Long ago in the distance past – the Moon might even have had water back then – I forked out, what was at the time, a formidable amount of cash to buy a pair of 14” LCD monitors. I then coughed up some more moolah for a pair of dedicated “swing arm” monitor stands to plonk ‘em on.
I recall the total bill to be around the $1200 mark and the retailer in North Ryde was Very Happy and went out and ordered a Porsche.
I have had lots of monitors since then of course, as well as ginormous all-in-one screen computers from Dell; my current line-up is a 17” BENQ monitor married to an OSEE dedicated video monitor all nailed to a Dell desktop.
And it got me thinking.
Of course, as everyone who edits video specifically, or dabbles in other creative pursuits using their PeeCee, the more screen real estate you can get the better, hence the dual monitor scenario. But these days, companies such as BENQ make widescreen monitors, usually marketed at the gaming types, so I wondered how one of these would go in the video editing world. And would the curved screen design be a help, hindrance or an immaterial factor in the editing process?
Also to be factored in, as well as screen real estate, was desk real estate. Two monitors with their feet takes up a lot of room.
I asked the nice folk at BENQ if they could find it in their hearts to lend me such a beast, and in a few days, a very nice Model EX3203R turned up on the Big Truck From The East.
BENQ describes this model thus: “(The EX3203R combines) HDR with B.I.+ Mode, which constitutes BenQ’s exclusive technology, the details are brilliantly visible even while your eyes are protected during gaming or video streaming.”
Technically, the ‘is a 31.5” 2K QHD HDR monitor running at 144Hz with a curvature of 1800R (this is a fancy way of saying the radius is 1800mm and the ideal seating position is therefore also 1800mm from the monitor).
Setup was a snip. Incidentally, the box the EX3203R comes in has some of the cleverest packaging I have ever seen for a device like this, as a hinged system means you don’t have to tip things upside down, fight with polystyrene versus cardboard friction or resort to the trusty Stanley knife and hacksaw combo as you do with many others. Simply cut through the sealing tape and the whole side of the box drops down letting pull the EX3203R out.
There are multiple HDMI, DisplayPort and USB-C ports letting you also plug in smart devices, Blu-ray players and of course, gaming consoles.
But my real interest was, as mentioned, in the EX3203R acting as an editing monitor. And one of the features that caught my eye – pardon the pun – was BENQ’s statement that the EX3203R satisfied the global safety authority, TÜV Rheinland’s certification for its flicker-free, low blue light and ”Brightness Intelligence Plus” factors.
In short, they reckon you can use the EX3203R for extended periods, which of course while gamers do as we know, but so do video editors. This Is therefore very important.
And they were right. In a very extended session of editing for a mate who is a branch Pres of one of this State’s Ulysses Motor Cycle Clubs, unlike other monitors, I ended without a massive headache, despite the screen being slightly brighter than I would have normally.
Apparently, there is a sensor built into the EX3203R that detects ambient light levels and colour temperature of the environment and adjusts the screen automagically accordingly.
And I also have to say the quality of the imagery, especially HDR based stuff is superb. With HDR now such an important part of editing, this technology in your monitor is – or indeed has – become a necessity. And while it is not strictly speaking a 4K monitor, but more like 2,5K, the frame rate capability is pretty damn good in compensation.
Now listen up here for a minute as this is important.
Recently I have banged on about ergonomics with regard to keyboards and mice etc, but also of paramount importance is of course eyesight. As the years pass you by, you definitely notice a degradation of eyesight, so I reckon there is little sense in accelerating the process by having crap habits and tools to go with ‘em.
In the 70s no-one told us about danger to the eyes from the harsh glare of the Pilbara or Kimberley sun, and now an entire generation is paying the price. The same goes for the current generation who are staring at screens all day as against squinting in bright daylight.
So, while at $750 or so the EX3203R is not inexpensive when it comes to basic monitors, the value lies in much more than pretty pictures in my opinion. That is, this is NOT a basic $169 monitor, not by a long shot.
And bang for buck on a quick look, the EX3203R is better than its opposition products such as those from ASUS.
Okay, if you are a top of the range, dyed in the wool colour correction expert video editor, you’ll go way beyond the BENQ ERX3203R into the realms of the OSEE range for example (and BENQ make one too just quietly), but for your everyday editor who also likes to play a few minutes of Call of Duty or Project Cars on occasion, and wants a great monitor with plenty of screen real estate for video editing, the BENQ EX3203R would be high on my list.
Oh and yeah, as a bonus it frees up a lot of physical desk space too.