I used my first ultrawide monitor last year, which was the Dell UltraSharp U3415W. That was a great monitor for the price but it was not good enough to convince me. The BenQ EX3501R is the successor of the XR3501 that was released nearly 3 years ago. This time, it comes with a lot of promising features. Let’s check it out.
Design & Features
The BenQ EX3501R has a much sleeker design as compared to my previous Dell monitors. The stand has a V-shaped base, so the footprint is significantly smaller. I can still tilt the monitor or adjust the height, however, I can’t swivel it to left/right.
All connections are placed on the back, you can find HDMI, DisplayPort, headphone jack, USB 3.1 ports, and a USB-C port. The USB-C port is the most interesting port here, it offers the one-cable connectivity to your computer. When you use a new MacBook or Windows machine with the USB port, you can use only one cable to send image signal and it will charge your laptop at the same time. So, it will reduce the cable mess around the monitor.
The power and OSD buttons are placed along the bottom of the screen. They might be a little difficult to see, fortunately, the power button has a light inside, so you can locate it easier and know if the monitor is on or off.
Another interesting feature of the BenQ monitor is Brightness Intelligence Plus technology to reduce eyestrain. The large chin beneath the screen houses an ambient light sensor; It will detect the environment around you and adjust the brightness and color temperature for the best viewing comfort.
The monitor has a screen size of 35 inches and 1800R curvature; It is enough to provide an immersive experience without distorting images. Besides, it has a large suite of features like HDR support, 100Hz refresh rate, AMD FreeSync, cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio, 178°/178° viewing angles, and ultra-high 3000:1 native contrast.
The resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels might be too low for a monitor at this size. I can see grainy images, especially when I use this monitor for reading or editing photos. The image is not crystal clear and the text is not really sharp. Having said that, I don’t mean the image quality is bad, it is just not as good as the 4K monitors I used earlier, like the BenQ PD3200U.
It is suitable for gamers since the gaming experience is very smooth; you won’t see tearing image or choppy gameplay here.
I use the monitor in the HDR and sRGB most of the time, and of course, HDR is my favorite mode. This is not the true HDR display and you are actually running an HDR-emulated (or software-based) mode; Specifically, it uses the 8-bit color depth and has a peak brightness of 300 nits. The luminance will increase when the mode is enabled. It is nowhere near the true HDR but you will still see the difference; The contrast is improved and it reveals a lot more details.
You won’t need to calibrate the monitor since the standard and sRGB modes have great color accuracy and luminance already.
A great advantage is that there is almost no backlight bleed as seen on many other gaming monitors with IPS panels.
The viewing angle of the monitor is really amazing as I can see everything clearly at any angle; The only problem is that the image shifts to a warmer tone when I’m not sitting in front of the screen. Besides, the VA panel of the BenQ monitor has an average screen uniformity; The left and right sides are slightly dimmer, however, you won’t be able to notice it when playing games or watching movies.
Check out the video below to see video quality of the monitor.
- Modern design
- Great gaming performance
- HDR emulation
- Excellent color accuracy
- Convenient USB-C port
- Reduce eyestrain
- No backlight bleed
- Image is not really sharp
- The stand is not fully adjustable
Undoubtedly, the BenQ EX3501R is another great ultrawide curved gaming monitor on the market. I highly recommend it to gamers who spend hours in front of the monitors because it will reduce eyestrain and you will experience a very smooth gameplay.