The march of time and new technologies continues on. The newest graphic display standard, 4K, is quickly overtaking the existing high definition displays. And of course, that will mean upgrading your gear. As a regular consumer, you can try to wait it out until the last minute and switch over to a 4K monitor when your old monitor gives up the ghost. However, if you do any kind of work in the digital world that depends on sharp graphic, your timeline for upgrading has to be accelerated. You have to see your work in the new format to make it compliant, and to take advantage of the enhanced capabilities.The BenQ 32″ 4K UHD 60Hz 4ms GTG IPS LED Monitor is a 4K compliant monitor that is designed primarily for the work environment, but with a feature set that the home user can take advantage of as well. So, since both of these use cases have different needs, I’ll be taking each perspective into account during the review.
What is 4K?
4K is a device or content that has a resolution of 4000 pixels horizontally and 2000 pixels vertically. There are actually a handful of 4K standards, with UHD being the most popular for consumer media. It is designed to replace 1080P as the standard for high definition.
The overall aesthetic of the BenQ 32″ 4K UHD 60Hz 4ms GTG IPS LED Monitor is one of utility, not beauty. Solid plastic and metal construction with no additional colours or decorative accents. It fits in well with a productive office environment, but no one is going to particularly impressed to see this monitor mixed in with your home electronics. But after all, you don’t buy a monitor exclusively for the prettiness of its bezel (at least I hope not).
This may have been the easiest physical setup that I’ve encountered with a large monitor. The support arm clicks into place without any complicated maneuvering or adjustment, and the base locks on to the arm with similar ease. Once attached, the arm gives the BenQ 32″ 4K UHD Monitor a wide range of adjustable positioning, including reorienting the screen 90 degrees. I was happy to see ample clearance between the base and the monitor: some comparably sized monitors don’t leave enough space to have something sitting in front of the monitor without it obscuring the view.
As an added optional feature to the monitor, BenQ supplies a small plastic control puck that can take the place of the touchpad buttons on the bezel. I immediately hooked up the control puck (or “OSD controller” as BenQ officially refers to it). Why? Because I do not like touch buttons on displays. Invariably, I get caught in a race against time when configuring the monitor, trying to hit the right button and find what I’m looking for before the onscreen information that I’m not even able to read flickers away. The puck eliminated the frantic race, giving me easy accurate control of the display settings.
The BenQ Display Pilot software was simple to install an use, giving me granular control over a multitude of settings. It includes an application tuning feature, so you can assign a specific display mode to a particular application so that the pre-set settings are automatically applied when the application is started. A helpful time-saver for professional graphic designers who use the monitor for a variety of purposes.
Pre-configued display modes
The BenQ 32″ 4K UHD 60Hz 4ms GTG IPS LED Monitor has 3 primary modes, each designed for a specific use: CAD/CAM, Animation, and Low Blue light.
- CAD/CAM: this mode is tailored to the needs of industrial designers using computer-assisted design and manufacturing software. It increases the contrast and changes the monitor display colours to make the intricate line work involved in industrial design more easily seen.
- Animation: this mode focuses on adjusting the screen brightness for optimal creation of digital animation. There are 10 distinct levels of adjustment, so the animator can find the exact level of brightness they need for a project.
- Low Blue Light mode: of the three primary modes, this one is the most universal. It doesn’t matter if you’re using the monitor for work or for home entertainment: the ability to reduce the level of blue light is a welcome feature. Here’s the specific reason why I love this feature. About 3 months ago, my wife suffered a concussion. One of her ongoing post-concussion symptoms is a sensitivity to blue light (like office lights or standard computer monitors). The BenQ 32″ 4K UHD 60Hz 4ms GTG IPS LED Monitor gave her the ability to reduce the blue light and with it, the strain and headaches caused by regular monitor use. It has four sub-modes that change the blue light levels, from a 30% reduction for multimedia viewing, to a 70% blue light reduction for reading text on the monitor. All 4 sub-modes worked as promised, though my wife preferred to keep it in reading mode to minimize the blue light output as much as possible.
The BenQ 32″ 4K UHD 60Hz 4ms GTG IPS LED Monitor also promises ZeroFlicker technology to completely eliminate screen flickering. Regular monitors flicker up to 200 times a second, which BenQ claims contributes to eye strain. The trick to this feature is that any flicker that was still happening would be too fast for my human brain to register, so I can’t say for sure that it was entirely free of flickering. I can say that there was less eye strain overall while using the monitor.
The BenQ 32″ 4K UHD 60Hz 4ms GTG IPS LED Monitor adds some additional flexibility by offering picture-by-picture or picture-in-picture capability. It is a nice option for reducing the number of monitors on your desk, but the drawback is that you’ll lose some of the performance of the monitor by pushing it to display two different sources. And since 4K was your reason for upgrading, running the monitor at a lower level seems counter-productive. When I set it up with dual inputs, the images were sharp enough, but there was a distinct difference from the single source image.
Overall, you can make a strong case for the BenQ 32″ 4K UHD 60Hz 4ms GTG IPS LED Monitor as either a home user or a professional piece of equipment. I found it more suited to the professional applications, but it was easily up to every home entertainment and regular computing task I threw at it. It strikes the right balance between providing new functionality while still being a dependable day to day monitor.