BenQ's MOBIUZ EX3210U 4K monitor might be one of the best I've used, period, though I feel that statement should come with some major caveats. For a 4K 144hz monitor, it's a beast, providing pretty crisp and clear visuals that are smooth as silk, provided the GPU powering it all is up to the task. Boasting 600 nits of HDR brightness, the pitch is a high refresh, HDR monitor that can push the pixel count. But for $1099.99, is it worth it in the end?
First Thoughts And Unboxing
One of the aspects of any giant piece of tech kit is how it's boxed and whether set up is going to be simple. Thankfully, the BenQ MOBIUZ EX3210U is one of the better packaged monitors I've unboxed. With the top flipping open exposing the IPS panel underneath snugly packed with styrofoam, lifting it out was simple. Attaching the V stand to the monitor was also rather simple: just click it into place and you're ready to go.
If you're not looking to use the attached stand, thankfully the EX3210U is VESA compatible, reducing the already small footprint on the desk compared to other 32" monitors I've used in the past.
The monitor itself is odd in terms of how it looks, but I rather like it personally. The back is a silvery-white shell that sports four, rather useless LED lights for some gaming RGB goodness. Th front of the display, though, is a dark black bezel hosting the panel. Along the side you can see the seams of these two worlds colliding clearly, and for some it might seem an eyesore, but as someone who is predominantly staring at the front and not the side of the monitor, it doesn't bother me.
Thankfully, too, because the front of the monitor is a joy to stare at for long periods. The 32"-inch screen has always felt like a sweet spot for flat panel displays for me. It sits in an almost Goldilocks zone: not too big where I have to strain my head to see the whole thing, yet not too small to make the details of the 4K pixel count seem muddled.
The IPS panel here is a nice touch thanks to its heightened color accuracy compared to TN or VA panels. And this is key since we're talking a HDR experience where colors can look washed out and inaccurate if the right tech isn't being utilized.
Under the panel is a long, built-in speaker that runs the width of the display. The speaker is touted as one of the key features of the monitor, yet it's really nothing to call home about, which is surprising considering how much I enjoyed the same speakers on the EX3410R MOBIUZ curved ultrawide we reviewed last week. I think there is something to be said of the curved monitor enveloping you versus the sound just coming at your straight.
The bass feels missing, and the highs are a bit muddled, but if you're buying a display like this for its speaker design, you're buying this for the wrong reason. They are still an example of the best speakers I've experienced on a monitor, and I do appreciate the different soundscapes they have programmed into the monitor (I preferred the Pop/Live mode by default). It's one of those extras I'm happy to have and never really use versus needing them and not having them, I guess.
The same can't be said for the built-in microphone. I can't imagine why a product targeted at gamers who are likely using USB-powered mics or headsets (or even the occasional audio mixer) would need a built-in mic on the display. Not really better than a webcam microphone, BenQ says the MOBIUZ EX3210U mic uses AI to filter out background noise, and in my testing it's passable. But I just don't understand why it's here, especially when you consider it's adding to the cost of the already expensive panel, and again considering the target demographic.
The rear I/O includes two HDMI 2.1 ports, which is such a nice touch for those using this monitor with a console and seeking to take advantage of the Variable Refresh Rate on offer (the MOBIUZ is equipped with FreeSync Pro). It also includes a DisplayPort 1.4, USB Type-b and 4 USB 3.0 slots. The monitor also comes with a handy remote that lets you tweak onboard settings on the fly without having to fumble with buttons under the bezel. It's such a crucial addition that I want every monitor nowadays to come with one.
MOBIUZ EX3210U Game Testing
The most important aspect of the BenQ MOBIUZ EX3210U monitor, though, is how it performs. It's been a while since I've used a straight 16:9 4K monitor, so when setting it up initially I was both taken aback by the aspect ratio (I miss the 21:9 space I had!) but then overjoyed by seeing the raw pixel count again. Everything on the BenQ monitor is crisp and clear: from reading websites and word processing to watching movies and gaming. The 144hz display here adds so much to the table as well. Being able to enjoy high-resolution titles at high framerates is such a powerful and transformative pairing in games - assuming you have the power to push those visuals and performance.
Jumping into titles like Final Fantasy VII REMAKE Intergrade, the early moments of the RPG that see Cloud and gang attack the initial reactor come to life makes me really question why I'd ever want to play this on my Steam Deck. While SDR content can look flat on other monitors, the EX3210U's extremely generous color gamut makes these colors pop. Throw in the incredibly well-tuned DisplayHDRi mode built into the monitor and the emulated HDR brings out richer detail than ever.
