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BenQ's PD3220U is a Thunderbolt 3-equipped 4K monitor for MacBook-toting designers

By Ng Chong Seng - on 13 Mar 2019, 3:59pm

BenQ's PD3220U is a Thunderbolt 3-equipped 4K monitor for MacBook-toting designers

In addition to the CinePrime W2700 4K projector, BenQ has also announced that it’s going to sell its new PD3220U 4K monitor in Singapore in the coming months.

Part of BenQ’s DesignVue series, the PD3220U boasts some really impressive specs. Other than its big 31.5-inch 4K UHD IPS panel, the PD3220U comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4 port, and a 4-port USB hub that includes three USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C ports. Now, BenQ isn’t shy to say that it has built the PD3220U to be a “Mac-friendly” monitor, and that having Thunderbolt 3/USB-C is really to satisfy the needs of MacBook Pro users. With the two TB3 ports, you can easily daisy chain two PD3220Us to the latest MacBook Pro with just a single cable. And because it supports USB Power Delivery up to 85W, that same cable will simultaneously charge the laptop.

BenQ is keen to stress the PD3220U’s visual performance, too. While the monitor has a top brightness of 350 nits, it’s able to handle HDR10 content. It also offers 100% sRGB/Rec. 709 and 95% P3 color gamut coverages, 178-degree viewing angles, and 5ms (gray-to-gray) response time. Also, the PD3220U is certified by CalMAN and comes factory calibrated out of the box.

The PD3220U has other neat touches that I don’t really see on other monitors, such as presets based on use cases. For example, there’s a CAD/CAM mode that ups the contrast for lines and shapes; an Animation mode that lightens darker parts of an image to surface more details; and a Darkroom mode that adjusts brightness and contrast so that images appear clearer and sharper in the darkroom environment. There’s also a DualView mode, so you can, say, apply the sRGB mode on the left side of the screen but use CAD/CAM mode on the right. Heck, there's even a built-in KVM feature that lets you switch USB and video signals of two different computers.

Remember I said that the PD3220U is designed for MacBook users? On the PD3220U, BenQ has gone the extra mile to create an M-Book mode that attempts to replicate the MacBook Pro’s P3 colors. This is certainly a commendable effort, but based on what I saw, the end result, while close, wasn’t a perfect match. For one, there’s already a difference in panel treatment: MacBooks and MacBook Pros all come with a glossy screen, but the PD3220U has an anti-glare matte finish. For pros striving for the most accurate colors, a proper hardware calibration is still the way to go.

My only other minor gripe is that switching between the various modes via the OSD can be a frustrating affair because BenQ has placed the PD3220U’s navigation buttons and joystick on the back of the monitor. Thankfully, you do get this hotkey puck that has three shortcut keys for you to map your favorite settings. The puck also has a rotating dial, which you can use for adjusting brightness, contrast, or volume.

The PD3220U is priced at S$2,099 and will go on sale in Q2 2019 on the BenQ Official Lazada Store.

The monitor comes with a 4-port USB hub. One of the three Type-A ports and the one USB 3.1/Type-C port are placed on the side for easy access.

The hotkey puck lets you map three frequently used monitor settings to it so that you don't have to fiddle with the buttons on the back of the monitor like a drunk.

The power and OSD navigation buttons are found on the back of the monitor.