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Introduction

There has certainly been a shift in the desktop monitor market towards larger screen sizes. A few years ago a 27" sized monitor would have been considered very large indeed, but now it feels almost like it's the norm. Instead we have seen a steady influx of screens larger than 30" in size over the last year. Most of the focus of these extra large screens has been on delivering Quad HD "4k" resolutions, with models like the Dell UP3214Q for instance providing a huge 31.5" diagonal and a 3840 x 2160 resolution. The cost of these screens is generally prohibitive for many consumers, although we have started to see some 28" models emerge with lower cost TN Film panels, offering a large screen and 4k resolution, as long as you can live with some of the sacrifices of the chosen panel technology. Practical usage of 4k resolution is still in early adoption and so as a resolution it's not for everyone yet.

BenQ have initially opted for something a bit different. Their new BL3200PT is a massive 32" sized screen making it a huge desktop monitor option, but rather than deliver a 4k resolution, they have stuck with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, the same as that offered by most 27" monitors. This is an interesting development as we've not seen this resolution used in any other size panel until now. Many users find a 27" 2560 x 1440 monitors text too small for comfortable use so this is an interesting way of offering a more comfortable experience and a larger screen size at the same time. Equally interesting is the use of a new AU Optronics AMVA (VA type) panel which until now has not been available with this resolution.

The BL3200PT is aimed at CAD/CAM users, much like their BL2710PT model we tested last year. It comes with an extensive range of options, extras, connections and adjustments with a focus on user comfort. BenQ's website states: "Accurate Color Gamut that brings your imagination to life, A Large Screen that extends your design space, High Resolution to view the smallest details, Ergonomic Features that ease your eye and neck strain... Result, A monitor that meets all your CAD/CAM needs!"

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Specifications and Features

The following table gives detailed information about the specs of the screen:

Monitor Specifications

Size

32"WS (81.3cm)

Panel Coating

Light AG coating

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Interfaces

DL-DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort 1.2, D-sub VGA

Resolution

2560x 1440

Pixel Pitch

0.276 mm

Design colour

Black bezel and base, silver trim to stand

Response Time

4ms G2G (12ms ISO)

Ergonomics

Tilt, height, pivot and swivel

Static Contrast Ratio

3000:1

Dynamic Contrast Ratio

20 million:1

VESA Compatible

Yes, 100mm

Brightness

300

Accessories

Power, DVI, DisplayPort, VGA, audio and USB cables. OSD controller switch

Viewing Angles

178 / 178

Panel Technology

AU Optronics AMVA

Weight

Net weight: 13Kg

Backlight Technology

W-LED

Physical Dimensions

(WxHxD) with stand max height
740 x 640 x 232 mm

Colour Depth

1.07b (10-bit)

Refresh Rate

60Hz

Special Features

2x 5W stereo speakers, audio jack, 2x USB 2.0 and 2x USB 3.0 ports, OSD controller switch accessory, SD card reader, ambient light sensor, human motion sensor

Colour Gamut

Standard gamut ~sRGB
79% NTSC, 100% sRGB, 78.0% Adobe RGB

The BL3200PT offers a full range of connectivity options. There are dual-link DVI, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI and D-sub interfaces provided for video connections which is great to see and should cover all your needs. The digital interfaces are HDCP certified for encrypted content. Cables are provided in the box for DVI, DisplayPort and VGA connections but not HDMI.

The screen has an internal power supply so all you need is the provided kettle lead power cable. There are integrated 2x 5W stereo speakers on this model and an audio jack if you need it and are sending audio to the screen over HDMI. There are also 2x USB 2.0 ports and 2x USB 3.0 ports built into the screen. The two USB 3.0 ports are located on the right hand side of the screen in fact for easy access which is nice. There is also a built in SD card reader on the right hand side which is handy. An ambient light sensor is built into the screen as well for automatically adjusting your brightness setting depending on the lighting conditions of your environment. There is also a human motion sensor ("ECO sensor") which can turn the screen off when it detects no usage.

Perhaps most interesting is a new "OSD Controller" switch device which BenQ have provided with the screen. This is a small circular device as shown above which can sit in the round indent in the bottom of the stand if you like, or just positioned somewhere else near the screen. This connects to the back of the display via a small mini USB connection but needs no software or anything to function. It then acts like the buttons for the OSD menu and is simple to use and feels quite smart we thought. There are 3 quick access buttons which can be customised via the main OSD menu to give you access to things you might use often (preset modes, aspect ratio, brightness, volume, inputs etc). You can also access the main menu as normal and navigate simply. It's quite a nice alternative to the OSD buttons and although perhaps a tad unnecessary, it was a nice gadget-y touch which we really liked. A nice new idea from BenQ there.

Below is a summary of the features and connections of the screen:

Feature

Yes / No

Feature

Yes / No

Tilt adjust

DVI

Height adjust

HDMI

Swivel adjust

D-sub

Rotate adjust

DisplayPort

VESA compliant

Component

USB Ports

Composite

Card Reader

Audio connection

Ambient Light Sensor

HDCP Support

Touch Screen

MHL Support

Hardware calibration

Integrated Speakers

Uniformity correction

PiP / PbP



Design and Ergonomics



Above: front views of the screen. Click for larger versions

The BL3200PT comes in a mostly black design, with matte plastics used for the bezel and base. There is a nice thin bezel around the screen measuring ~14mm along the top and sides, and ~20mm along the bottom edge. It's thin and sleek looking and the screen could easily be used in a multi-monitor setup without introducing too wide a border if needed. There is a BenQ logo in the bottom left hand corner and a "BL3200" label in the top right hand corner. In the middle of the lower bezel is a glossy plastic strip which houses the ambient light sensor and human motion sensors, and there is a small "QHD" label there too. The bottom right hand edge features the touch-sensitive OSD control buttons and a pressable power button. The LED on the power button glows white during operation and amber when the screen is in standby.


Above: rear view of screen and front of the stand arm

The back of the screen is mostly matte black plastic as well, although there's a glossy black section along the bottom portion as you can see above. The stand connects easily into the back of the screen which also provides a VESA 100mm compatibility if you want to arm or wall mount it. The stand is quite similar to the stands seen on Dell screens in fact in design and feel. There is a cable tidy hole in the back of the arm as you can see above. The monitor arm is a silver coloured aluminium and feels sturdy and strong, providing a great support for the large and pretty heavy screen. Because of the metal used here the stand itself is quite heavy and adds to the overall weight of the display. You will note the circular indent section in the bottom of the stand where it connects into the base. This has a blue coloured trim around the edges and can be used to store the OSD controller switch device (see below).


Above: base of stand

The base is rectangular in shape measuring 38 x 21mm in size. It is a black plastic but designed to look like brushed aluminium and looks attractive and gives a premium feel to the stand.


Above: OSD controller switch device

The OSD controller switch is a nice additional gadget we felt. It's quite light but feels well built. It can sit in the circular indent of the base of the stand if you want, although we did find that puts it out of sight a bit as the screens height adjustment is quite low to align the screen properly for a normal seating position.


Above: side USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader and video connections

The right hand edge of the screen features 2x USB 3.0 ports and an integrated SD card reader. There is also a headphone jack here if sending audio to the screen and not wanting to use the built in speakers. Inset along the right hand edge of the middle part of the screen are the video connections which you can see on the left hand image above. These are easy to access as opposed to being tucked along the bottom edge at the back where they are hard to see and reach.

