But does this work? Let’s find out in the test of the BenQ EX3501R!
Many thanks to BenQ for lending me the monitor for a test!
The BenQ EX3501R in the test
BenQ uses the EX3501R in a very smart and simple design. The front of the monitor is very smooth and kept clean. When switched off, for example, the frames of the monitor are not recognizable.
These are liquid on the EX3501R in the display panel. Only the lower display frame is slightly more emphasized. Here is also the BenQ logo, for example.
If you switch on the EX3501R, the frames on the left, on the right and on the top of course are clearly visible. But the BenQ EX3501R can certainly score with very narrow frames and thus a modern design.
The back of the monitor is in a chic and fairly neutral silver. Unlike some other 21: 9 monitors, the BenQ is therefore at least visually not aimed at gamers. Accordingly, there are no gadgets such as LEDs, etc.
The base of the EX3501R is mostly made of aluminum and polished to a high gloss. This makes a good and valuable impression.
Too bad the EX3501R does not have a VESA mount or something similar!
The buttons for controlling the monitor are attached to its lower edge. Unfortunately, here is the power switch something well hidden. So you always have to feel something around before you find it. After all, the power switch is much larger and thus better to feel than the other buttons.
A criticism for me are the connections! The EX3501R has 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x Displayport and once USB C. The connection selection is great, but the ports are stupidly positioned. BenQ has these attached at the bottom, where they are barely visible, especially since the EX3501R can not be pushed up easily.
As a result, the USB 3.0 HUB, which is also integrated, can only be used moderately well, as the two USB 3.0 ports are also at the bottom, next to the HDMI ports.
What you have to praise BenQ again is the USB C port! Do you have a MacBook or Dell XPS you can connect the monitor via USB C and also use the two USB ports at the same time.
If you like, the BenQ EX3501R can be a miniature docking station. However, charging does not take place via the USB C port.
Panel and resolution
The BenQ EX3501R has a 35 inch 21: 9 VA panel, which is also slightly curved. The panel is likely to be the M350QVR01.0 from AUO.
This resolves with 3440 × 1440 pixels, so WQHD only in wider. Accordingly, the sharpness fails.
Yes, a 4K monitor is sharper than the EX3501R, but in practice this is less noticeable than you think. The EX3501R works without question pleasantly sharp and detailed. Text is easy to read and does not look frayed.
Unless you are either very spoiled by 4K or particularly sensitive in terms of image sharpness, 3440 × 1440 is a very nice resolution. 3440 × 1440 is a good deal sharper than Full HD, but just in games a good deal easier to operate 4K.
Brightness and contrast
BenQ gives the brightness of the EX3501R with the typical 300 cd / m², which would be perfectly sufficient if the monitor reaches it.
Is that the case?
Yes, with 343 cd / m², the EX3501R can even easily exceed the manufacturer’s specification. This in combination with the matte surface of the monitor is completely enough to even hide a window or lamp in the background.
What about the contrast? BenQ gives this with 2,500: 1, which sounds a bit high at first, but not very surprised, because the EX3501R is VA Panel Monitor.
VA panels are traditionally able to achieve significantly higher contrast values than IPS or TN panels. While IPS values of over 1000: 1 are very rare, VA is easily capable of higher contrast ratios in theory.
So what is the practice of the EX3501R?
Surprisingly, the maximum contrast of the EX3501R at 1140: 1 in the maximum is relatively low for a VA Panel Monitor.
To make sure that this value is correct I have repeated all measurements with various settings and also via HDMI and DisplayPort, no significant changes.
Although a 1140: 1 contrast is quite weak for a VA Panel Monitor, this would be an extremely strong value for an IPS Panel Monitor.
For all monitors, the illumination is always a critical point. Finding a perfectly lit monitor is extremely difficult. Even in the € 1000 + price range, this is not self-evident.
In addition, the BenQ curvature, which certainly makes the illumination of the image is not easier.
But how good is the illumination? Maybe there is a surprise?
The illumination of the EX3501R is certainly not perfect, but is better than I expected.
The picture is generally quite even. Although there are a few points when looking at a black image where you can see a few lighter points with the naked eye, but these are not disturbing in everyday life.
For example, at the upper left edge there is a spot that is noticeably brighter than the rest of the monitor. But again this is not “extreme” or normally disturbing.
In short, the illumination and uniformity of the BenQ EX3501R is more than solid.
BenQ only specifies the color space of the EX3501R with 100% sRGB, an indication of DCI or AdobeRGB is missing. 100% sRGB is already a very strong indication, if it is correct.
