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A Review of the BenQ BL3201PH 32″ IPS LED 4K Monitor with 32-Inch LED-Lit Screen

by on May 6, 2015
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Overview

When it comes to a wide range of technologies, BenQ doesn’t usually disappoint and the BL3201PH 32 inch 4K monitor is no exception to this tendency. With a crisp, clear standard UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, this particular monitor delivers great visual display while packing in a whole bunch of distinct specs and characteristics which take it beyond simply the promise of 8.2 million pixels of ultra HD resolution.

Among 4K ultra HD monitors, the BenQ BL3201PH is definitely one of the better performers of the IPS monitor pack and its overall performance is more than good enough for most professional or recreational uses.

Combine the above with a number of built-in display features and you get a ultra HD 4k PC monitor that’s great for not only gaming in UHD but also for professional visual design and rendering tasks.

The Good

Where to start? The BL3201PH from BenQ offers a number of excellent specs and design features in its favor.

For starters, there is the obvious matter of the 3840 x 2160 pixel 4K display. This may not be as noticeable over normal Full HD on a PC screen as it would be on a large 60 inch+ TV display but with the BL3201PH’s 32 inches of display space, it’s on the larger end of the PC monitor size spectrum and thus creates a viewing experience in which the 4K resolution definitely can be appreciated from close up.

Moving beyond simple resolution, the BL3201PH also delivers in several key areas. First of these is the color gamut coverage that the screen delivers. For sRGB, users get to enjoy a solid 100% coverage of that particular spectrum. In essence, we’re talking about just over 1 billion colors flooding your PC screen and in ultra HD glory, at least with sRGB.

Finally, the BenQ BL3201PH tops things off with a whole host of useful connectivity features which we’ll cover shortly and also gives you access to on-screen features like picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture functionality, both of which are great tools for visual comparisons of color and other image factors when doing visual design work on the screen.

Check the Price of BenQ BL3201PH, 32" IPS LED 4K Monitor on Amazon:

4.1 - 21 Reviews

The Bad

The BenQ BL3201PH does give you a few hitches in between its general high level of quality. However, these are fairly minor and might only be the kind of things that professional users who are into design work might notice.

For starters, clinically accurate color and visual performance aren’t exactly perfect on this screen. While it does offer great color coverage in the sRGB spectrum, you’re also going to be locked into this spectrum and advanced color range such as that offered by Adobe RGB (which is a standard for many design related projects) isn’t possible on the BL3201PH. This is something you’d find only in a pricier IPS display or in an IGZO monitor.

Aside from this, there is also the very minor but possibly notable to some matter of slightly off contrast. This is common with IPS screens and while it’s very light in the BL3201PH, some calibers of cinematography professionals might be put off by this.

Finally, at least some users have complained of an oddly off shading to greys and other dark colors in the form of a slightly red tinge. This might depend on the specific unit but if it appears, it wouldn’t exactly be a mark of high image quality.

Final Thoughts

The BenQ BL3201PH is not one of the better known 4K monitors on the market and this might actually work to your advantage. For the features it includes and its overall quality, it really is a well-priced monitor that delivers on performance despite its less-than-lovely appearance.

Specs

Weight: 28.6 lbs without stand / 35.3 lbs with stand
Dimensions: (WxHxD): 25.1 x 29.1 x 9.1" inches with stand / 17.2 x 29.1 x 9.1" without stand
Screen size: 32 inches, measured diagonally
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
Colors: 1.07 billion
Brightness: 350 cd/m2
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Response time: 4 milliseconds
Screen Lighting: LED
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
OS Compatibility: Windows
Connectivity Ports: 1 DisplayPort 1.2 port, 1 mini DisplayPort 1.2 port, 2 HDMI 1.4 ports, 3 USB 3.0 downstream ports, 1 USB 3.0 upstream port, 1 mini USB

Highlights

The BenQ BL3201PH offers a number of rather unique highlights for its class of 4K monitor and they combine to make this particular model all the more attractive for at least a large percentage of 4K PC owners who want some very good overall quality.

For starters, the connectivity package of the BL3201PH is nothing to smirk at. It offers not only several HDMI and USB 3.0 ports but also throws in the added benefit of a DVI-DL port, DisplayPort 1.2 (not so common on many 4K PCs) and even includes mini Display Port 1.2.

Next up are the built-in speakers. While these are certainly nothing spectacular, they do come built into the monitor and do offer at least a modest degree of sound quality with 2 x 5watts of power. Many 4K monitors don’t even come with speakers of their own, so we can definitely consider these to be a minor highlight.

In terms of flexibility, the BL3201PH also offers a range of options. It can be shifted into landscape or portrait mode, comes with 90 degrees of pivot, 45 degrees of swivel, -5-20 degrees of tilt and is also includes a VESA configuration, making it versatile for a number of stands. Finally, it can also be mounted to a wall.