There is a very good range of ergonomic adjustments provided by the stand.


Above: full tilt range

The tilt adjustment is smooth and easy to move, giving you a decent enough range of adjustment for your viewing position.


Above: maximum height adjustment

The height adjustment is again easy and smooth to manoeuvre. At its lowest setting the bottom edge of the screen is 50mm from the top edge of the desk. At its maximum adjustment it is 200mm, giving you a total 150mm adjustment range as advertised.


Above: swivel adjustment

The side to side swivel also works well, being smooth and easy to use. The base remains stable on the desk as you move it from side to side which is good.


Above: rotated portrait mode

There is even a rotation function offered which to be honest at this size is a little impractical. It's smooth and easy to use, although whether you'd ever have cause to use it is another question.

A summary of the screens ergonomic adjustments is shown below:

Function

Range

Smoothness

Ease of Use

Tilt

Yes

Smooth

Easy

Height

150mm

Smooth

Easy

Swivel

Yes

Smooth

Easy

Rotate

Yes

Smooth

Easy

Overall

Full range of easy to use and smooth adjustments

The materials were of a very good standard and build quality felt sturdy and strong. There was no audible  buzzing noise from the screen even when conducting specific tests which can often identify buzzing issues. The whole screen remained very cool even during prolonged use as well which was pleasing.


Above: connection along the bottom part of the back of the screen shown. Click for larger version

 
Above:
interface connections shown. Click for larger version

The back of the screen along the bottom area features 2x USB 2.0 ports, the mini USB connection for the OSD controller switch, the USB upstream port and an audio connection. There is then the power connection and power on/off switch on the right. The video interface connections are located vertically on the right hand edge of the back of the screen (if viewing the screen from the front). There are HDMI, DL-DVI, D-sub and DisplayPort provided which was pleasing to see.

 



OSD Menu


Above: views of OSD operational buttons on the bottom right hand edge of the screen

The OSD menu is accessed and controlled through a series of 5 touch-sensitive buttons along the bottom edge of the screen. Normally these look like 5 small black squares on the front of the bezel which are subtle and hidden during normal use.

As you move your finger towards the buttons (but don't press them) they all light up, showing you they are available to press. From there a light touch of any of them brings up a quick launch menu bar as shown above which shows what each of the buttons will then do for you. From here there is quick access (in order) to the preset mode menu, input selection, volume control and then the main menu itself.

  

If you use the quick access to any of the menus, the logos above each of the buttons changes, showing you what they will now do, whether that's scroll up and down, make a selection or whatever else is available. Above are the quick access menus for the preset modes ('picture mode' menu) and input selection.

The quick access to the volume control is also shown above. You can also change what quick launch options are available from within the main OSD menu, including things like brightness, contrast, aspect ratio control and some of the ECO options. Useful to have available and be able to change to your taste.

The main OSD menu looks as above. It is split into 7 sections which are shown down the left hand side. As you scroll down the options within each section are shown on the right. The first 'display' section is mostly for adjustments when using the analogue VGA connection, but can also control the auto-pivot function (when switching the screen from landscape to portrait modes) and the input selection.

The picture menu contains quite a few of the common options like brightness and contrast. You can also select from the various gamma and colour temperature modes which we will test later on as well. If you scroll down this section further there is also the AMA option, for controlling the response time setting.

The picture advanced section includes a few more special features. There is the 'picture mode' option (preset modes) and 'display mode' (aspect ratio control), with a very wide range of options available. The dynamic contrast option is available if you are in a suitable preset mode.

The audio section is pretty self explanatory.

The system section allows you to customise the quick access buttons if you want, and control a few things related to the menu and OSD. You can customise the quick access buttons here, and if you scroll down the list there is another set of options including the ability to customise the buttons on the OSD controller switch device.

The Ergonomics section includes a few of the advanced features of the monitor. The 'Eye Protect' sensor is the ambient light sensor, controlling the backlight brightness depending on your ambient light conditions. The Smart Reminder can be set to reminder you at certain intervals to take a break.

The ECO section allows you to control the human motion sensor feature.

All in all the menu was pretty impressive. There were a wide range of options to adjust and plenty of advanced features which was nice. The touch sensitive buttons added a level of premium feel to the screen, and remained sensitive and responsive. The navigation was easy enough although it sometimes felt a little laborious to get to the option you wanted if we're honest.

 


Power Consumption

In terms of power consumption the manufacturer lists 97.0W typical usage during operation and 0.5W in standby. We carried out our normal tests to establish its power consumption ourselves.

State and Brightness Setting

Manufacturer Spec (W)

Measured Power Usage (W)

Default (100%)

97.0

52.0

Calibrated (26%)

-

27.1

Maximum Brightness (100%)

-

52.0

Minimum Brightness (0%)

-

19.9

Standby

0.5

0.5

We tested this ourselves and found that out of the box the screen used 52.0W at the default 100% brightness setting. Considering this is the maximum brightness setting the additional power draw for the specified 97.0W consumption must be based on having other things connected to USB etc. Once calibrated the screen reached 27.1W consumption, and in standby it used only 0.5W. We have plotted these results below compared with other screens we have tested. The consumption is very comparable to other W-LED backlit displays, with wide gamut GB-r-LED units like the Dell U2713H and ViewSonic VP2772 using slightly more (comparing calibrated states). The CCFL units like the Eizo SX2762W are even more power hungry.



Panel and Backlighting

Panel Manufacturer

AU Optronics

Colour Palette

1.07 billion

Panel Technology

AMVA

Colour Depth

10-bit

Panel Module

M320DVN01.0

Colour space

Standard gamut / sRGB

Backlighting Type

W-LED

Colour space coverage (%)

100.0% sRGB, 79% NTSC, 78.0% Adobe RGB

Panel Part and Colour Depth

The BenQ BL3200PT utilises an AU Optronics M320DVN01.0 AMVA (VA-type, not their new AHVA technology) panel which is capable of producing 1.07 billion colours. According to the detailed panel spec sheet this is done with a 10-bit colour depth as there's no mention of Frame Rate Control (FRC). This gives a colour depth support for 1.07 billion colours. However,  you need to take into account whether this is practically useable and whether you're ever going to truly use that colour depth. You need to have a full 10-bit end to end workflow to take advantage of it which is still quite expensive to achieve and rare in the market, certainly for your average user. This includes relevant applications and graphics cards as well, so to many people this 10-bit support might be irrelevant.

The panel is confirmed when accessing the factory OSD menu:


 

Screen Coating

The screen coating on the BL3200PT is a light anti-glare (AG) offering as opposed to any kind of glossy coating, similar to other AMVA panels we've tested in the past although perhaps not quite as "semi-glossy" as we're used to. It retains its anti-glare properties to avoid unwanted reflections, but does not produce an overly grainy or dirty image that some  thicker AG coatings can. There are some slight cross-hatching patterns visible if you know how to spot them but they are very subtle and shouldn't bother the average user at all. Certainly not as pronounced as seen on the Dell U2713HM which was sometimes criticised for the cross-hatching appearance of the coating.


Backlight Type and Colour Gamut

The screen uses a White-LED (W-LED) backlight unit which has become very popular in today's market. This helps reduce power consumption compared with older CCFL backlight units and brings about some environmental benefits as well. The W-LED unit offers a standard colour gamut which is approximately equal to the sRGB colour space. Studying the detailed panel spec sheet confirms colour space coverage of 79% NTSC, 100.0% sRGB and 78.0% Adobe RGB. Anyone wanting to work with wider colour spaces would need to consider wide gamut CCFL screens, or perhaps the new range of GB-r-LED displays emerging. If you want to read more about colour spaces and gamut then please have a read of our detailed article.


