BenQ PD3220U 32-Inch DesignVue Monitor REVIEW
It doesn’t come cheap but BenQ’s professional-oriented DesignVue monitor is a real winner to those who can afford it, writes PAT PILCHER.
Laptops account for the lion’s share of home and office computing gear, but they all have the same crucial drawback. Their screen real-estate is cramped and small. Because of this, the market for larger external monitors is thriving.
This hasn’t been wasted on BenQ, whose DesignVue monitor range has video editors, photographers, and graphic designers in mind, or simply someone who wants a really spiffing monitor and has the money to blow.
Priced at $2199, the Designvue 32-inch display might not be the most affordable monitor out there but offers loads of features. Thanks to plenty of space (32 glorious inches of screen), 4K native resolution, good colour accuracy, oodles of ports and BenQ’s quirky but oh-so-useful HotKey Puck, it’s a real winner.
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Design-wise, the PD3220U has a two-tone grey-on-black finish. In the interests of reducing neck and shoulder strain, the monitor is mounted to an ergonomic stand which means its height, tilt, and swivel are all tweakable. It isn’t small, and when extended on its stand, you need to allow for plenty of space. A particularly nice touch is the near-complete lack of edge bezels – they’re sufficiently thin that they’re barely noticeable. Rounding things out, the PD3220U comes with a built-in KVM switch that allows a single keyboard, monitor, and mouse to connect to two PCs, enhancing workplace flexibility.
Specs-wise there’s also plenty to get excited about. The PD3220U’s display is a 10-bit IPS panel. It’s got a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, 300-nit luminance, and a 1,000:1 rated contrast ratio. On the pixel density front, you get 140ppi, which isn’t too shabby when you consider its size. On-screen images were super bright, looked crisp and were razor sharp. The excellent contrast ratio is also reflected in searing bright on-screen whites along with impenetrable blacks.
Playing with its many settings, you can use a built-in mini-joystick, but the HotKey Puck is a far better option. With it, you can change colour modes and a load of other settings which means you’re not limited to using your PC’s clunky display settings. The HotKey Puck connects to the monitor via a USB cable. It has three programmable buttons and a return button. Add to this a programmable knob that you can twist to navigate the PD3220U’s many settings.
There’s a lot of them. Every display mode you’re ever likely to nee (and some) is there. These range from DCI-P3, Display P3, HDR, sRGB, Adobe RGB, Rec. 709, CAD/CAM, Animation, Low Blue Light (which is handily designed to reduce eye strain and injury from blue light), Darkroom, M-book, DICOM, and a customisable option. With the HotKey Puck sitting in front of the PD3220U, tweaking its settings is more accessible than reaching behind the monitor to use the fiddly mini-joystick controller.
Aside from a mini USB port for the Hotkey Puck, there are plenty of other connectivity options baked into the PD3220U. These include two HDMI 2.0 inputs, a DisplayPort 1.4 input, 4 USB 3.0 ports (1 upstream and three downstream ports), a USB Type-C port, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. The Thunderbolt 3 ports will appeal to MacBook users, and other Thunderbolt-equipped notebooks as they support data and power (one port will deliver 85 watts, the other 15 watts). This handily means you can charge your Thunderbolt connected laptop and use the port to display content. It also lets you daisy chain to a second monitor.
On the audio front, you get a 3.5mm audio jack, which in an office environment is ideal for headphones, and at home, amplified speakers. There are built-in speakers, but they won’t loosen ceiling plaster or lead to noise control infringement notices being issued. There’s an audio jack and USB 3.0 and C ports, but the other ports are less accessible being behind the monitor, near its underside. BenQ have you covered though: the PD3220 pivot can rotate into portrait orientation, which also provides easy access.
It’s not the most affordable monitor out there, but you get a hell of a lot of bang for your buck. Thanks to plentiful on-screen real estate, a brilliant stand, well thought out usability, generous connectivity options, solid-output, and innovative design, the BenQ PD3220U scores a 10/10.