BenQ 4K HDR Monitor EW3280U review: An excellent work from home monitor

The BenQ EW3280U is an excellent USB-C monitor for MacBook Pro users. It offers great visuals and even great audio

Benq 4K HDR Monitor EW3280U review

Bottom line

The EW3280U offers top-notch visual performance when it comes to everything from watching 4K movies, to working in Photoshop, to casual gaming. It’s also super attractive, offers great audio, and it serves as an excellent USB-C monitor choice for MacBook Pro users

Overall
4.5

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Nearly invisible bezels
  • Excellent audio
  • Great visuals
  • Can double as a TV and console display
  • Great for MacBook Pro users
  • Eye-care features for reducing eye-strain

Cons

  • Not height adjustable
  • Can’t rotate to a vertical position
  • 60hz only

BenQ might not be the first brand that comes to mind when you think of monitors, but it really should be. Their EW3280U 4K HDR Monitor is a 32 inch 4K UHD monitor with a 16:9 IPS display. We’ve been testing it with a MacBook Pro and thanks to its single cable USB-C support, it has proven to be a perfect companion to the MacBook Pro for most tasks.

Delving into the EW3280U’s specs even more, this LED backlight monitor offers a 3840×2160 resolution, a 1000:1 contrast ratio, brightness up 400 NITs, a 178-degree viewing angle, a 5ms response time, a 95% DCI-P3 color gamut, a 60Hz refresh rate and FreeSync support for gamers.

We really appreciate the slick modern design of the EW3280U 4K HDR Monitor. Thanks to its nearly invisible bezels and brushed metallic finish, it looks a lot more like a TV than the typical monitor. As a matter of fact, it’s attractive enough to place in your living room on a media stand. The monitor also houses a 5-key navigator along with a volume wheel for controlling its speakers. The backside of the monitor has a convenient cable management section built into the stand which helps keep things tidy. However, there’s only room inside for two cables.

We connected a 2019 MacBook Pro to the BenQ EW3280U via a single USB-C cable and it was a seamless experience. Aside from USB-C support, the monitor offers 2 HDMI 2.0 ports and a DisplayPort. The inclusion of HDMI means that you could easily use the EW3280U as a “TV” in your living room just by connecting a streaming box to it like a Roku or Fire TV. The inclusion of a remote control for controlling its volume and settings, further makes using the monitor as a “TV” even more feasible.

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We’re sticklers when it comes to brightness, after all what’s the use of having HDR and great visuals if you can’t see them well? Yet even in 2020, too many high spec’ed 4K monitors fall short when it comes to brightness. Fortunately, the EW3280U supports HDR with a brightness level up to 400 NITs. While we would prefer a brightness of 500 to 600 NITs, the 400 NITs does the job.

In general, the EW3280U’s colors are vivid and quite accurate, contrast is great, and the visuals are sharp – especially for movies and day to day tasks – but that is if you’re looking at the monitor straight on. Ultimately, our biggest gripe with the monitor is that the viewing angles could be better, but this hasn’t been a deal-breaker for us. When it comes to gaming, we experienced smooth frame rates and in general games look great, but the 60Hz refresh rate will be limiting for serious gamers.

Many monitors lack built-in speakers or their speakers are simply subpar. Fortunately, When it comes to audio, the EW3280U packs in a 2.1 channel sound – that includes two-watt speakers and a five-watt woofer and a Digital Signal Processor. All in all, the monitor is able to get pretty loud and it’s way above average than the speakers typically found in most monitors. As a matter of fact, it’s speaker system is so good that you might not feel the need to use an external sound system. Needless to say, when it comes to audio, the EW3280U shines above the rest.

Bottom line

The BenQ EW3280U offers stellar visual performance when it comes to everything from watching 4K movies, to working in Photoshop and even casual gaming. When it comes to features and ports, the BenQ 4K HDR Monitor EW3280U hasn’t left anything important out, so much so, that even when it comes to audio, the EW3280U outshines the competition. The EW3280U also serves as an excellent USB-C monitor for MacBook Pro users.  To top it all off, the Benq EW3280U is super attractive – attractive enough to easily double as a “TV” display. The BenQ EW3280U retails for $799 on Amazon or from BenQ.

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