Backlight Dimming and Flicker

We tested the screen to establish the methods used to control backlight dimming. Our in depth article talks in more details about a common method used for this which is called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). This in itself gives cause for concern to some users who have experienced eye strain, headaches and other symptoms as a result of the flickering backlight caused by this technology. We use a photosensor +  oscilloscope system to measure backlight dimming control with a high level of accuracy and ease. These tests allow us to establish

1) Whether PWM is being used to control the backlight
2) The frequency and other characteristics at which this operates, if it is used
3) Whether a flicker may be introduced or potentially noticeable at certain settings

If PWM is used for backlight dimming, the higher the frequency, the less likely you are to see artefacts and flicker. The duty cycle (the time for which the backlight is on) is also important and the shorter the duty cycle, the more potential there is that you may see flicker. The other factor which can influence flicker is the amplitude of the PWM, measuring the difference in brightness output between the 'on' and 'off' states. Please remember that not every user would notice a flicker from a backlight using PWM, but it is something to be wary of. It is also a hard thing to quantify as it is very subjective when talking about whether a user may or may not experience the side effects.


100%                                                                                  50%


0%


Above scale = 1 horizontal grid = 1ms

At 100% brightness a constant voltage is applied to the backlight and there is no need for any kind of PWM regulation as normal for most screens. As you begin to lower the brightness setting a Direct Current (DC) method is used, as opposed to any kind of Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). As a result, there is no oscillation or PWM off/on backlight flickering. BenQ have introduced this kind of backlight control across all their range and it's great to confirm that this is indeed the case and the screen is flicker free.

Pulse Width Modulation Used

No

Cycling Frequency

n/a

Possible Flicker at

 

100% Brightness

No

50% Brightness

No

0% Brightness

No

For an up to date list of all flicker-free (PWM free) monitors please see our Flicker Free Monitor Database.

 


Contrast Stability and Brightness

We wanted to see how much variance there was in the screens contrast as we adjusted the monitor setting for brightness. In theory, brightness and contrast are two independent parameters, and good contrast is a requirement regardless of the brightness adjustment. Unfortunately, such is not always the case in practice. We recorded the screens luminance and black depth at various OSD brightness settings, and calculated the contrast ratio from there. Graphics card settings were left at default with no ICC profile or calibration active. Tests were made using an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter. It should be noted that we used the BasICColor calibration software here to record these, and so luminance at default settings may vary a little from the LaCie Blue Eye Pro report.

OSD Brightness

Luminance
(cd/m2)

Black Point (cd/m2)

Contrast Ratio
( x:1)

100

283.4

0.11

2577

90

262.3

0.10

2623

80

242.1

0.09

2690

70

221.6

0.08

2770

60

200.7

0.08

2509

50

179.1

0.07

2559

40

155.9

0.06

2598

30

133.0

0.05

2659

20

109.3

0.04

2732

10

84.3

0.03

2810

0

58.8

0.02

2942

 

Total Luminance Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

224.60

Brightness OSD setting controls backlight?

Total Black Point Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

0.09

Average Static Contrast Ratio

2679:1

PWM Free? 

Recommended OSD setting for 120 cd/m2

24

The brightness control gave us a very good range of adjustment. At the top end the maximum luminance reached 283 cd/m2 which was high, and only just lower than the specified maximum brightness of 300 cd/m2 from the manufacturer. There was a large 225 cd/m2 adjustment range in total, and so at the minimum setting you could reach down to a luminance of 59 cd/m2. This should be adequate for those wanting to work in darkened room conditions with low ambient light. A setting of 24 in the OSD menu should return you a luminance of around 120 cd/m2 at default settings.

We have plotted the luminance trend on the graph above. The screen behaves as it should in this regard, with a reduction in the luminance output of the screen controlled by the reduction in the OSD brightness setting. This is a linear relationship as you can see from the line. It should be noted that the brightness regulation is controlled without the need of Pulse Width Modulation using a Direct Current (DC) method and so the screen is flicker free. The average contrast ratio of the screen was a very high 2679:1. We have not included the contrast stability graph as rounding errors lead to discrepancies with such a low black point measurement.



Testing Methodology

An important thing to consider for most users is how a screen will perform out of the box and with some basic manual adjustments. Since most users won't have access to hardware colorimeter tools, it is important to understand how the screen is going to perform in terms of colour accuracy for the average user.

I restored my graphics card to default settings and disabled any previously active ICC profiles and gamma corrections. The screen was tested at default factory settings using the DVI interface, and analysed using an X-rite i1 Pro Spectrophotometer (not to be confused with the i1 Display Pro colorimeter) combined with LaCie's Blue Eye Pro software suite. An X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter was also used to verify the black point and contrast ratio since the i1 Pro spectrophotometer is less reliable at the darker end.


Targets for these tests are as follows:

  • CIE Diagram - validates the colour space covered by the monitors backlighting in a 2D view, with the black triangle representing the displays gamut, and other reference colour spaces shown for comparison

  • Gamma - we aim for 2.2 which is the default for computer monitors

  • Colour temperature / white point - we aim for 6500k which is the temperature of daylight

  • Luminance - we aim for 120 cd/m2, which is the recommended luminance for LCD monitors in normal lighting conditions

  • Black depth - we aim for as low as possible to maximise shadow detail and to offer us the best contrast ratio

  • Contrast ratio - we aim for as high as possible. Any dynamic contrast ratio controls are turned off here if present

  • dE average / maximum - as low as possible. If DeltaE >3, the color displayed is significantly different from the theoretical one, meaning that the difference will be perceptible to the viewer. If DeltaE <2, LaCie considers the calibration a success; there remains a slight difference, but it is barely undetectable. If DeltaE < 1, the color fidelity is excellent.



Default Performance and Setup

Default settings of the screen were as follows:

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

100

Contrast

50

Picture Mode

Standard

RGB

n/a

Gamma

3

Color Temperature

Normal


BenQ BL3200PT - Default Factory Settings

  

 

Default Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

299

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.12

Contrast Ratio

2560:1

 

Out of the box the screen looked reasonable to the naked eye although some grey shades didn't feel right and the screen was overly bright since it was at a default 100% brightness setting. You could tell the screen was a standard sRGB gamut of course, as compared with any wide gamut display. We went ahead and measured the default state with the i1 Pro.

 

The CIE diagram on the left of the image confirms that the monitors colour gamut (black triangle) is approximately equal to the sRGB colour space. There was some slight over-coverage in some shades which is represented by the known 79% NTSC gamut coverage (sRGB = approx 72% NTSC), but nothing too major. All sRGB was covered as specified in the panel spec sheet. Default gamma was recorded at a very high 2.8 average, leaving it with a large 28% deviance from the target of 2.2. This was causing some grey shades to look odd and overall affecting the image quality. White point was measured at 6860k leaving it with a small 6% deviance from our target of 6500k and just a little too cool.