I recommend the DisplayHDRi mode over the CinemaHDRi or GameHDRi mode as it looks the most natural out of all the built-in modes on the monitor. These HDRi modes are standard on the MOBIUZ line of monitors, and of the lower nit varieties, it makes a huge difference. For games that don't natively support HDR, this was a fantastic way to get HDR-esque visuals when they aren't available otherwise. It's an example of an extra feature that is nothing but a value add and makes the monitor stand out against some of the competition.
However, the MOBIUZ EX3210U is a 600 nit monitor, and that extra brightness makes using the actual HDR features much more compelling. Sure, you'll need to tweak your Windows settings because let's face it - Windows HDR is abysmal when just toggling it - but once you have the sweet spot, the colors on the EX3210U pop.
The 600 nit edge-lit dimming backlight helps to keep colors bright and vibrant without crushing the blacks too bad. The HDR quality on the monitor is superb, making it well worth the performance hit in games that support the feature. The vibrancy in Final Fantasy VII REMAKE Intergrade rivaled that of my 65"in 4K TV, seeing the wispy green of Mako floating around the reactor pop with Midgard's dark, industrial backdrop.
The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle also looked fantastic on the monitor, the extra pixels combined with the wider color gamut bringing out details I missed before in the MMO. The stitching on my character's armor that was muddled in shadow before came out clearly thanks to the improved color-scape and higher pixel count that is making me wonder how I'm going back to 1440p after this.
Motion on the MOBIUZ EX3210U is as smooth as silk thanks to the powerful RTX 3080 Ti powering my rig. 144hz adds so much to the table in terms of making games feel responsive and snappy, especially titles like PlayerUnkown's Battlegrounds or even in the fast-paced ARPG combat of V Rising. The onboard display of the monitor also include features blur reduction and BenQ's light tuning technology that are such as great addition to ensuring the best - and most stable - image quality in motion. And the MOBIUZ EX3210U crucially lets you use blur reduction and the built in FreeSync Pro together, meaning you're getting clean images in motion without having to deal with screen tearing.
BenQ MOBIUZ EX3210U 4K Monitor Review Conclusion
So what does this all mean? BenQ have created an incredible 4K monitor that excels at many of the boxes gamers are ticking when looking for a top-of-the-line piece of kit. It can handle HDR like a champ, the high refresh rate help to create smooth, responsive experiences in any game you display on the screen. Console fans will be happy when plugging in a PS5 or Xbox Series X thanks to the dual HDMI 2.1 full bandwidth ports.
The problem we run into is with the cost. At $1099.99, this is not a cheap monitor by a longshot. In fact, the over a thousand price guarantees many consumers won't even look this way, instead opting to buy either a lesser quality 4K PC monitor, or even looking at a comparably sized TV to suit their needs.
Compared to the competition, this monitor is priced above the majority of mainstream 4K 144hz panel monitors on the market. Does it do enough to justify the extra cost? I'm not entirely sure, personally. Some of the features, such as the built-in microphone I can't imagine anyone using if you're looking for a gaming monitor, could be left out entirely, bringing the cost down some.
And while I think the speakers are a good addition to have, I do wonder how much they add to the cost as well. Could we see this same panel minus the speaker bar to bring a more budget-friendly option to the table at some point?
Yet I can't deny the feature set of the monitor and what it adds to the value proposition. Emulated HDR modes give a ton of flexibility over SDR content, and the native HDR performs on par with even my 600 nit Hisense television (which isn't a bad HDR experience in its own right). The small footprint of the monitor on my desk means I have more room for items like my BEACN audio mixer or Razer Leviathan V2 soundbar.
To me, the most compelling aspect of the BenQ MOBIUZ is its color gamut and accuracy. I've always adored BenQ panels for this accuracy, some of my older monitors are artist-focused BenQ IPS panels specifically for the heightened accuracy here. Getting that clarity in a high performing 4K panel is incredibly welcome.
At the end of the day, the BenQ MOBIUZ EX3210U is a great monitor that feels a bit bloated by some of its extras on offer. If you're looking for a stellar panel that brings some best-in-class clarity and performance, coupled with great HDR, the MOBIUZ is a good option, especially if you can find it on a deal. This is one of those monitors that, while on paper it's hard not to recommend, I would wait for a deal (which is happening right now Amazon). As more monitors release and start to take the spot of current monitors on the market, you could feasibly see the price of the MOBIUZ EX3210U drop down the road.
Either way, the Ben Q MOBIUZ EX3210U is a fantastic choice regardless of when you buy. The color accuracy coupled with stellar HDR performance makes this a compelling choice in its class all its own, but when combined with the resolution, refresh rate and other added features, it makes it one of the better monitors out there you can grab to power your games for years to come.
Full Disclosure: A product sample was provided on loan by BenQ for the purposes of this review.