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  • Soon Kai Hong

BenQ EW3880R Ultrawide Monitor Review: 37.5" Of Visual & Audio Goodness

Hey guys! So we’re here in the studio yet again and this time, we’ve got something really massive to talk about. Now hopefully by the time this video is up, you guys would’ve seen this behemoth of a PC behind me, the Cleopatra from Kingdom here in Singapore. But that’s not what we’re talking about today. Instead, it’s this, right beside me. The BenQ EW3880R. Let’s talk about this.

This is an ultrawide monitor and thus you’re getting a 21 by 9 aspect ratio display as opposed to the traditional and much more common 16 by 9. I’m not going to dive in and talk about the differences, pros and cons between 16 by 9 and 21 by 9. You’ll find loads of those online. Though if you would like us to cover this topic, feel free to let us know in the comments. But yes, for a start, just know that this is a wider aspect ratio which directly translates to physical size. So if you’re looking at getting this monitor, definitely do take into consideration the sheer size of this behemoth.

In any case, let’s talk more about this monitor and let’s start off with the design.

Honestly, it’s really simple and minimalistic. From afar, it just looks like a really standard monitor that wouldn’t look out of place in an office. It’s black for the most part, except the bottom bezel and the pretty heavy duty stand which has that same bronze like finish for the y-wing structure. Overall, it’s really solidly built but make no mistake, it weighs in at about 13 kilograms or roughly 29 lbs (28.7lbs) with the stand, or just under 10 kilograms (9.8kg) or about 22lbs (21.6lbs) without the stand. So heavy in fact that attaching the stand to the monitor does require you to use 4 screws, unlike most other monitors which would have a far simpler latch mechanism

In any case, it’s a simple and minimalistic design and you would only really know it’s a BenQ monitor from the little logo right at the corner. Personally I do quite like it and the small cutout on the stand itself helps with cable management, which is neat.

In terms of ports, you’ll get two HDMI 2.0, a single DisplayPort 1.4, a USB-C which supports 60w charging and two additional standard USB 3.0 ports downstream.

But now let’s talk about the display itself, that huge ultrawide panel. It’s 37.5-inches, IPS, 2300R curve, 3,840 x 1,600 resolution running at 60Hz. A typical brightness of 230 nits with a max brightness of 300 nits. 95% P3 color coverage with 10-bit and HDR10 support. This display is fantastic, really, and perhaps especially true if you’re in the creative side of the industry, or even if you simply enjoy a really good IPS display, This ticks many boxes, which of course, includes that ultrawide experience. General usage for things like documents or web browsing, it was simply great. Multi-tasking is really nice especially if you’ve used an ultrawide monitor before and not to mention this is pretty high resolution and you actually have plenty of physical space to work around. The best use of this monitor however is probably entertainment, which isn’t too surprising considering the EW3880R is supposed to be the flagship model for BenQ entertainment series of monitors.

Watching videos on YouTube, Netflix, tuning in to game streams, competitions, so on and so forth. This is where it excels and it truly is pretty awesome. Now it goes without saying that most of the content you’ll be watching would likely only be available in standard 16 by 9. That means you’ll get pillarboxing. This is where you might find things to be a little distracting, or not, especially if you’re more sensitive to backlight bleed. Thankfully on our review unit, that was minimal.

But if you do get a film that’s properly shot in cinematic widescreen, it’ll fill up the entire display. At that point, it truly is quite the experience and you will certainly be making full use of this monitor. In fact, BenQ couples a few of their features into this monitor to really push the use case. BenQ’s own HDRi technology is included with this monitor and you can toggle through the various modes via the button on the bottom right corner. Utilizing the ambient light sensor, it’ll automatically sense the surrounding light and adjust the brightness of the panel to increase the dynamic range, to provide a better HDR experience.

However this is also where you should be skeptical, because this monitor is not certified for anything higher than HDR10, which isn’t that surprising considering the max brightness is only about 300 nits. So this is a HDR experience provided by BenQ to achieve as close a semblance to a panel that can actually output proper HDR. Now is it great? It depends. But is it anywhere near a proper HDR certified display like HDR1000 or HDR600? Definitely not. The closest it can get to would be HDR400, but well, HDR400 isn’t that fantastic either, so in all regards, it’s all right.

But now let’s talk about the other half of what makes a movie enjoyable. Audio. This monitor has a 2.1ch treVolo speakers built right in. Yes you heard it right. 2.1ch. Which means there’s a subwoofer, and to get straight to the point, the audio quality and experience right out of this monitor was definitely a really pleasant surprise.

The 2.1ch speaker system combines two 3 watt speakers and a 8 watt subwoofer, totalling 14 watts of power.

That might not sound like much, but if you’re ever had the chance to try it out at a store or something, you might be surprised. Especially for speakers that’s built into a monitor no less. Clarity of the audio is great, you won’t have issues hearing vocals. But yet there’s also a substantial amount of thumpy mids and bass thanks to that 8 watt subwoofer. Of course I wouldn’t say that it is rumbling, but for a monitor, to actually be able to feel the thump and low roar of the F18 in Top Gun Maverick, or the various explosions and gunfire in a game like Halo Infinite, it is quite impressive, you’ve got to admit. It also gets plenty loud and has decent stereo separation, no less thanks to the physically larger display.

In short, it’s great and I daresay that if you’re planning to do a minimalist desk setup, you might not even need dedicated speakers. This is honestly good enough.

Lastly, let’s talk a little bit about gaming.

Despite the high resolution, it is actually a tad shy of 4K Ultra HD, which means it is actually easier to run games on this display compared to say a 27-inch 4K monitor. Needless to say, our rig right here is more than capable of handling the full resolution of this display at the highest possible settings no less. Everything looks great and despite the 4ms response time on this IPS panel, games still feel pretty fluid and there’s no signs of artifacts or ghosting. The only downside is the fact that you’re limited to just 60Hz. If you’re playing games like Genshin Impact, where 60 frames per second is the limit, the experience is totally fine, stellar even. But if you’re more into games like CS:GO or Apex Legends, where every high frame rate makes a difference, this will fall short.

To sum it all up.

We really do like the BenQ EW3880R. It is quite unique in a way, especially with the built-in subwoofer and what not. The IPS panel is fantastic and the colors are all on point, good enough to do actual creative work on. But ultimately, it comes down to price and what you're looking for in a monitor.

The BenQ EW3880R retails for 1,599 Singapore Dollars or 1,050 US Dollars (1049.99 USD).

That is quite a bit of cash, for a 60Hz monitor no less. For the same amount of money, you can choose to drop a little on resolution and opt for 34-inch high refresh rate ultrawide offerings, or if you can fork out a couple hundred more, you can opt for the same 37.5 or 38-inch ultrawide, but with Nano-IPS and high refresh rate no less. For both the other options however, you definitely do not get that 2.1ch speaker system.

So, pros and cons.

Personally, I would go for a 34-inch high refresh rate ultrawide. But if you’re looking for a larger display and a good sound system no less for that clean desk look, the BenQ EW3880R might be something you want to consider.

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