 

 

Luminance was recorded at a very bright 299 cd/m2 which is far too high for prolonged general use. The screen was set at a default 100% brightness in the OSD menu but that is easy to change of course to reach a more comfortable setting. The black depth was 0.12 cd/m2 at this default brightness setting, giving us a very high static contrast ratio of 2560:1. Colour accuracy was very poor out of the box because of the very high gamma, with a default dE average of 6.0, and maximum of 11.3. Testing the screen with various gradients showed smooth transitions with no sign of any banding thankfully. There was some gradation evident in darker tones as you will see from most monitors. Overall we were disappointed with this out of the box setup as the very high gamma was causing a lot of issues with accuracy and image quality. Thankfully there is a gamma control in the OSD which we will test in a moment to see what we can do with just a couple of simple OSD changes.
 

 

We also tested the default setup when switching to the sRGB preset mode:

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

100

Contrast

50

Picture Mode

sRGB

RGB

n/a

Gamma

n/a

Color Temperature

n/a


BenQ BL3200PT - Default Factory Settings, sRGB mode

 

Default Settings
sRGB mode

luminance (cd/m2)

299

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.12

Contrast Ratio

2448:1

 

Switching to the sRGB mode brought about some improvements straight away which was pleasing. Gamma had dropped from 2.8 to 2.4 now, bringing it within an 8% deviance of our target. White point remained a little too cool at 6847k, and a 5% deviance. With the improvement in the gamma the colour accuracy had improved greatly, with dE average now 2.6 and maximum of 4.5.
 

 


Colour Temperatures and Gamma

 

 

The BL3200PT features a few of 'color temperature' modes and a range of 5 gamma options within the OSD menu as shown in the included screen shots. We measured the screen with the X-rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer in each of the preset modes to establish their colour temperature / white point. All other settings were left at factory defaults and no ICC profile was active. The results are recorded below:

Colour Temperature

Selected Preset Mode

Measured Colour temperature (k)

Normal

6843

Bluish

9222

Reddish

6083

 

There were only 3 colour temperature modes to choose from, each doing what they were designed to do overall. The 'normal' mode could have done with being a little closer to the 6500k white point we felt, as it was slightly too cool. The reddish mode was also not particularly warm, being only 6083k. Perhaps that should have been nearer 5000k.

 

 

Gamma

Selected Gamma Mode

Average Gamma

Deviance from Target of 2.2 Gamma

1

2.3

7%

2

2.6

16%

3

2.8

28%

4

3.0

36%

5

3.2

45%

 

The gamma mode option offered a little more control, as there were 5 options available. We had already seen that the default '3' mode was actually quite a long way out from the target of 2.2, with a large 28% deviance. The closest setting we could get to 2.2 average gamma was mode '1', but even that was a little too high at 2.3 average (7% deviance). It is probably advisable to switch to this mode in the OSD as it does improve the overall image quality and colour accuracy noticeably, even if it's still not perfect. We switched to this mode in the OSD while leaving all other settings at default and re-checked the LaCie report to see what improvements had been made:
 

 

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

100

Contrast

50

Picture Mode

Standard

RGB

n/a

Gamma

1

Color Temperature

Normal


BenQ BL3200PT - Default Factory Settings,
Gamma Mode '1'


 

 

Default Settings
Gamma Mode 1

luminance (cd/m2)

297

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.12

Contrast Ratio

2341:1

 

As you can see the average gamma was better now, measured at 2.3 average and with a 7% remaining deviance. The colour accuracy had improved a lot compared with the default mode '3', improving from dE average of 6.0 to 2.4 which was much better. If nothing else, you will want to switch to gamma mode '1' to improve the performance of the screen. If you have access to a calibration tool you can improve this even further of course, as we will look at in the next section.

 

 

Calibration

 

We used the X-rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer combined with the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software package to achieve these results and reports. An X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter was used to validate the black depth and contrast ratios due to lower end limitations of the i1 Pro device.

 

 

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

26

Contrast

50

Picture Mode

User

RGB

100, 97, 96

Gamma

1

Color Temperature

User Define


BenQ BL3200PT - Calibrated Settings

  
 

 

Calibrated Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

119

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.05

Contrast Ratio

2464:1

 

We first of all reverted to the 'user' preset mode in the OSD menu to allow us maximum control over the settings at a hardware level. We also were able to switch to the 'user define' color temperature mode which allows you to alter the individual RGB channels. Adjustments were made during the process to the settings as shown in the table above which included switching to the optimum gamma mode of '1' as well. All these OSD changes allowed us to obtain an optimum hardware starting point and setup before software level changes would be made at the graphics card level. We left the  LaCie software to calibrate to "max" brightness which would just retain the luminance of whatever brightness we'd set the screen to, and would not in any way try and alter the luminance at the graphics card level, which can reduce contrast ratio. These adjustments before profiling the screen would help preserve tonal values and limit banding issues. After this we let the software carry out the LUT adjustments and create an ICC profile.

 

Average gamma had been met now at 2.2 average, correcting the 7% deviance we'd seen out of the box when using the gamma mode of '1' in the OSD menu. The target white point was also now achieved as well at 6504k, correcting a 5% default deviance. Luminance had also been improved thanks to the adjustment to the brightness control and was now being measured at 119 cd/m2. This left us a black depth of 0.05 cd/m2 and delivered a very high static contrast ratio of 2464:1. Colour accuracy of the resulting profile was excellent, with dE average of 0.4 and maximum of 1.3. LaCie would consider colour fidelity to be excellent. Testing the screen with various colour gradients showed mostly smooth transitions. There was some slight gradation in darker tones but no banding introduced due to the adjustments to the graphics card LUT from the profilation of the screen which was pleasing. You can use our settings and try our calibrated ICC profile if you wish, which are available in our ICC profile database. Keep in mind that results will vary from one screen to another and from one computer / graphics card to another.

 

 

 

Calibration Performance Comparisons


 

The comparisons made in this section try to give you a better view of how each screen performs, particularly out of the box which is what is going to matter to most consumers. When comparing the default factory settings for each monitor it is important to take into account several measurement areas - gamma, white point and colour accuracy. There's no point having a low dE colour accuracy figure if the gamma curve is way off for instance. A good factory calibration requires all 3 to be well set up. We have deliberately not included luminance in this comparison since this is normally far too high by default on every screen. However, that is very easily controlled through the brightness setting (on most screens) and should not impact the other areas being measured anyway. It is easy enough to obtain a suitable luminance for your working conditions and individual preferences, but a reliable factory setup in gamma, white point and colour accuracy is important and not as easy to change accurately without a calibration tool.

 

From these comparisons we can also compare the calibrated colour accuracy, black depth and contrast ratio. After a calibration the gamma, white point and luminance should all be at their desired targets.

 

 

Default setup of the screen out of the box was very poor overall. The main reason for this was the poor gamma curve, with the default gamma 3 setting giving us an average gamma far too high at 2.8 (28% out from the target of 2.2). White point was closer to its target at 6860k, with only a small 6% deviance. The poor gamma setup resulted in a very poor colour accuracy as well with an average dE of 6.0 which was a shame. This default setup was poor compared with most other screens we've tested as well, although all is not lost. It's possible to make significant improvements to the setup with a simple change to the OSD gamma control. If you change to gamma 1, the results are much better as we looked at earlier in the review (2.3 gamma, 6846k white point, average dE much better at 2.4). Ideally this would have been the out-of-the-box configuration for optimum basic performance.

 

 

 

The display did do very well in terms of black depth and contrast ratio though, thanks to its AMVA panel. We measured a calibrated contrast ratio of 2464:1 which far surpasses anything possible from TN Film, IPS or PLS panel technologies (around 1100:1 maximum). This was a better contrast ratio than we'd seen from the other AMVA panel here in the BenQ GW2760HS (1914:1), but a fair bit short from the MVA based Eizo FG2421 which had a staggering contrast ratio of 4845:1. Nevertheless, the contrast ratio was excellent here and certainly a strength of the BL3200PT.