However, in 2018 you can expect 99% + sRGB of any higher priced monitor.
As advertised, the EX3501R achieves 100% sRGB and 79% AdobeRGB coverage. Thus, the monitor is first prepared for all usage scenarios. No matter if you want to watch videos, edit photos or play games.
All these media are usually in the sRGB color space. Of course there are some cameras in photography which can also take pictures in the AdobeRGB color space, but even here a 79% coverage is more than neat.
If you want more than 79% then you need a professional monitor, which costs well and gladly 1000 € +, as for example the BenQ SW271 .
Another important point is of course the calibration. What helps the best color gamut if the colors are misrepresented. Of course this is relative. For photo and video editing, of course, you want accurate colors, in games and movies, this is not so important.
Here it is often quite pleasant, if the colors are a bit stronger. Of course, a manufacturer should always try to work as accurately as possible.
As usual, BenQ does a very good job in the standard profile! With a Delta E of 1 on average, the EX3501R is pleasingly accurate!
This would make the monitor synonymous for use in the field of semi-professional or hobby image editing offer.
So if you are planning to edit photos or videos on the monitor, there is nothing in the way!
In everyday life
Certainly the most important feature of the BenQ EX3501R is the 21: 9 form factor. But here I am daily surprised again how well this form factor can be used. Many applications are very good at 21: 9.
A good example here would be Adobe Lightroom. I would even say smooth you can be more productive in Lightroom than on a 16: 9 monitor. Also, in general, photo and video editing on the EX3501R goes well without a large calibration.
Even those who do not like multimonitor set-ups will love the 21: 9 factor. I have to confess to prefer to have a separate secondary monitor, but nothing prevents a synonymous BenQ EX3501R to use a second monitor.
Of course, not all applications on a 21: 9 monitor are perfect. You will encounter many white or black bars. For example, on Youtube videos or many websites.
Games surprised me positively in this context. Of course older games are not well optimized on 21: 9. Newer games with a few exceptions but almost throughout. Overwatch would be a recent example of a poorly optimized game. Officially, players would benefit on a 21: 9 monitor, which is true on a small scale.
Due to the high latitude you can see more what happens next to you. This can be a small advantage. However, one should not overestimate this advantage. But is the EX3501R even suitable for players?
Basically yes! Especially because of the 100Hz, the EX3501R is even slightly above average suitable for gamers. However, there is a small limitation, the EX3501R uses a VA panel. VA panels are slightly sluggish, resulting in a slightly blurred image during very fast movements.
This is also the case with the BenQ EX3501R, but one should not dramatize the whole thing. Just because the reaction time / input lag of the monitor in the middle of the picture is just 9.1m, which is good!
What I have to disenchant a bit at this point is HDR. The BenQ EX3501R has no “real” HDR. This would require a panel with a higher peak brightness. HDR is rather a small dynamics / color boost on the EX3501R. The whole thing does not look bad, but is more of a software trick than real HDR.
What I really appreciate is the slight bending of the monitor. Especially in games this helps to keep the corners in view more than you initially think. A really noticeable distortion does not exist, even if, of course, straight lines are already slightly curved. Incidentally, with 1800R, the curvature is already one of the strongest for a monitor, even if it still looks very subtle.
Let’s conclude by talking about electricity consumption. BenQ indicates this with 55W. Is this correct?
At 100% brightness of the EX3501R requires just 59W, the indication by BenQ comes so at a normal display brightness of 60-80% absolutely, or is even set a bit high.
- 100Hz for the gamers? Check!
- High resolution for office use? Check!
- USB C for the MacBook owners? Check!
- HDR for multimedia friends? Check!
- Curved panel for the coolness factor? Check!
However, BenQ has also done a good job. The image of the EX3501R looks good to very good in all circumstances. No matter if you use the monitor for gaming or for image / video editing.
Although the EX3501R is not really the hardcore gaming monitor due to the sometimes slower movements of the VA Panel, I would not have any problem recommending it to the normal hobby gamer. Especially since the input lag and the general reaction time is quite good.
Pretty good also applies to the picture. This is of course characterized by the great 21: 9 form factor. But even off this can convince! The contrast is with 1: 140 in the maximum nice strong, the brightness of 343 cd / m² more than adequate and the illumination solid.
In short, the BenQ EX3501R is probably the best Allrounder 21: 9 monitor currently on the market. Hardly any other model can recommend itself equally for normal gaming, as well as semi-professional photo and video editing and the consumption of media.
Also the price of around 720 € is very fair for the BenQ EX3501R !