The BenQ EX3501R is a 35″ Ultrawide Curved Monitor, which is way bigger than any monitor I’ve previously had. Obviously with the monitor being 35″, I was expecting it to be fairly massive, but it wasn’t until I was pulling the BenQ 35″ Ultrawide Curved Monitor out of the box, that I realised just how big this thing is.
Out of the box, it feels really well built and sturdy which is important in a monitor. You can adjust the height of it quite easily by lifting it up and down. The cables loop through a hole in the stand which is great for cable management. I was a bit hesitant with having a curved monitor, but given it’s ultra wide, it actually works really well given its subtlety. The bezels are a metal grey and incredibly slim and the stand is a nice looking silver.
In the box, you get a health dose of cables including a HDMI cable, Mini DP to DP cable and a USB C cable, so you should be set to connect almost anything to the monitor without needing anything else. In the way of ports you’ve got a DP port, 2 x HDMI ports, a USB 3.0 port, two USB C ports and a headphone jack.I’ve never owned an Ultrawide monitor before, and was a little worried about having such a wide monitor on my desk, but I don’t think I’ll ever go back. From a pure productivity point of view, it’s actually life-changing. Being able to have your emails up, with your Twitter feed and then another one or two windows really allows you to be more productive and have everything you need on screen at once.
The monitor boasts a massive 3440×1440 resolution which is fantastic for productivity, but doesn’t necessarily translate to console gaming. Connecting my PlayStation 4 Pro I was able to get a resolution of 1440p (or 2,560 x 1,440). Whilst I can understand that the black bars on either side of the screen whilst gaming can be an issue, I didn’t find it to be painful at all.
The screen has a 100Hz refresh rate, so ghosting on screen was never an issue. I’m incredibly picky when it comes to colour and contrast, especially given I’ve got a top of the range TV that I can play my PS4 Pro on, but this screen impressed me that much, that I ended up picking up a second PS4 Pro, so I could game on it at all times.
The monitor boasts HDR which is serviceable, but I actually preferred keeping it off. It’s worth messing with, but HDR is something that will differ based on personal preferences, so give it a go and see how you find the image.
Something that is important to me with monitors is how easy it is to set your own custom shortcuts to change inputs, screen options and display settings and it’s something that this BenQ monitor does really well. You can set up two-three shortcuts and everything is really easy to navigate. Something I would have liked to see is being able to have inputs remember display settings rather than having to keep swapping between.
Picture in Picture is also an option, which I found myself using occasionally. With the screen being so wide, you can have your computer and console running side by side, or in the corner. It doesn’t work perfectly (given the differences in aspect rations), but it’s serviceable enough.
I spend somewhere between 10-12 hours in front of a screen daily, so managing the brightness of the screen is important. Brightness Intelligence Plus is something that BenQ is really pushing. It’s featured in this monitor and it works an absolute treat. It can detect the light levels and temperature in your room and will automatically adjust the on-screen brightness and colours around it. That means that if you’ve got a window open during the day, it’ll heighten the brightness, and then dim it at night. You can have this happen automatically in the background without you knowing, or you can have it represented with a meter in the bottom right of the screen (it’ll tell you when it makes slight changes).
The BenQ EX3501R will set you back about $1000, which is a pretty significant figure. What you’re getting is a beautiful monitor that shines under any circumstance. It aids productivity with its ultrawide screen and looks absolutely phenomenal when gaming thanks to its quality colours and brightness/contrast.