 


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Viewing Angles


Above: Viewing angles shown from front and side, and  from above and below. Click for larger image

Viewing angles of the BL3200PT were surprisingly good. We had seen some steps forward for VA viewing angles when we reviewed the BenQ GW2760HS with its "Color Shift-Free Technology". This had given a marked improvement over older AMVA panels such as the BenQ GW2750HM which is compared in the review of the GW2760HS linked. The viewing angles of the BL3200PT were perhaps even a little better still than the GW2760HS. There was less contrast shift horizontally and the wider viewing positions were less pale than on the GW2760HS. They were certainly much better than older AMVA panels which had a tendency to go very pale and also introduce an obvious colour shift. On the older GW2750HM for instance the image went very yellow from a horizontal angle. Vertically there was a slightly more pronounced contrast shift and the image went a little pale, but again not as noticeable as on the GW2760HS and without all the yellow colour shift of the GW2750HM. These improvements were very pleasing, and the BL3200PT was certainly a very good step forward when it comes to viewing angles. They weren't quite as wide as IPS-type panels, but they were certainly getting much closer.

Despite these improvements users should still be aware that the panel still exhibits the off-centre contrast shift which is inherent to the VA pixel structure. When viewing a very dark grey font on a black background, the font almost disappears when viewed head on, but gets lighter as you move slightly to the side. This is an extreme case of course as this is a very dark grey tone we are testing with. Lighter greys and other colours will appear a little darker from head on than they will from a side angle, but you may well find you lose some detail as a result. This can be particularly problematic in dark images and where grey tone is important. It is this issue that has led to many graphics professionals and colour enthusiasts choosing IPS panels instead, and the manufacturers have been quick to incorporate this alternative panel technology in their screens. We would like to make a point that for many people this won't be an issue at all, and many may not even notice it. Remember, many people are perfectly happy with their TN Film panels and other VA based screens. Just something to be wary of if you are affected by this issue or are doing colour critical work.


Above: View of an all black screen from the side. Click for larger version

On a black image there was a slight white tint when viewed from a wide angle, but it's subtle. Certainly not the extreme white glow you see from a lot of IPS panels (commonly referred to as IPS-glow). Given the size of the screen you may notice some slight glow towards the corners if you're working with a lot of dark content or in darkened room conditions. That's just a result of the screen size and your line of sight. It certainly won't be as noticeable as on IPS panels and shouldn't be anything you notice in normal working.



Panel Uniformity

We wanted to test here how uniform the brightness and colour temperature was across the screen, as well as identify any leakage from the backlight in dark lighting conditions. Measurements of the luminance and colour temperature were taken at 35 points across the panel on a pure white background. The measurements for luminance were taken using BasICColor's calibration software package, combined with an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter with a central point on the screen calibrated to 120 cd/m2. Measurements for colour temperature (white point) were taken using BasICColor software and the i1 Pro spectrophotometer which can more accurately measure the white point of different backlighting technologies. The below uniformity diagram shows the difference, as a percentage, between the measurement recorded at each point on the screen, as compared with the central reference point.

It is worth noting that panel uniformity can vary from one screen to another, and can depend on manufacturing lines, screen transport and other local factors. This is only a guide of the uniformity of the sample screen we have for review.
 


Uniformity of Luminance

The luminance uniformity of the screen was pretty good overall, with some deviations in the upper corners and along the left hand edge. Here the luminance dropped down to 97 cd/m2 minimum (-23.7% deviance). The central regions of the screen were more uniform. Around 63% of the screen was within a 10% variation from the centrally calibrated point.


Backlight Leakage


Above: All black screen in a darkened room. Click for larger version

As usual we also tested the screen with an all black image and in a darkened room. A camera was used to capture the result. There was no obvious backlight bleeding detectable to the naked eye at all and blacks looked deep thanks to the high contrast ratio. The camera picked up some very slight clouding in the bottom right hand corner, but nothing you should notice in day to day use at all though. A very good result in terms of backlight bleed here.

 


General and Office Applications

The BL3200PT feature a large 2560 x 1440 WQHD resolution which we've seen for several years from 27" sized monitors. This is the first larger screen we've tested with the same resolution. As a result of the larger 32" screen size you are left with a larger pixel pitch than on a 27" monitor of course, and so text and fonts are bigger. On the BL3200PT the pixel pitch of 0.276 mm is quite a bit bigger than 0.231mm offered by a 27" monitor of the same res although certainly not too big we didn't feel. In fact it is smaller than on a 27" 1920 x 1080 resolution screen (0.311mm) and is very comparable to a 24" 1920 x 1200 res model (0.270 mm) in pixel pitch. Many people will find this an ideal pixel pitch we think, being more comfortable for a lot of text work without being too small, and without giving up the huge resolution which is great for multi-tasking and split-screen work. The thin bezel design also means the BL3200PT could be used nicely for multi-screen setups, although with a 32" screen size that might be a bit impractical for many.

Screen size

24"

27"

27"

32"

Resolution

1920 x 1200

1920 x 1080

2560 x 1440

2560 x 1440

Pixel Pitch (mm)

0.270

0.311

0.231

0.276

The massive resolution is really good for office and general use, giving you a really big screen area to work with. It is a noticeable upgrade from a 24" 1920 x 1200 resolution for multi-tasking and overall desktop area. For those wanting a high resolution for CAD/CAM, design, photo work etc, this is a really good option. The image was very sharp and crisp and text was very clear. With its WQHD display, you enjoy 77% more desktop space than a full HD screen to spread out your windows and palettes. The light AG, semi-glossy coating from the AMVA panel is a positive feature when it comes to these kind of uses and we had been pleased with the coating on this model. This light panel coating ensures that white backgrounds of office documents looked good, and did not suffer from the overly grainy and dirty feel of some competing panels featuring heavy, aggressive AG coating. It also remained free from the reflections you might experience from a full glossy solution so seems to be a good half-way between the two.

The wide and improved viewing angles provided by the modern AMVA panel in both horizontal and vertical planes, helps minimize on-screen colour shift when viewed from different angles. You do have to contend with the off-centre contrast shift inherent to VA panels which can lead to some detail being lost in darker content when viewed head on. It's not a major problem but it's one of the reasons why IPS is considered a better choice for colour critical work. There is minimal white glow on dark content from an angle, certainly nothing like you see on most IPS panels. The sheer size of the screen may create some minor issues with glow visibility towards the corners depending on your viewing position and line of sight.

The default setup of the screen was poor overall which was a shame. However it was easy enough to change the gamma setting in the OSD menu to return a much better performance which should provide a reasonably reliable setup for those who don't have access to a calibration device of their own. The gamma and white point were a little off sadly, but the contrast ratio was excellent which you would hope for from a modern AMVA panel. There are plenty of colour preset modes to play around with as well including an option for CAD/CAM where the sharpness is accentuated a little and the preset is specifically set up for high detail work. There's certainly plenty of preset modes to play around with if you want to change anything. The Low Blue Light mode may also be useful to some users who are sensitive to the blue spectral output from the W-LED backlight unit. We had seen this work well to limit the blue spectrum on the BenQ XL2720Z and so this is quite a useful feature for eye comfort.