Then, there are the picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture features, both of which are great for viewing more than one piece of content at the same time and for comparing two different graphics simultaneously. Great for watching 4k movies on Netflix or Amazon on one screen and working on the other.

Finally, we should also mention the touch powered controls for navigating contextual menus which vary depending on the task you have on the screen. These also have the visually neat design of glowing to life as soon as you place your hand near them. Basically, the monitor screen comes with a single physical power button and offers the rest of its display controls via digital touch buttons.

Visual Specs

As we’ve already mentioned, the BenQ BL3201PH offers 3840 x 2160 pixel ultra HD 4K resolution on a 32 inch display screen that offers noticeably sharp and crisp text, images and video content (particularly native 4K content). This is all offered on an IPS panel that’s good at reproducing color, offers excellent off-angle viewing range and some very solid brightness.

However, in terms of response time, the 4 millisecond rate does leave a bit to be desired and while better than what many LCD TVs offer, it’s not as good as what a TN panel would probably offer. This is quite common with IPS panel monitors and gamers should beware of this little deficiency, especially when it comes to their fast-action 4K gaming needs.

In terms of contrast performance, this is also not the best you could probably find (at least not unless you invest in a more expensive IGZO monitor) but the contrast isn’t too bad either and whatever it lacks might only displease more serious video editing professionals.

In terms of color gamut, the BL3201PH does wonderfully on the sRGB spectrum and manages to cover it 100% but it does not offer range coverage in the more professional and thorough Adobe RGB gamut, which is a bit problematic for some levels of design related work.

Out of the box, the BL3201PH will also likely offer some slightly odd color calibration, much of this can be adjusted to look far more natural and vibrant with some careful calibration for lower saturation and color.

Finally, the screen brightness of the BL3201PH is perfectly adequate without going above and beyond in terms of performance. Furthermore, the backlight uniformity is even from one corner to the other, resulting in a perfectly functional but not extraordinary overall luminance quality.

Connectivity

The BL3201PH is a big, bulky monitor that doesn’t bother with sleek design. While this may not make it pretty, it does offer the benefit of a great set of connectivity ports. These include a single DVI-DL input, two HDMI 1.4 ports, DisplayPort 1.2 along with mini DisplayPort 1.2 inputs and several upstream and downstream USB 3.0 ports.

We should also note that only the DisplayPort inputs will work with a 4K signal at a full 60Hz to your PC, so make sure whatever computer you use has DisplayPort 1.2 outputs. The HDMI 1.4 can also deliver the 4K graphics to your screen but only at a much slower 30Hz.

As we already noted, the USB hub on the BL3201PH is quite extensive and offers 5 different USB 3.0 ports along with a mini USB jack.

Finally, some of the connectivity accessories that come with the BL3201PH are also pretty nice. These include a wire holder, an OSD controller, a power cord (obviously), a DVI-D cable, an HDMI cable, a USB A-B cable, a DisplayPort to mini-DisplayPort cable and a 3/5mm audio cable.

Pricing

The BenQ BL3201PH 32 inch 4K monitor certainly isn’t the cheapest 4K PC display on the market but for what it offers it’s also not too horribly priced at $1,010 USB on Amazon.com.

Check the Price of BenQ BL3201PH, 32" IPS LED 4K Monitor on Amazon:

4.1 - 21 Reviews

Not so Great

As we’d already mentioned, the not so great aspects of the BL3201PH aren’t too numerous. The monitor offers a somewhat limited color gamut by not including Adobe RGB. Some of its visual settings are a bit less than ideal in terms of realism and accurate color and the IPS technology of the display results in a less than perfect lag time.

Aside from these minor deficiencies, we’d also like to add that the color and contrast levels of the BL3201PH aren’t as great as they could be for its price tag.

Positives

• Great connectivity package
• Large screen size
• Excellent sRGB color gamut
• 16:9 aspect ratio perfect for gaming
• Great viewing at off-angles
• DisplayPort 1.2 and mini-DisplayPort 1.2

Negatives

• Utilitarian design without elegance
• Possible lag due to IPS
• Color rendering can be a bit off in some situations
• Slightly on the expensive side

Editor Rating
 
Features
A

 
Quality
B+

 
User Friendliness
A-

 
Connectivity
A+

 
Price
B

Total Score
A-

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User Rating
 
Features
B

 
Quality
B

 
User Friendliness
B+

 
Connectivity
B

 
Price
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Bottom Line
 

Our bottom line about the BenQ BL3201PH is that while it offers a great package of features and very good overall quality, its poor contrast, limited digital color spectrum and somewhat slow response time make it less than perfect for hardcore gamers and video editing pros. However, other types of visual project professionals could love the BL3201PH and its price isn’t too far above reasonable.

Check the Price of BenQ BL3201PH, 32" IPS LED 4K Monitor on Amazon:

4.1 - 21 Reviews

 
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