Review: 32″ BenQ PD3200U Compared to a 27″ iMac Screen?

Recently, I was contacted by the great folks over at BenQ, a Taiwanese electronics company that makes, amongst other things, large high-definition displays. They kindly sent me their PDU3200U for review.

BenQ PD3200U

Unboxing the 32″ Display

The unit arrived safely and well-packaged. Being 32″, the box was large yet no larger than it needed to be. In comparison, the box for my 27″ iMac wasn’t too different in overall size.

BenQ monitor box

Apart from the actual screen, the contents included the monitor stand in two sections, along with the various cables, CD and information booklets — as well as a custom colour calibration settings information sheet in a black folder.

unboxing the BenQ PD3200U

Attaching the arm mount to the back of the screen was quite a simple task. As can be seen in the image below, there is a handy button that releases the arm, too.

BenQ detanches from rear

Setting up the Display

The setup of the display for fairly simple, as there are only three pieces that make the entire unit — the screen, the base and the stand/arm. All of which slot and fix together without needing special equipment or screws.

As can be seen in the image below, the screen has a  ‘Low Blue Light Setting’ that filters out harmful blue light and prevents eye-related fatigue. The display unit also has speakers built in too, which can be adjusted to quite a high volume.

BenQ PD3200U menu items

32″ Vs 27″?

The image below is the BenQ 32″ display right next to my 27″ iMac (on the left). This iMac is one of the latest versions, with a Solid-State HD and Retina Display, so it was good to see how they compared.

After spending some time working with both displays, it was in-fact a refreshing change using a larger 32″ display. I’ve been using 27″ iMacs now for nearly 10 years, and I thought 27″ was more than large enough. It turns out, however, that having more screen-space was much more useful than I initially thought.

I’m unsure what I think about the BenQ’s matt/anti-glare screen coating, though. Maybe I’ve gotten used to how shiny the iMac screens are, as there’s a sheet of glass in front of the display which houses the actual retina display.

However, both screens looked great and I ended up hoping that future iMacs would incorporate a larger 32″ screen such as the BenQ one.

BenQ PD3200U next to a 2015 iMac

A simple Design

The actual look of the display is very minimal and easy-on-the-eye. The outer bezel is rather thin, with the screen set back around 1cm. I didn’t like the fact that when the display is turned on, there is a white power-on light in the base-right corner. However, the overall design is simple, modern and would be appealing to both design enthusiasts and animators alike.

BenQ Display next to imac

One of the great features I learned from using this display was the useful and sturdy handle built into the stand (at the rear of the display – see image below). To move the screen higher or lower, I simply had the pull or the handle and it moved up and down with relative ease.

BenQ 32" top handle

HotKey Puck & Ports

You can just see the HotKey Puck just under the display two image-up. At first, I thought this circular “Puck” was merely a gimmick, although I found it useful when adjusting the colour and volume modes instead of using the menu keys. It also had many other uses which CAD and animators would find useful.

This monitor has an SD card slot, as well as 4 USB ports, too — which are handily located on the right-hand side of the monitor (which is quite handy). Even on my iMac, all the ports are all the way around the back, which is quite annoying!

BenQ PD3200U side ports
Comparing the Colour

I found the colour on the monitor to be ever-so-nearly as good as the iMac. On colourful imagery, there wasn’t really much difference, and the colour was just as vibrant as the iMac screen—which was impressive. In the process of using this display, I used the supplied Thunderbolt-to-HDMI cable to connect the BenQ screen (because I chose to use my User-Colour settings to view the screen). Apart from near-identical colour vibrancy, I did notice that the blacks were far deeper on the BenQ, though.

In any case, the colour was just as vibrant than my iMac Retina Display, but given that the BenQ has a matt finish, the colours do look a bit more diffused in my opinion. It does have a very sharp, colourful image with fantastic contrast, though. If colour is critical to your workflow, I’m sure that this display would suit your needs when the vast-array of built-in adjustments are tweaked to your specific needs.

BenQ PD3200U technicolor example

Moreover, I do believe this display would suit most designers’ needs quite well. Here is a snippet from the BenQ site regarding the PDU3200U Colour:

Reference-Grade Color Performance with 10-Bit , 100% sRGB and Rec. 709 – Covering 100% of sRGB and Rec. 709 color spaces, PD3200U’s advanced IPS wide viewing angle technology minimizes color shift to inspire absolute design confidence. 100% sRGB color gamut accuracy adheres to industry standards in digital production, and… [read more].

Screen Resolution

The screen is 32″ with a resolution of 3840×2160 at 60hz in 100% sRGB, which is a fantastic 4K Resolution display. The image below is taken from the BenQ product page here.

NenQ Colour

Compared to my iMac resolution, which is 5120 x 2880, it’s still a decent screen resolution. Even though it isn’t as high as the 5K iMac resolution, the actual physical screen size is larger (32″ compared to the iMac’s 27″).

Stand Tall!

For coders, this display would work well as the screen can be adjusted to be mounted vertical when it is set to the maximum height via the top handle, which is a major plus…

BenQ PD3200U vertical

Conclusion

After working with this monitor, and then going back to the 27 iMac display, I must admit that I’d like that extra screen ‘real estate’ that the BenQ gave me. I’m unsure whether or not I prefer the matt finish on the BenQ or the shiny-glass of the iMac. Overall though, I was impressed with the size of the BenQ display and the clarity, sharpness and colour.

Whether you’re a graphic designer, CAD designer or animator, this design should meet your needs. See the full specifications here, or check out what more the BenQ PD3200U display has to offer.

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