Earlier this year BenQ released a series of new monitors named the ‘E-series HDR monitors’ and these were designed with the idea in mind that people like to watch movies, stream music or even get the odd bit of gaming in here and there. With this being a series of monitors there are three different ones you can choose from. First off we have the BenQ EX3501R which is a curved 35” beast and potentially up there with some of the best. Second in the series is the EW3270U which is a 32” 4K monitor that is mainly aimed at graphic designers and video editors much like the previous ranges from BenQ. Lastly we have EL2870U which is the monitor we’re reviewing today and, I have to admit, for a price of around £250 (price at time of review) you certainly do get bang for buck. Oh and if you’re an AMD graphics card user then this bad lad comes with the nice option of Free-Sync to help with that all important gaming in your life.
There are quite a few features that BenQ have added to this monitor and they’re all to do with making the screen easier on the eyes. As with most BenQ monitors the EL2870U comes with Flicker-Free technology which as you can guess by the name helps the screen to reduce or even eliminate screen flickering which has been proven to help with eye fatigue and headaches when used for an extended amount of time.
The Brightness Intelligence technology is used to reduce eye strain in any environment as it detects the environment you are in and changes the brightness and colour temperature of the monitor accordingly. Low Blue Light technology is also present in the monitor and this again will help with eye strain and headaches. However, research on Blue Light has also suggested that it can cause sleep disorders but this is only in some cases and if you’re a gamer like me you probably don’t sleep much anyways to be honest. As I stated earlier this monitor also supports AMD Free-Sync however being an NVidia user this was not something I was able to test to its full potential.
Now I really like the design of this monitor as it doesn’t try to go with the whole trend at the minute where everything needs to have a really thin bezel. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a huge bezel that the screen is housed in and it comes with a nice black finish with the lower bezel where you find the monitor menu buttons have been done in a sort of matte silver effect to break up the colouring. The base and stand of the monitor also have this same effect going on with the stand being black and the base again sporting that nice silver matte finish.
The panel will give you a viewing angle of around 170 degrees according to the BenQ website and comes with a 1ms response rate which is excellent for the price. The back of the monitor hides your usual connections ports with two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Not a lot of connectivity given some monitors these days come with more ports than a motherboard but it still has the basic connections and some times simple is better. There is also support for VESA mounting in case you would like to attach the monitor to an arm or wall.
As this is a 4K monitor and pointed towards those casual gamers who are wanting a 4K gaming experience the monitor does a good job of it. The main reason, and the only one I can see, why BenQ chose to go with AMD Free-Sync is down to cost. NVidia obviously have their own version of Free-Sync and this comes in the form of G-Sync but this is slightly more costly and can sometimes even increase the price of a monitor by almost £150. Both do the same job so I’m not sure why there’s so much of a price difference.
Anyways the monitor runs 4K at 60Hz through the HDMI port which is all good for streaming, watching movies or playing slow paced games where the tempo isn’t crazy and manic. However, if you’re the sort of gamer like myself who likes to hammer Battlefield 1 and Counter Strike at any chance I get, then I would have to suggest getting a monitor with a higher refresh rate as this will make the gameplay seem a lot smoother and more responsive.
However, with that said I was impressed with the EL2870U and its gaming performance. I tested it using a various number of games and even connected it to my Xbox One to test a few on console as well. Overall everything looked vibrant and the colouring was exceptional, even better then my TV to be honest with you. I did actually give CS:GO a bash using the monitor and from time to time would get the odd refresh rate issue or screen tearing. This may have been something that was fixed with Free-Sync if I had of been using an AMD card but when it came to using an NVidia card I was running into slight issues.