BenQ XR3501 Curved 35" 144Hz Monitor Review

Author: AkG
Date: January 16, 2016
Product Name: XR3501
Part Number: XR3501
Warranty: 3 Years
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Menu Layout & Observations

For anyone who has worked with, or even just seen in action, a BenQ ‘X’ series monitor built in the past few years the XR3501’s On Screen Display will be like putting on a favorite pair of slippers. It will be instantly recognizable and all the quirks (and workarounds) are still in place. That is not to say that this is a sub-optimal OSD, rather it is simply in need of a graphics update, and some missing features should be added in.

Luckily this OSD is straightforward, well laid out, generally intuitive to use, and still one of the more novice friendly designs available today.

As with all really well designed OSD’s, before entering the main On Screen Display menu you will be greeted with a small mini-screen pop-up that contains the typical adjustment options before entering the full OSD. This means changing something like the brightness levels is only a single click away.

With that out of the way, the main Menu can be quickly navigated and the majority of its features are within one sub-level of the main screen. BenQ has also included a rather impressive list of profile presets. In fact, there are seven preconfigured profiles (sRGB, Racing, FPS1, FPS2, Standard, Photo, Movie) and two slots for custom profiles which can be custom-built and then saved.

The latter option really does elevate the XR3501 above the typical 21:9 class monitor, however, the seven presets actually do cover the basics rather nicely. For example, FPS1 and FPS2 will both modify response times, color signatures and other items to better suit the quick action in first person shooter games. FPS1 is actually built around Counter Strike: Global Offensive, while FPS2 is for Battlefield games but works equally well with CoD.

Racing meanwhile is tailor made with racing simulation games in mind, while sRGB is for consumers who take color fidelity seriously but plan on creating content solely for the Internet. BenQ even covers mundane non-gaming related scenarios as Standard covers the typical day to day tasks such as word processing and surfing the web, while Photo is for photo viewing (if you like oversaturated images that is), and Movies is for movie watching. Brilliant stuff.

Below these presets are some rather potent options that can improve upon the defaults and tailor the monitor’s output to your particular needs. For example, if you are the type of person who wears a certain brand of ‘gaming’ glasses to reduce eye fatigue, the Low Blue Light option may leave you wondering why you dropped a bill on a pair of overhyped sun glasses. For the more typical gamer the Black eQualizer can give you an edge in dark games as blacks will not be quite as murky as they otherwise would be.

Now with all that said there are few features missing that could – and should – have been included. First and foremost is individual R/G/B color correction is indeed included but is only available when using some of the profiles. This is fairly typical for gaming orientated monitors and as such was expected. What was a tad disappointing was the lack of fine-tuning available for Gamma levels. Instead of actual values BenQ uses a scale of 1 – 5, with 3 being the default value which certainly isn’t precise.

The same holds true for color temperature, as the options are as vague as a politician’s promise. Instead of actual Kelvin ratings BenQ uses the asinine ‘Normal’, ‘Blueish’, and ‘Reddish’ options. Here at least they allow for User Defined options that blend RGB to your satisfaction. Put simply if you take Gamma or Color Temperature seriously you already own a colorimeter or know how to adjust them via software – as nearly every other ‘gaming’ monitor also treats you like a moron.

On the positive side, BenQ may still think you drool and cannot be trusted with such ‘advanced’ features on a thousand-dollar monitor, but they do give a touch more in-depth options than some, so that is something at least.

The System section deals with the various options that do not easily fit into any of the other sections. This includes default Input setting, power off timeout setting, DDC/CI, emitter mode and other more esoteric features.

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