The BenQ EX3501R is a unique curved ultra-wide gaming monitor which in addition to the standard high refresh rate UWQHD display specs adds its own touch through features such as the Brightness Intelligence technology, limited HDR support, and the USB-C connectivity.
Thanks to its high-contrast VA panel, 3440×1440 screen resolution, and 1800R curvature, the BenQ EX3501R immerses its viewers into crystal-clear and engaging image quality while offering plenty of useful exclusive features, extensive connectivity, and a versatile, gorgeous design.
Based on a VA panel by AU Optronics, the BenQ XR3501R monitor delivers a higher static contrast than the rest of panel technologies such as IPS and TN. The image thus results in deeper, true black tones and a superior relation between the darkest and the brightest colors.
While the display offers 178-degree viewing angles in all directions, minor shifts in contrast are expected when the screen is viewed from certain off-angles.
Apart from that, even though the monitor claims 100% sRGB color gamut, the colors aren’t as accurate as that of an IPS panel. So, check out the best monitors for color-critical work, if that’s something you’re looking for.
All in all, the BenQ XR3501R offers less accurate colors and narrower viewing angles than its IPS counterparts but has a much higher contrast ratio and less backlight bleeding.
The giant 35-inch screen is perfectly complemented by the UWQHD resolution as together they make for a rich pixel density of 106 pixels per inch. This means that there’s plenty of screen real estate as well as maximum attention to detail – a perfect ratio.
Some gamers are repulsed by the curved ultra-wide gaming experience. Instead of immersing themselves in the scenery, they’d rather choose a monitor with a higher refresh rates and a quicker response time speed.
If you mainly play competitive games and rely on every millisecond of your display, whether in terms of the pixel transition or the refresh rate speed, you should go with a TN panel 1ms 144Hz monitor. But, don’t expect the image quality to be anywhere near that of the BenQ EX3501R.
However, if you’d like to really enjoy gaming the low-pressure way and take the visuals and gameplay experience to another level, that’s where the ultra-wide displays kick in.
Just be sure to check whether your favorite games support 21:9 aspect ratio, or else you will have black borders on the sides or a stretched image in some video games, mostly older ones.
When it comes to gaming, the 100Hz refresh rate and the 4ms response time speed is more than enough for a fluid fast-paced gaming. Alas, some ghosting and motion blur of the fast-moving objects will be apparent though less and less as the frame rate goes up – and more and more the darker the picture is as pixels take longer to shift from the deep black shades.
If you have an AMD FreeSync compatible graphics card, you can entirely eliminate screen tearing and stuttering by synchronizing the refresh rate between the BenQ EX3501R 100Hz monitor and your graphics card.
You can use the monitor if you have an NVIDIA graphics card as well, but you won’t benefit from the dynamic refresh rate. The BenQ EX3501R FreeSync range amounts to 48-100Hz via both the DisplayPort and HDMI ports.
Even if your FPS (Frames Per Second) rate drops below 48, the LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) kicks in to save the day by doubling the frames for stutter-free gameplay.
While the BenQ EX3501R does claim HDR support, compatible content will only slightly be enhanced due to the rather lacking specifications for the true HDR viewing experience. With only 300-nit peak brightness and 8-bit color depth, HDR is software-enabled only thus offering a barely visible upgrade in comparison to what HDR can actually do.
OSD (On-Screen Display)
Along with the common features such as the Picture in Picture and Picture by Picture modes, the BenQ EX3501R has a several more in its sleeve.
The Brightness Intelligence Plus technology features a built-in sensor that automatically adjusts brightness and color temperature according to the on-screen content and ambient lighting.
The sensor has several sensitivity levels and customizable settings. For instance, you can adjust it to gradually decrease screen brightness as you work. In addition to the flicker-free screen and the low blue light filter, the BenQ EX3501R VA monitor is as easy on the eyes as possible.
In the OSD menu, there are several pre-calibrated picture presets as well as three customizable Gamer profiles. Other presets include Photo, Standard, two regular custom profiles, M-Book, and HDR. Lastly, the Cinema mode offers native video formats (24p, 25p, and 30p) for the authentic movie watching experience.
Design & Connectivity
The design of the BenQ EX3501R consists of thin bezels at the sides and top which nicely complement the edge-to-edge display. Ergonomics include 60 mm height adjustment, 100×100 VESA mount compatibility, and -5°, 20° tilt while the screen curvature amounts to 1800R.
Connectors are as follow: two HDMI 2.0, a DisplayPort 1.4, two USB 3.1, a USB type C, and the headphones jack. The USB-C port allows you to transfer video/audio signal, transfer files, and charge the device, all at the same time.
Price & Similar Monitors
The BenQ EX3501R price amounts to $850 at the moment (March 2018) which is reasonable. However, there are cheaper alternatives out there.
The AOC AG352UCG is also a curved 35-inch 3440×1440 VA-panel display with 100Hz refresh rate. What’s more, it offers the more expensive NVIDIA G-SYNC variable refresh rate technology and it’s available for $800-$900. If you have an NVIDIA card, go for the AOC AGON AG352UCG for gaming instead.
As a cheaper alternative, we highly recommend the Acer XR342CK, a curved 34-inch monitor with the UWQHD resolution and AMD FreeSync technology. It’s also available with HDR and 1ms MPRT technology as a different model.
While this display has only 75Hz natively, it’s possible to overclock it to 100Hz. Lastly, the XR342CK has an IPS panel, so it’s suited for professional designers as well as gamers.
Overall, the BenQ EX3501R is an astonishing ultra-wide display which excels at more than just gaming. It has unique features such as the advanced eye-care technology, the impeccable USB-C connector, and different native movie formats. So, as long as you need all of the features it offers, it’s definitely a great deal.
If you’re leaning more towards just gaming, there are cheaper and better alternatives. The same applies if you’re just looking for an ultra-wide monitor for productivity.
BenQ EX3501R Specifications
|Aspect Ratio||21:9 (UltraWide)|
|Response Time||4ms (GtG)|
|Adaptive Sync||FreeSync (48Hz-100Hz)|
|Ports||DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0, USB-C|
|Other Ports||2x Downstream USB 3.1, Headphone Jack|
|Contrast Ratio||2500:1 (static)|
|Colors||16.7 million (true 8-bit)|
What We Loved
- Premium design quality
- Great for working, gaming, and watching movies
- HDR support (though software-enabled only)
What We Didn’t Like
- Design lacks swivel adjustability
- Visible ghosting in fast-paced games