BenQ EW3880R monitor review: the perfect panel for ultrawide entertainment

The BenQ EW3880R has the picture and audio quality to shine

T3 Platinum Award
BenQ EW3880R
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The BenQ EW3880R monitor certainly isn't cheap, but you get a lot back in return: an excellent display, lots of pixels and screen space in an ultrawide aspect ratio, and an integrated 2.1 sound system that helps to present movies and other videos really well.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Plenty of screen space

  • +

    Packed with pixels

  • +

    Panel is bright and crisp

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    On the bulky side

  • -

    Not the best at gaming

  • -

    Rather ordinary design

The BenQ EW3880R monitor is worth investigating if you're looking for one of the best ultrawide monitors – a monitor that's really going to show off your movies, your games, and maybe even your spreadsheets across 37.8 inches of diagonal screen space.

If you're wondering whether the BenQ EW3880R monitor is the right choice for you, then this detailed review should give you all the answers you need: we're going to cover the picture quality, the available inputs, the integrated speakers, and plenty more besides.

Whether you're looking for the best ultrawide monitors, the best 4K monitors, the best gaming monitors or any other kind of display, there are new units appearing all the time, so make sure you do your research before picking a model and making a purchase.

BenQ EW3880R monitor review: design and setup

BenQ EW3880R

(Image credit: Future)

As you would expect considering its size, the BenQ EW3880R can be a bit tricky to set up – you can just about do it on your own, but you'll probably want someone else to help you clip the stand into the base, and then the monitor on to the stand. There are four screws to tighten the connection between stand and monitor, so you'll need a screwdriver as well. All the ports are around the back, facing down, and the on-screen display and other buttons sit behind the right-hand side of the monitor.

On the front we've got some reasonably thin bezels around the display itself, and there's a speaker grille on the bottom chin, with an HDRi button on it (of which more in a moment). The BenQ logo on the left-hand side of the grille is tastefully done, and we don't think anyone is going to find the design of the EW3880R ugly or off-putting, even if it is a bit bland (and that extends to the straightforward stand and base as well). Sometimes monitor design doesn't have to be flashy.

If you're wondering whether or not your desk has enough room to take the BenQ EW3880R, the dimensions of the monitor, the stand and the base assembled together are 896.3 mm x 580.1 mm x 294.4 mm (that's 35.29 inches x 22.84 inches x 11.59 inches) with the monitor as high as it will go. The net weight is 13 kilograms or 28.66 pounds, so it's not ideal if you want a display that you can quickly shift from desk to desk.

BenQ very nicely throws a USB-C cable and an HDMI cable into the box just in case you haven't already got them, together with the power cable, and it makes getting set up even easier and quicker. It's worth noting that there's a remote control included with the BenQ EW3880R monitor as well, underlining its credentials as a screen for entertainment – you're able to adjust the sound volume, change the display brightness, switch inputs and more without reaching for the on-board controls.

BenQ EW3880R monitor review: features and picture

BenQ EW3880R

(Image credit: Future)

With its 37.5-inch size, 3840 x 1600 pixel resolution and 300 nits of maximum brightness (with HDR on), the IPS LED BenQ EW3880R display is a pleasure to use whether you're typing out emails, watching something on Netflix, or dabbling in a bit of gaming. While the 60Hz refresh rate and 4ms grey-to-grey response times aren't anywhere near best in class for gamers, we didn't notice a huge problem in terms of ghosting or motion blur. In short, it's a really good all-rounder.

Bear in mind though that games and videos will need to support this ultrawide 21:9 aspect ratio, otherwise you'll get black boxes at the sides of the display (not a huge problem, but something to be aware of). A lot of movies get filmed in this format now, but when it comes to TV shows, not so much. We like the 2300R curvature, which seems just right to create that immersive effect for games and videos, and there's a decent amount of flexibility when it comes to tilting and rotating.

There is an integrated HDRi feature that gives you three HDR modes to pick from, with the i standing for intelligence – the idea is that the HDR automatically adjusts itself based on what you're using the screen for, and in our experience it works pretty well. In terms of ports there's a good selection too: two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4 port, one USB-C port, and two USB-A ports for connecting and charging other devices.

As for the sound, we always like to see speakers integrated into monitors for simplicity's sake – you can always add extra speakers if you want of course, and there's a 3.5mm headphone back available on the back too. We were impressed by the quality of the 2.1 speaker setup (two 3W stereo speakers and an 8W woofer): it's fine for watching movies and listening to music, and there's a richness, depth and fidelity here that can match a lot of desktop speakers.

BenQ EW3880R monitor review: price and verdict

BenQ EW3880R

(Image credit: Future)

While serious gamers and serious creative professionals will want to look elsewhere for their ultrawide monitor needs, the BenQ EW3880R manages to do well in just about every department, including the sound system. The inclusion of very decent integrated audio means that the unit is a bit more bulky than it might otherwise have been, but all things considered, that's a trade-off that we can live with.

The display panel is of course the most important part of every monitor, and the BenQ EW3880R scores highly in this department for sure. The 350 nits maximum brightness and 1000:1 contrast ratio ensure a picture that's vivid and clear, and when you factor in the high number of pixels, it really is a joy to look at – and when you're staring at a screen all day (and perhaps all night), that's what you need.

This is a monitor that impresses in other areas as well, from how simple it is to set up, to the number of different HDR modes you can switch between, to the variety of ports on offer, to the handy cable management slot built into the stand. It's fair to say it's on the expensive side (check the widgets on this page for the latest deals), but then you get a lot of monitor back in return.

Aside from the price, the only real downsides to talk about with the BenQ EW3880R are that it's not got quite the specs that power users or serious gamers are going to be looking for. However, for an all-purpose, ultrawide monitor, it's difficult to beat – especially when it comes to entertainment, thanks in part to the quality integrated sound system.

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.