6 years old now. That has nearly perfect refresh rate, which I test using this LCD testing tool. What I look for is flashing, which is not ideal. The XB321HK has almost no flashing. By comparison, the EX3210R’s flashing is slightly more pronounced — especially when switching from black to dark gray. That said, it’s still really good for its price range. I would not classify this as anywhere near a dealbreaker.
Similarly, the display has really good, if not perfect, color uniformity and blending performance. There is a small amount of vignetting around the edges of the screen regardless of the color, and you will see some banding in the transition from red to black and green to black.
The EX3210R is excellent in real-world performance
But in actual use, the EX3210R looks great and sounds decent. It shines when you have high framerate content to take advantage of its 165 Hz refresh rate.
It is pretty inherent with high-refresh-rate displays, but the EX3210R has almost no ghosting. In real-world terms, the image updates almost instantly even though I can maybe capture a small amount with a photo test. This is why I’m not actually worried about the pixel-response-time with BenQ’s monitor. Ghosting is usually where this manifests, and you just aren’t going to see it on the EX3210R.
The 2,500:1 contrast ratio, meanwhile, is not stellar, but it actually is enough for most games and fine for video content. And I think the color accuracy of the EX3210R helps ensure the image quality is apparent even if you don’t have a 10,000:1 contrast.
The EX3210R is at its best, however, when you are using it as your one and only monitor and TV. It comes with a handy remote that makes volume and picture control a breeze. And it enables you to quickly swap between inputs. I also really like the compact size of the remote, which means you can hide it away next to your PC without it sticking out.
In this scenario, it is great as a daily driver for your PC, and then it effortlessly shifts to handle your consoles. And I’m increasingly of the opinion that you should not wait for the perfect monitor. While it is nice to have a display that supports all of the features of the new systems, you do not need them. Instead, get the device that fits into your budget and life — I promise you’re not going to miss much if you don’t have Dolby Vision or whatever.
The BenQ EX3210R is available now for $600. BenQ lent a sample to GamesBeat for the purpose of this review.