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BenQ Cinema HDR

HDR (high dynamic response) simply means it enhances details in the shadows and reduces over-exposure in the lighter areas. HDR on a monitor is different from HDR on a TV although the result is similar. A TV typically has 1000 nits or more brightness to be called HDR – or any of the variations we see like HDR10, HDR+, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log Gamma… These use metadata and colour look-up tables transmitted with the content..

The BenQ EX3501R has sufficient processing power to do HDR Tone and Gamut mapping as well as some upscaling to smooth out pixels

Tone mapping takes the input content and adapts it to the maximum dynamic brightness of the display. That helps reduce over-exposure.

Gamut mapping takes whatever colours are in the content stream, say Rec. 2020 and map these to the 100% sRGB gamut, Rec. 709.

We played 4K Blu-ray content via the HDMI port and while a trained eye could tell the difference between it and a several-thousand-dollar Dolby Vision TV – it was damned good.

BenQ has two modes – HDR TV (HDR10 compatible movies and games) and BenQ Cinema HDR (emulation). The latter was, for want of a better word, smoother and a little subtler than the HDR TV mode that is perhaps better for animation and games.

BenQ EX3501R

BenQ menu OSD

Like most, it uses physical buttons. I would love a screen/mouse interface!

It supports multiple inputs (two source devices) and PIP and PBP.

Colour temperature can be modified – normal, bluish, reddish, user define (RGB) and gamma (luminance) by five steps. Default mode was closest to 100% sRGB. There is a raft of advanced picture settings including standard, HRD, sRGB, Photo (Adobe RGB) and gamers modes.

And as BenQ is famous for – a flicker-free panel and low blue light mode. This also works with BenQ’s Bright Intelligence Plus (BI) sensor to detect ambient light and adjust a range of picture parameters. Again, leave it on for the best image.

We also discovered the upscaling feature although it is called Super Resolution. This offers four steps to increase the pixel resolution of lower density images. We left it on setting three although it made no ‘perceptible difference’.

The full manual is here.

Ports – enter USB-C

USB-C is a 5Gbps port capable of providing [email protected] (alt DP mode), USB-C Power Delivery to 10W via two USB-A 3.0, 5V/2A ports

It also has 2 x HDMI 2.0, one x mini-DisplayPort 1.4, a 3.5mm audio out and a Kensington lock slot

BenQ EX3501R

I was impressed at the speed of video connection over the USB-C port – it was almost instant compared to 20+ seconds on some other brands. For example, you could plug in a corded keyboard and mouse and have instant use.

The stand

It uses a typical triangle stand about 23cm deep with most of it behind the monitor for a cleaner desk space. It has tilt (-5/+20) and 60mm height adjustment to set the monitor at perfect eye height. It can also be VESA wall mounted.