The monitor market in recent years has completely blown up, with so many different models and features to pick from, with different resolutions, screen types, designs and prices, it can be very hard to know what’s worth buying and what you will actually benefit from for your set up.
BenQ is a company that wasn’t even in the scene to begin with, but have become one of the leading brands for monitors due to their competitive pricing and range of monitors to choose from, including the one we will be looking at today: the BenQ EX3203R.
So how does this monitor hold up and is it worth the buy?
Firstly let’s look at the specifications of the EX3203R:
To break it down, this monitor is 31.5 inches, 1440p resolution with a refresh rate of 144hz, making it more suitable for gamers with the PC power to run frame rates higher than 60, is a curved monitor, flicker-free screen, supports super resolution (meaning you can kind of experience 4K) and FreeSync2; making screen tears a thing of the past.
The monitor also supports HDR, however compared to other screens it doesn’t support this very well. These features are great, but it depends on what you’re after to determine whether this monitor is for you or not. So let’s break down these features.
The display itself has a high response time of 4ms with a refresh rate of 144hz, giving a smooth and fluid performance in games if your system is capable (mid to high range).
I believe a lot of people don’t quite understand how much the refresh rate actually affects a screen as so many people are used to 60hz, but think of it as frames; A game running at 60fps compared to 30fps is smoother and less choppy, but at 144fps… it’s a whole new experience.
For a greater understanding on how Hzs in monitors work and how they affect gameplay, we recommend checking out this excellent video by Digital Foundry:
Screen tearing is always a factor when picking your gaming monitor, the BenQ EX3203R uses FreeSync2, which helps keep screen tearing to a minimum without the use of Vsync, so there’s less strain on your system as it’s handled by the monitor and again making your gameplay even better.
However, this monitor doesn’t support Gsync, which is used by modern Nvidia GFX/RTX cards. Which means, unfortunately, if you don’t use an AMD card you won’t benefit from this feature at all. In theory, this issue may be going away as many Freesync monitors now support Gysnc. According to esportstales.com, the EX3203R may work with Gsync. The site also includes a list of monitors that already support this interchangeability.
The screen panel is a Vertical Alignment (VA) which allows the higher refresh rate but also has much higher contrast compared to other screens, in this case 3000:1, giving deeper blacks and more apparent colors.
However it’s slightly slower compared to other panel types which can, rarely, produce ghosting in high speed gaming.
If panel types are very confusing, check out this very helpful breakdown by the experts over at Tom’s Hardware. Other than that the EX3203R is a beautiful looking display, big enough and bright enough for any use with a lovely high refresh rate, and I can’t knock it for that.
The EX3203R is also a very pretty monitor straight out of the box. With a sleek silver design, very thin bezels around the screen and a sturdy structure, it will look great on any desk for any consumer.
The screen is curved, which is a growing trend, and it has a slight curve rather than too much head on, but this still makes it hard to see from any other angle.
Connectivity wise, the EX3203R supports a DisplayPort and two HDMI ports, meaning you could plug in two consoles and your PC for example. There’s also a headphone jack, two USB 3 ports, a USB C port and of course the power port.
Ideally a hardcore gamer would probably prefer three HDMIs (PS4, Xbox and Switch etc.) but two is certainly ample, and having the extra USB’s is always handy for any PC user. Aesthetically, there’s certainly nothing wrong with this monitor, and it can also be hung up on a wall with a VESA mount kit.
If you want to check out performance benchmarks with different graphics cards, check out this great article by the guys over at Gpucheck.
So overall, do I think this monitor is worth buying? I would love to say yes, but originally priced at £499 in the UK, $699 in the US and $799 in Australia (prices have come way down since then), you can get a better one for the same if not a cheaper price.
The HDR, slightly slower response time and lack of Gsync capability makes it less than ideal for many gamers, which is such a shame as overall it’s a pretty outstanding monitor that would certainly benefit from a price drop.
If you see this monitor on sale, and your system contains an AMD card, then I’d definitely recommend picking it up, but until then look elsewhere for similar but better performing models.
If you want more information on the BenQ EX3203R curved monitor, check out the official BenQ site by clicking here. You can buy the monitor directly from them or check out the links we’ve provided above and below.
What do you think about the BenQ EX3203R? Does it seem like a monitor you’d want to add to your gaming rig? If you own it, let us know what you think of it. Let’s discuss in the comments section below.
- Curved Panel is everything
- 144 hrz is a nice touch but not overkill
- Seamless Freesync functionality
- Curve can make it difficult for friends to watch
- Slightly lower response rate (to comparable models)
- Poor HDR
- Price on the expensive side but what do you expect with freesync