The brightness range of the screen was very good, with the ability to offer a luminance between approximately 283 and 59 cd/m2. This should mean the screen is perfectly useable in a wide variety of ambient light conditions, including darkened rooms. A setting of ~24 in the OSD brightness control should return you a luminance close to 120 cd/m2. The backlight regulation is controlled without the need for Pulse-Width modulation (PWM) and using a Direct Current (DC) method and so the screen can be classified as flicker-free which is great news. There was no audible buzzing from the screen, even when specifically looking for it using test images with a large amount of text at once. The screen remains cool even during prolonged use.

The screen also has a wide range of any extras features which will be useful in office environments. The stand has a full range of adjustments for tilt, height, swivel and rotate so you can obtain comfortable of viewing positions no matter what your need. There are 2x USB 2.0 and 2x USB 3.0 ports on the monitor, with the USB 3.0 ports located on the right hand edge for easy access. There is also an integrated SD card reader on the right hand side which might well be useful. The BL3200PT also has built in 2x 5W stereo speakers, an ambient light sensor and a human motion sensor as well. There's even the useful and quite fancy OSD controller switch provided. BenQ have done an excellent job here providing all the extras you might need.
 

 
Above: photo of text at 2560x 1440 (top) and 1920 x 1080 (bottom)

The screen is designed to run at its native resolution of 2560 x 1440 and at a 60Hz recommended refresh rate. However, if you want you are able to run the screen outside of this resolution. We tested the screen at a lower 1920 x 1080 resolution to see how the screen handles the interpolation of the resolution, while maintaining the same aspect ratio of 16:9. At native resolution the text was sharp as you can see from the top photograph. When you switch to a lower resolution the text is larger of course but still clear enough with only low amounts of overlap between pixels. The screen seems to interpolate the image well although you of course lose a lot of desktop real-estate running at a lower resolution.



Responsiveness and Gaming

Quoted G2G Response Time

4ms G2G

Quoted ISO Response Time

12ms

Panel Manufacturer and Technology

AU Optronics AMVA

Panel Part

M320DVN01.0

Overdrive Used

Yes

Overdrive Control Available to User

AMA Option

Overdrive Settings

Off, High, Premium

The BL3200PT is rated by BenQ as having a 4ms G2G response time which indicates the panel uses overdrive / response time compensation (RTC) technology to boost pixel transitions across grey to grey changes. There is user control over the overdrive impulse within the OSD menu using the 'AMA' (Advanced Motion Accelerator) option. The part being used is the AU Optronics M320DVN01.0 AMVA panel. Have a read about response time in our specs section if you need additional information about this measurement.

We will first test the screen using our thorough response time testing method. This uses an oscilloscope and photosensor to measure the pixel response times across a series of different transitions, in the full range from 0 (black) to 255 (white). This will give us a realistic view of how the monitor performs in real life, as opposed to being reliant only on a manufacturers spec. We can work out the response times for changing between many different shades, calculate the maximum, minimum and average grey to grey (G2G) response times, and provide an evaluation of any overshoot present on the monitor.

We use an ETC M526 oscilloscope for these measurements along with a custom photosensor device. Have a read of our response time measurement article for a full explanation of the testing methodology and reported data.

AMA Setting Comparison

First of all we carried out a smaller sample set of measurements in each of the three AMA settings. These, along with various motion tests allowed us to quickly identify which was the optimum AMA setting for this screen.

We first of all tested the response time with the AMA setting 'Off'. As you can see, the response times were very mixed. Some transitions were extremely slow, particular on rise times (changes from dark to light shades). The average G2G response time measured was 14.7ms, but some transitions ranged up from 20 - 45ms which was poor. On the plus side, no overshoot was introduced at all since overdrive was not being used.


Transition: 50-150-50 (scale = 20ms)

Above is an example of an overall slow transition from 50-150-50. The rise time (24.7ms) has a slow upwards curve and even the fall time (17.1ms) has a gentle curve as it reaches towards the required brightness.


Transition: 0-50-0 (scale = 20ms)

Above is the worst case example, showing the very slow transition from 0-50. The rise time has a step in it but overall takes forever (44.3ms) to reach within 10% of the required brightness. This was the slowest transition we measured in this small sample set.

 

We then switched to the AMA 'High' mode which historically tends to be the optimum response time setting for BenQ monitors. We can see that most transitions were sped up, even if only by a small amount and this resulted in an average G2G response time now of 11.6ms. There was still a big problem with the 0-50 transition (41.0ms) but some of the others had been improved by a fair bit. The 0-150 transition for instance had been sped up from 20.0 to 8.9ms thanks to the applied overdrive impulse. Also the 255-150 transition had improved from 11.8 to 6.6ms. So the overdrive impulse was doing quite a good job of pushing the response times all over, and improving some of the very slow transitions we'd seen before. You couldn't call response times fast though really, but there was some improvement at least. There was some overshoot introduced as a result, most notably on those transitions we've just looked at where there had been the most significant improvement. This is probably to be expected but overall there was no severe overshoot.


Transition: 150-255-150 (scale = 20ms)

Above is an example of a transition which had been sped up nicely (255-150, the fall time) but had introduced some overshoot (9.2%) where you can see the line peaks below the desired brightness level for a moment.

 

Finally we switched to the maximum AMA setting of 'Premium'. On the positive side the response times had been reduced significantly, now with an average G2G of only 7.0ms, less than half that we had measured with AMA off. However there was some massive overshoot introduced, some of it was ridiculous in fact at 94.5%! This meant that overall the AMA Premium mode was unusable, and we've seen that from other BenQ screens in the past.


Transition: 0-50-0 (scale = 20ms)

The 0-50 transition had been improved quite a lot with AMA Premium mode, cutting it down from 44.3ms with AMA Off, to 11.5ms here. There was some slight overshoot introduced as a result (8.9%). If you compare this oscilloscope graph with the 0-50 transition from AMA Off you can see the different shape of the curve and how much quicker it was here for this particular transition.


Transition: 0-150-0 (scale = 20ms)

The levels of overshoot on some transitions were absolutely massive, especially this change from 0-150 (94.5% overshoot).


If we take some test photos using the PixPerAn tool you can make some further visual comparisons between the AMA settings. With AMA off the slow response times lead to a pronounced blur to the moving image in practice which you can easily see. Turning the AMA up to High brings some minor improvement in visual appearance. The blur is reduced a little and the moving image becomes a little sharper. It's not a huge difference though to be honest and you're still left with some blurring and trail images. The Premium setting is too aggressive though and you are left with some very noticeable overshoot artefacts in the form of both dark and light halos and shadows. Again these tests confirm the High setting to be optimal on this model.

 

More Detailed Measurements - AMA High

Having established that the AMA 'High' mode seemed to offer the better response/overshoot balance we carried out our normal wider range of measurements as shown below:

The average G2G response time was more accurately measured at 10.8ms which was not too bad overall, but there was still some major differences between the speeds of different transitions. The rise times (changes from dark to light shades) were a bit slower overall than fall times (changes from light to dark shades). The average rise time was 12.7ms, while the average fall time was 8.9ms. The slowest transition came in the rise time from 0-50 which was measured at 41.0ms, but this was really the exception it seemed. Some other transitions, particularly between closer shades, were quite slow at around 12 - 16ms. Some response times were faster at around 5 - 8ms. The fastest response time measured was 4.0ms, but this did introduce a large overshoot as a result as you can see in the below table.

