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Hands-on review: BenQ PD3220U monitor

By Nick Forrester
Mon 16 Nov 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

A good monitor can make a huge difference, whether you’re gaming, working, or browsing. It’s why many consumers embark on a quest to find the best monitor, and at the moment, the market has several vying for a seat at the table. 

My own quest began when I was sent the 4K BenQ PD3220U, which, I think it’s fair to say, was a significant step up from my previous work monitor. But how did it shape up in general?
 

Setup and design

When the monitor arrived at my office, the box was hefty, and my first instinct was one of dread, in its seeming potential to consume much more of my time in setting it up than I was willing to offer — similar to the feeling of seeing a yet-to-be-erected tent on the ground. 

But it only took about 20 minutes to unbox and complete the setup — no screwdrivers needed, no elaborate setup instructions required, just a couple of easy attachments from stand to screen and it’s ready to go.

Once it was on my desk and fired up, the difference between the BenQ PD3220U and my previous monitor was astounding.

Clocking in at 31.5 inches, it was much bigger and dominated the space, but its simple yet modern look made it feel like it wasn’t out of place. The monitor was purpose-designed for MacBook users (a plus for me), which was evident in its simple but elegant design, as well as its edge-to-edge display.

The slim metallic base left a footprint size which was not disagreeable, and the adjustable tube on which the screen is set meant it was very easy to change the height of the screen. 
 

Display and performance

Two monitors make up my setup at work, which provided a daily juxtaposition between the BenQ and my vastly inferior monitor sitting next to it. 

There was no doubt that this was a true 4K monitor, with its 16:9 aspect ratio combined with its UHD 3840 x 2160 IPS panel output. It offered ultra-precise colour rendition (95% P3, 100% sRGB), and its P3 and Display P3 colour gamut is as large as those of the MacBook.

When connected using the Thunderbolt 3 port, the video and audio transmission performance was superb, and it didn’t go amiss that this connection also charged my MacBook.

With a power delivery of 85W, fine-tuned uniformity in both sRGB & Display P3 colour modes and its 4K output, this monitor really delivered in terms of display.

It looked incredible when watching 4K videos on YouTube, with its wide colour gamut providing dynamic colours and stable brightness. When putting videos side by side both the BenQ and my other monitor, there was no comparison — the difference was truly striking. 

The monitor also supports HDR10, and HDR mode is automatically triggered when HDR video content is detected. Its CAD/CAM Mode was also a highlight, and showed great contrast on lines and shapes of technical illustrations, bringing out the smallest details into view. 

Overall, the display was excellent, and the viewing experience, especially when viewing HDR or 4K content, was one of the best I’ve seen on a monitor.
 

Peripherals

I was also sent the Hotkey Puck G2, and a Satechi Slim keyboard to accompany the monitor.

The Hotkey Puck lets users customise display settings with ease, without having to perform the usual tedious ritual of feeling around the edge of the monitor to find the buttons. The Hotkey Puck plugs into the back of the monitor and features buttons and a dial, which make it a far easier ordeal to change brightness, contrast, display areas, monitor outputs etc. 

While this was handy when first setting up, I found I never used it thereafter, so this peripheral was packed away about a week after using the monitor.

The Satechi Aluminium Slim Wireless keyboard was a welcome addition to my setup, replacing an extraordinarily clunky and dated gaming keyboard which was beginning to actually hamper my productivity — as a journalist, a good keyboard is essential. 

Also designed for Mac systems, this keyboard was a giant step up from its predecessor: where I would make typos in every third sentence with the old one, the Satechi was smooth sailing. 

A perfect size at 14.1 x 4.5 x 0.3 inches, it had everything I needed, and its sleek and functional design added much-needed clarity to my workspace. Its capability to connect to up to four devices, while not necessary for me, was welcome.
 

Verdict

The BenQ PD3220U is an outstanding monitor — its simple and elegant design was a welcome addition to my setup, and its excellent display performance was a significant step up from my old monitor. This is a monitor to consider if you’re a Mac user looking for a good-looking, well-performing display for your setup.

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