BenQ recently delivered a PD3220U BenQ DesignVue designer monitor to my studio to share my thoughts about it. I’m happy they did! To test the monitor I decided to work on a screen printing project since it involves both digital illustration and photographic reproduction. This monitor promises to be the perfect link between digital and analogue worlds.
I’m used to working on a nice 27” monitor with ok color reproduction and a lower resolution. It’s showing its age on different levels so this 4K 32” machine is a big step up.When opening the package my first thought was it’s huge but it also looks slim due to the super thin bezels for a 32” monitor. I’ve got a 32” tv at home which looks much bigger than this because it has these old school plastic bezels around it. I also really liked how sturdy the stand is, it’s metal and moves up and down easily which feels good with a large and heavy monitor. I decided to install my monitor on a monitor arm since I have a wide desk and I can work on both sides. This way the monitor floats above my work space, I can work beneath it and easily grab stuff on the other side.
So… cleaned up my desk, installed the monitor and started working. I opened some old projects and it almost felt like rediscovering them. A lot of my work is full of fine details and seeing everything sharp at once really makes a difference. The PD3220U is designed to work with a Macbook Pro and one of the things I really liked was that it uses a Thunderbolt 3 cable for the video signal and charges my 15” Macbook Pro at the same time! Less cables is always better. I wish they delivered a bit longer cable though, keep in mind it’s only 70cm so I had to get a longer one to make it work with my monitor arm. If you put you macbook right next to your monitor don’t worry, it’s fine.
Because of the Thunderbolt 3 connection you can also use daisy chaining to add another monitor. You connect one cable to you MacBook and the two monitors with each other. Who knows, I might do that in the future. Next to that the monitor has a bunch of connections, 3 x USB-A ports, 1 X USB-C and 1 X USB-B upstream which are all hidden behind a removable panel, looks really clean. I connected a scanner, USB speakers and a Wacom to the monitor, it could replaced a USB hub. Unfortunately the ports lose power when the monitor goes to sleep so you can’t connect an external SSD for example because it’ll be forcefully removed every time. I wish it had a few more USB-C ports since I changed a lot of my cables but fortunately I had my old USB-A cables still lying around and I know a lot of people still use those.
It’s really great to work on such a large monitor the colours are so vivid and you have lots of screen estate to work on. I noted I left all my menu’s and small windows open. BenQ really put in the effort to make the colours look accurate with their AQCOLOR technology to reproduce the industry color standards. It covers 95% of DCI-P3 which is great to have when using with a MacBook since Apple uses it for all the screens in their devices and it’s often used for video. It also covers 100% of sRGB. If you like to know more about these color spaces I suggest you search Google, it’s a long story and it’s different for everybody what’s best.
The monitor reproduces 10-bit colour which is great to finally have on my main monitor. I use my iPad a lot to draw in Procreate which produces 10 bit DCI-P3 images that look great on my iPad and Macbook but looked dull on my old 8-bit monitor. This monitor shows the same vibrant juicy colours the way I draw them. There’s also a mode called M-Book which looks close to your MacBook screen but isn’t as color accurate. The M-Book profile is great for daily browsing and is also the brightest, 300 Nits. Most Apple screens are 500 nits so this one is a bit less bright. It’s great most of the time and upping the brightness too much also affects colour accuracy. When doing colour critical work I even lower the brightness, if you really want the most accurate colour you should always hardware calibrate the monitor. On some sunny days and when editing video there were some moments I wished it was a bit brighter.
All these color spaces have their own advantages and usage. BenQ developed the Hotkey Puck G2 to switch between them in a quick and easy way. It’s a small attached device with some buttons and a rotation key which I use a lot in my daily workflow. The rotation key is used to set the brightness or scroll through monitor menus and the customisable buttons can be used to select the color spaces you use most.
I’m really happy with how this monitor helps me to reproduce good colours and gives me so much space to work. My work is often used on large formats and seeing it so big when working on it really helps me get a feel of the final product. If you're interested it's available on Amazon.