BenQ XR3501 Curved Gaming Monitor Review

BenQ XR3501 is a curved 35 inch, backlit LED, AMVA screen with an aspect ratio of 21:9 up to 2560×1080 max resolution. A curvature rating of 2000R and 178 degrees viewing angle from all sides. It is not a gaming grade without a refresh rate of 144Hz. A total of 16.7mil colors and weighs 16kg. More importantly, VESA MOUNT SUPPORTED, YES!

For I/Os. There is 2 HDMI 1.4, Display Port 1.2 and Display Port mini, Audio In/Out and Power in. Respond time of 4ms and a good color gamut of 72% NTSC. For ergonomics you are limited to only tilt upwards up to 5  degrees and downwards up to 15 degrees, no height and swivel adjustment. Not cool BenQ for the hefty price. But, shining dark grey chrome stand give a premium look and is stable enough even by touching the monitor it doesn’t wobble. (852.8 x 499.1 x 205.6mm size + stand, 2000:1 contrast ratio, max brightness 300cd/m2)

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It features BenQ’s Black eQualizer where blacks in game is brighten up yet retain the highlights so you can see what lurking in the shadows, 3 Pictures modes dedicated to gaming namely Gamer 1-3 profile one for FPS two for racing. Just a side note the XR is a flicker free monitor so wont feel any eye-fatigue or strain with the option of blue filter available which I set to level one.

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Sounds great so far but two major things are missing, G-Sync or FreeSync support.  The 144Hz is limited to Display Port not HDMI Port, as the XR has only HDMI 1.4 with max 60Hz refresh rate. I wished they had gone with HDMI 2.0 for higher refresh rates. I wish they had included a USB port as well, that save my trouble most of the time.

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For editors who are into high density screen, you might shy away because is 79DPI screen is trade off for a wide 21:9 screen, is it that bad? Nope, I’m (Calvin) a wedding photographer I have done 2 pre-wedding edits and I face no problem on the DPI just the image looks mushy a little but as long you edit by experience to can get through it easily. I using this XR3501 for two purpose to edit both Video/Photo work and Productivity. I can do 3 web split screen like reading emails, watching videos and social media. In the past I need 2 screen but one 35inch is a solution for me to go now.

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For experience for specific areas:
– For gaming, MOBA, I feel no differences compared to flat screen but with Crysis and Tomb Raider the immersion feel is there. You can see the side more, you head doesn’t need to turn sideways a lot just view straight on and the XR will take care of the rest. Good Job BenQ.
– For video editing is heavenly you can have your preview screen and color control screen in one view, in the past I have to on and off the tab so it doesn’t interfere with the video preview screen.
-For photo editing, I still haven’t gotten use to it yet especially when the curved screen give a stretch look on photo if you sitting too near once you space yourself around 1 meter, the editing experience come better. Color reproduction and contrast of the screen is good.

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So that has been my review on the XR3501. Good refresh rate via Display port, good color and contrast, wide enough that you don’t need a typical 2 flat screen with a border in the middle, that’s annoying. It can be a killer with HDMI 2.0, FreeSync or G-Sync support and better ergonomic adjustment. Is pricey and I have mix feelings whether to get it. BenQ is aggressive no doubt but they have to add features that is relevant and up to date and people will be attracted to it.


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