 

The AMA High setting didn't introduce much overshoot at all thankfully. There were a couple of transitions where some was introduced, with the only major issue being the fastest response time when changing from 255-200 (38.3% overshoot). All in all though this AMA setting was good in terms of overshoot artefacts.


Transition: 200-255-200 (scale = 20ms)

For reference above is the oscillograph for the worst case overshoot, on the transition from 255-200, where it measured 38.3%.



Display Comparisons

As we begin to measure more screens with the oscilloscope system we can begin to plot them on a graph like the above for easy comparison. This shows you the lowest, average and highest G2G response time measurement for each screen. There is also a traffic light style circle mark to indicate the RTC overshoot error for each screen, as the response time figure alone doesn't tell the whole story.

The response time performance of the BL3200PT is pretty comparable to the other AMVA screen we've tested here, the BenQ GW2760HS. Average response times were basically the same, being quite modest at around 10.8 - 10.9ms, but with a few troublesome transitions which were much slower. The IPS type panels generally offered a slightly faster average response times where overdrive was being correctly applied, with the best models (Dell P2414H, U2414H for example) showing around 8 - 9ms G2G without introducing large amounts of overshoot. IPS response times could be pushed a little further to around 7 - 8ms, but not without introducing very large overshoot errors (e.g. Dell U2413, U2713H, U3014). Some IPS panels were slower on average where overdrive was weak (Achieve QH300-IPSMS, QNIX QX2710 for instance). The TN Film models like the BenQ XL2720Z achieve much faster overall response times, around 3.8ms G2G average, so if you're looking for a gaming screen you may want to consider TN Film technology.

 

The screen was also tested using the chase test in PixPerAn for the following display comparisons. As a reminder, a series of pictures are taken on the highest shutter speed and compared, with the best case example shown on the left, and worst case example on the right. This should only be used as a rough guide to comparative responsiveness but is handy for a comparison between different screens and technologies as well as a means to compare those screens we tested before the introduction of our oscilloscope method.


32" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AMVA (AMA Setting = High)

In practice the BenQ BL3200PT performed best with the AMA setting on 'High'. There was still some noticeable blurring to the moving image and response times were not as good as you will see from some screens. This is fairly typical of AMVA panel technology though and there at least wasn't any obvious overshoot problems in practice thankfully.


32" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AMVA (AMA Setting = High)


27" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AHVA (AMA Setting = High)


27" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


27" 5ms G2G Samsung PLS (Trace Free = 40)


27" 12ms G2G Samsung PLS (Response Time = Advanced)


Firstly it is interesting to compare the BL3200PT to some of the other popular 27" models we have tested with 2560 x 1440 resolutions and IPS-type panels (IPS, PLS and AHVA). You can see first of all a comparison against the BenQ BL2710PT which shows a very comparable performance to the BL3200PT in practice, with similar levels of blur. the BL2710PT felt a little faster as it didn't have some of the much slower transitions of the BL3200PT, but it was very close. The Dell U2713HM was faster and eliminated a lot of the visible blurring, but also remained free from overshoot which was a bonus. The Asus PB278Q was again faster than the BL3200PT and although it showed a little dark overshoot it was very slight. The ViewSonic VP2770-LED was more comparable to the BenQ BL2710PT and BL3200PT in visible blurring, although felt a bit faster in practice with more consistent response time.

 


32" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AMVA (AMA Setting = High)


27"WS 4ms G2G AU Optronics AMVA (AMA = High)

We have provided a comparison of the BL3200PT against another AMVA based screen, BenQ's own GW2760HS. Performance was very comparable between the two really. Both had shown some improvements compared with older generation AMVA panels, but they can't keep up with some other panel technologies for gaming.
 


32" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AMVA (AMA Setting = High)


27" 2ms G2G Chi Mei Innolux TN Film +144Hz (Trace Free = 60)


27" 1ms G2G AU Optronics TN Film + 144Hz (AMA = High)


23.5" 4ms G2G Sharp MVA + 120Hz

We've also included a comparison above against 3 very fast 120Hz+ compatible screens we have tested. The other screens shown here are all aimed primarily at gamers and have various features and extras which make them more suitable overall for gaming. Firstly there is a comparison against the Asus VG278HE with its 144Hz refresh rate and fast response time TN Film panel. This showed very fast pixel response times and smooth movement thanks to its increased refresh rate. You are able to reduce the motion blur even more through the use of the LightBoost strobed backlight which we talked about in depth in our article about Motion Blur Reduction Backlights.

Then there is a comparison against the BenQ XL2720Z with another very fast TN Film panel and 144Hz refresh rate. This showed very low levels of motion blur, but some dark overshoot was introduced as a side-effect as you can see. This screen even includes a native Blur Reduction mode to help eliminate further perceived motion blur.

Lastly there is the MVA based Eizo FG2421 screen with a fast response time (especially for the panel technology being used) and 120Hz refresh rate support. There is also an additional 'Turbo 240' motion blur reduction mode which really helps reduce the perceived motion blur in practice.

While these pixel response tests from PixPerAn give one view of the performance of the panel, there is something else going on as well here which can't be picked out by the camera. All of these other gaming models are running at 120Hz (or higher) refresh rates, which allows for improved 120fps+ frame rates and in some cases the support of 3D stereoscopic content as well. This can really help improve smoothness and the overall gaming experience so these screens still have the edge when it comes to fast gaming. Any additional extras to reduce perceived motion blur can also have a real benefit in practical terms, and again not easy to pick out with this camera method.


The overall gaming performance of the BL3200PT was moderate overall, and fairly typical for a modern AMVA panel. Average response times of 10.8ms were reasonable, although some transitions were problematic and a fair bit slower. The AMA High setting was definitely the best option on this model, and there were minimal overshoot introduced thankfully which was pleasing. The additional screen size of the 32" diagonal was a positive upgrade from 27" 1440p resolution screens, adding to the feeling of immersion and also providing a more attractive option for consoles and external devices because of the size. If gaming is really your priority you may want to consider some of the more gamer orientated 120Hz+, TN Film based compatible displays out there, or perhaps something like the Eizo FG2421. Even better still would be models equipped with LightBoost systems or other motion blur reduction backlights for optimum motion blur elimination.




Additional Gaming Features

Aspect Ratio Control - The BL3200PT has a very wide range of aspect ratio control options through the OSD 'Picture Advanced' menu, using the 'Display Mode' option. There are options for full, aspect, 1:1 pixel mapping and then a range of specific modes to simulate certain screen sizes (19", 22" 16:10 aspect, 23" 16:9, 24" 16:9, 24" 16:10, 27" 16:9, 27" 16:10 and 30" 16:10). Certainly a great selection of options which was great to see and should meet all your needs.

Preset Modes - There are no specific gaming preset modes available in the OSD although there are plenty of other modes you can set up to your liking for gaming needs. The OSD controller switch device might be useful to allow you to quickly and easily switch between different modes too.




Lag

We have written an in depth article about input lag and the various measurement techniques which are used to evaluate this aspect of a display. It's important to first of all understand the different methods available and also what this lag means to you as an end-user.

Input Lag vs. Display Lag vs. Signal Processing

To avoid confusion with different terminology we will refer to this section of our reviews as just "lag" from now on, as there are a few different aspects to consider, and different interpretations of the term "input lag". We will consider the following points here as much as possible. The overall "display lag" is the first, that being the delay between the image being shown on the TFT display and that being shown on a CRT. This is what many people will know as input lag and originally was the measure made to explain why the image is a little behind when using a CRT. The older stopwatch based methods were the common way to measure this in the past, but through advanced studies have been shown to be quite inaccurate. As a result, more advanced tools like SMTT provide a method to measure that delay between a TFT and CRT while removing the inaccuracies of older stopwatch methods.

