The EX3210R is an impactful 32in, 1440p monitor and it’s good value now, too
- Responsive, colourful panel
- Surprisingly good speakers
- Good motion blur reduction
- No local dimming
- Uninspiring stand
- Average port selection
The BenQ Mobiuz EX3210R is a variation on a popular theme in the gaming monitor industry at the minute, one that involves pairing curved 1440p VA panels with 165Hz refresh rates. Unlike similar monitors, however, the EX3210R measures 32in across the diagonal rather than 27in and has a dramatic 1000R curvature to compensate for the added screen real estate.
Thanks in part to the size and curvature, the EX3210R is an imposing, impactful monitor – and after a sorely needed price drop, it’s a good value one, too. It caters particularly well to those who want a bigger panel without the hardware strain or financial outlay associated with 4K.
BenQ Mobiuz EX3210R review: What do you get for the money?
At launch, the BenQ Mobiuz EX3210R cost £579 – far too much for a 1440p gaming monitor. Thankfully, it can now be found for £400 at major retailers, which makes it a far more appealing prospect. For that money, you’re getting a 32in VA panel with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, a curvature of 1000R, a refresh rate of 165Hz, a quoted response time of 1ms MPRT, a DisplayHDR 400 certification and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro support. It’s also unofficially compatible with Nvidia G-Sync.
On the rear, you’ll find two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.2 port, two USB-A 3.0 ports, a USB-B 3.0 port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. You’ll also spot a good amount of LED lighting, which can be controlled from the monitor’s on-screen display (OSD). On the front sits an HDRi button for activating the EX3210R’s two emulated HDR modes.
The stand provides 100mm of height adjustment, 15 degrees of swivel left and right and 15 degrees of backwards tilt. Aside from the power adapter and documentation, in the box you’ll find DisplayPort, HDMI and USB-B to USB-A cables plus a remote for controlling the OSD and an I/O port cover.
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BenQ Mobiuz EX3210R review: What does it do well?
I’m warming to BenQ’s gaming monitor aesthetic. The matte grey rear of the panel housing, in particular, looks great, especially when the LED lights that run diagonally inwards from each corner are lit up. From stand to panel, this is a bulky monitor, but as I noted with the Samsung Odyssey G70A, an excessively spindly design can be a drawback with larger panels. This monitor does not wobble on its stand and it feels exceptionally well built.
BenQ has wisely opted for joystick-based OSD controls but it’s the bundled remote control that earns my praise. Navigating the OSD, switching between presets and adjusting the source/volume is effortless using this and it makes me wonder why more manufacturers don’t follow suit.
I assume BenQ includes a remote control so that its monitors can be used for other kinds of entertainment, which in my mind means watching a film/TV show from the comfort of the nearest bed or sofa. The screen size helps a lot in this regard but it’s the built-in speakers that really transform the EX3210R into a multi-purpose entertainment display. There are two two 2W tweeters and a single 1W woofer working away behind the scenes to produce a surprisingly good sound with plenty of weight and a little bit of bass, too.
As always, however, it’s the panel that makes (or breaks) the monitor. Thankfully, the EX3210R delivers in most regards. Out of the box with BenQ’s “B.I.+” adaptive brightness feature switched off, this monitor reproduced 122.7% of the sRGB colour gamut, which equates to 86.9% of the DCI-P3 gamut and 84.5% of the Adobe RGB gamut. It wasn’t especially accurate in this mode, delivering an average Delta E of 2.73 when tested against sRGB, but exuberant colours are normal for a gaming monitor. Locking the EX3210R into sRGB mode and performing the same test produced an excellent average Delta E of 0.74, however.
Anecdotally, the EX3210R is good to play on. The 1440p resolution means it’ll be easier for your PC to hit high frame rates than on a 4K monitor, thus ensuring you’re making the most of its 165Hz refresh rate, and the curved screen offsets the poor viewing angles associated with VA panel technology very nicely. The result is a fluid, immersive gaming experience that’s as good for enjoying the scenery in your favourite RPG or – as BenQ recommends – as it is getting closer to the asphalt in a racing sim.
Perhaps unusually for a monitor of this sort, the EX3210R has low motion blur (ELMB) technology, as well as the more common overdrive (called AMA in BenQ’s parlance). The former makes a considerable difference to the clarity of moving images, while the latter improves response times and reduces ghosting.
Both have drawbacks: ELMB produces ghosting, while overdrive produces inverse ghosting at high levels. For the best possible image, I settled on one level of overdrive (out of three) with ELMB switched on. This produced crystal clear moving images with a small amount of ghosting and no inverse ghosting. It’s not perfect – an IPS panel will almost always be more responsive than a VA one – but it’s a good effort from a multipurpose panel such as this one.
BenQ Mobiuz EX3210R review: What could be better?
As I just mentioned, this is a VA panel, and as such it exhibits a noticeable amount of ghosting when subjected to Blurbusters’ UFO test. Nothing you can do will completely remove this, although to be honest you’re unlikely to notice it unless you’ve trained yourself to spot such things.
Another thing that comes with the territory is the low pixel density. A 32in, 1440p panel has a pixel density of 92ppi, which can make text look a little fuzzy. I can’t say it bothered me when playing games but it’s worth knowing if you plan on using this monitor for work as well as gaming.
The biggest problem I have with the panel itself, however, is the high dynamic range performance. The monitor on test failed to reach the required 400cd/m², topping out at 350cd/m² in a 10% white window in HDR mode. Contrast is decent at 2,500:1 but, ultimately, without any kind of local dimming it’s going to be hard to notice much of a difference between SDR and HDR content.
To be fair, I wasn’t expecting much from a DisplayHDR 400 certified panel, and frankly there’s nothing wrong with keeping the monitor in an SDR mode at all times – especially since you can’t use ELMB in HDR. I just find it a bit misleading to describe this as an HDR monitor. The emulated HDR modes should be avoided for similar reasons.
My final gripe concerns this monitor’s practical benefits. The stand is surprisingly restrictive – 100mm of height adjustment isn’t much and a mere 15 degrees of left/right swivel is plain dreadful. I would expect much more from a monitor in this price bracket. The port situation is similarly uninspiring. A full four-port USB-A hub should be an absolute minimum at this price and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed – as ever – by the lack of USB-C.
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BenQ Mobiuz EX3210R review: Should you buy it?
If this monitor was still retailing at around the £579 mark, I would tell you to look elsewhere. The uninspiring stand, relative lack of ports and average HDR performance simply aren’t befitting of a £579 product. If you want versatility and good HDR performance at this size and resolution, the 32in Samsung Odyssey G7 (£499) should be your first choice.
However, at £400, the EX3210R is a far, far more tempting proposition. That’s a great price for a curved 32in gaming monitor of any sort, let alone one with a colourful panel, good motion handling and a surprisingly beefy speaker arrangement. Provided you can nab the EX3210R at that price or around that level, then, I’m happy to recommend it to any PC gamers looking for a touch more screen real estate.