In reality that lag / delay is caused by a combination of two things - the signal processing delay caused by the TFT electronics / scaler, and the response time of the pixels themselves. Most "input lag" measurements over the years have always been based on the overall display lag (signal processing + response time) and indeed the SMTT tool is based on this visual difference between a CRT and TFT and so measures the overall display lag. In practice the signal processing is the element which gives the feel of lag to the user, and the response time of course can impact blurring, and overall image quality in moving scenes. As people become more aware of lag as a possible issue, we are of course keen to try and understand the split between the two as much as possible to give a complete picture.

The signal processing element within that is quite hard to identify without extremely high end equipment and very complicated methods. In fact the studies by Thomas Thiemann which really kicked this whole thing off were based on equipment worth >100,1000 Euro, requiring extremely high bandwidths and very complicated methods to trigger the correct behaviour and accurately measure the signal processing on its own. Other techniques which are being used since are not conducted by Thomas (he is a freelance writer) or based on this equipment or technique, and may also be subject to other errors or inaccuracies based on our conversations with him since. It's very hard as a result to produce a technique which will measure just the signal processing on its own unfortunately. Many measurement techniques are also not explained and so it is important to try and get a picture from various sources if possible to make an informed judgement about a display overall.

For our tests we will continue to use the SMTT tool to measure the overall "display lag". From there we can use our oscilloscope system to measure the response time across a wide range of grey to grey (G2G) transitions as recorded in our response time tests. Since SMTT will not include the full response time within its measurements, after speaking with Thomas further about the situation we will subtract half of the average G2G response time from the total display lag. This should allow us to give a good estimation of how much of the overall lag is attributable to the signal processing element on its own.

 

Lag Classification


To help in this section we will also introduce a broader classification system for these results to help categorise each screen as one of the following levels:

  • Class 1) Less than 16ms / 1 frame lag - should be fine for gamers, even at high levels

  • Class 2) A lag of 16 - 32ms / One to two frames - moderate lag but should be fine for many gamers. Caution advised for serious gaming and FPS

  • Class 3) A lag of more than 32ms / more than 2 frames - Some noticeable lag in daily usage, not suitable for high end gaming

For the full reviews of the models compared here and the dates they were written (and when screens were approximately released to the market), please see our full reviews index.

(Measurements in ms)

User Mode

Total Display Lag (SMTT 2)

23.0

Pixel Response Time Element

5.4

Estimated Signal Processing Lag

17.6

Lag Classification

2

 Class 2

We have provided a comparison above against other models we have tested to give an indication between screens. Those shown with blue bars in the bottom half represent the total "display lag" as at the time of review we did not have access to an oscilloscope system to measure the response time element and provide an estimation of the signal processing. The screens tested more recently in the top half are split into two measurements which are based on our overall display lag tests (using SMTT) and half the average G2G response time, as measured by the oscilloscope. The response time is split from the overall display lag and shown on the graph as the green bar. From there, the signal processing (red bar) can be provided as a good estimation.

The screen showed a total average display lag of 23.0ms as measured with SMTT 2. Taking into account half the average G2G response time at 5.4ms, we can estimate that there is ~17.6ms of signal processing lag on this screen. This is quite high and so might not be suitable for fast FPS type gaming for many users.

For more information about the SMTT 2.0 tool please visit:

http://smtt.thomasthiemann.com/index_en.html

 


Movies and Video

The following summarises the screens performance in video applications:

  • 32" screen size makes it a good option for an all-in-one multimedia screen, but being quite a bit smaller than most modern LCD TV's of course.

  • 16:9 aspect ratio is more well suited to videos than a 16:10 format screen, leaving smaller borders on DVD's and wide screen content at the top and bottom.

  • 2560 x 1440 resolution can support full 1080 HD resolution content.

  • Digital interface support HDCP for any encrypted and protected content

  • DVI, DisplayPort, D-sub and HDMI connections available, offering great connectivity choices for modern DVD players, Blu-ray, consoles etc.

  • Cables provided in the box for DVI, DisplayPort and VGA, but not HDMI.

  • Light AG coating provides clear images with no major graininess, and without the unwanted reflections of a glossy solution.

  • Wide brightness range adjustment possible from the display, including high maximum luminance of ~283 cd/m2 and a good minimum luminance of ~59 cd/m2. This should afford you very good control for different lighting conditions. Contrast ratio remains stable across that adjustment range as well and is very high thanks to the AMVA panel. Brightness regulation is controlled without the need for PWM and so is flicker free.

  • Black depth and contrast ratio are very strong thanks to the AMVA panel at 2464:1 after calibration. Detail in darker scenes should not be lost as a result.

  • There is a specific 'movie' preset mode available for movies or video if you want, but the colours look odd and so it might be better to set up one of the other modes to your liking.

  • Reasonable pixel responsiveness which can handle fast moving scenes in movies without issue. No real overshoot issues which is good news.

  • Wide and improved viewing angles from modern AMVA panel technology meaning several people could view the screen at once comfortable and from a whole host of different angles. White glow from an angle on black content is minimal.

  • No noticeable backlight leakage which is good, even in darkened room conditions. Deep blacks give a great contrast in darkened rooms.

  • Wide range of ergonomic adjustments available from the stand, allowing you to obtain a comfortable position for multiple users or if you want to sit further away from the screen for movie viewing.

  • 2x 5W integrated stereo speakers on this model and a headphone jack if sending sound to the screen over HDMI.

  • Very wide range of hardware aspect ratio options available which is very useful for external devices.

  • Picture in picture (PiP) and Picture By Picture (PbP) are not available on this model.

     

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Conclusion

The BenQ BL3200PT was a really impressive screen we felt, for many reasons. BenQ have pulled out all the stops to deliver just about every feature and extra you could hope for. The stand was versatile and provided an excellent range of adjustments, there was a full range of connectivity options, USB 3.0 ports, touch sensitive control buttons, an SD card reader, speakers, ambient light sensor, motion sensor and the cool new OSD controller switch. An excellent job providing a massive range of options from a feature point of view we felt. User comfort is also a priority and the flicker free backlight was very welcome, as was the light AG coating and Low Blue Light mode.

Performance wise there were a few areas which were a bit disappointing. The default setup was very poor, although to be fair a simple change of one OSD option fixed a lot of that problem, if not completely. Response times were still a bit of an issue for this panel technology, although it was about as good as you can hope for from a modern AMVA panel. The panel excelled when it came to black depth and contrast ratio as you might expect, and the improved AMVA viewing angles were a pleasant surprise certainly. The large screen size was very nice for a whole range of uses, especially gaming and video. The 2560 x 1440 resolution provided a comfortable pixel pitch and font size we felt which might well be preferred by a lot of users compared with the small fonts on 27" models carrying the same resolution. The screen is available for ~500 GBP (inc VAT) which makes it a very reasonable price indeed.

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Pros

Cons

Huge range of extras and features

Poor default setup, although easy to improve with 1 OSD change

Excellent black depth and contrast ratio

Variable response times, not as fast as other panel techs

Improved AMVA viewing angles

Moderate input lag so maybe not suitable for fast gaming



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