27inch iMac vs 32inch BenQ BL3201PT

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27inch iMac vs 32inch BenQ BL3201PT

Taiwanese electronics firm BenQ kindly sent me this a couple of weeks ago — a 32inch ultra high definition monitor (their BL3201PT).

A bit of a coincidence as I know my 27inch iMac (2010), despite still being excellent, won’t last forever, and for portability I’d thought of a switch to a MacBook/monitor setup. So for the past week I’ve worked dual-screen to test the differences.

The iMac’s glass gives a lot more glare than BenQ’s matt finish. When the light in the room changes, I change the brightness to compensate, keeping it as low as possible without giving much reflection, but the benefit of BenQ’s anti-glare is obvious. That made me wonder if Apple’s newest screens differ from those of a few years back, so it was interesting to read the comments on this post about Apple causing excessive eye strain. New versions of the iMac and MacBook Pro are due any month. I’ll hold off until they’re out.

The iMac’s internal speakers give better sound. BenQ’s do the job but are a bit tinny in comparison. I’d probably buy externals if the BenQ was my only screen.

BenQ’s maximum resolution is 3840×2160. For the most part I have my mac at 1920×1080 to avoid constantly enlarging web pages, so BenQ’s maximum is more than enough for particularly intricate work, or making the most of 4K videos. 1920×1080 isn’t one of the seven resolution options on the BenQ, but it has 2560×1440 which doesn’t make things too small and isn’t far off.

For screen size, I’ve found 27inches to be more than enough for design work, but I’d quickly get used to 32, especially when two or three windows are open at once.

BenQ’s height-adjustable stand is appreciated. At its maximum height you can rotate the screen to a portrait orientation — unnecessary for me, but programmers and developers might like it for reducing scroll when coding.

There’s no webcam on the BenQ, and I’ll often use one for Skype and FaceTime, but if I go for a MacBook it’d just mean flipping that open instead.

This little wired remote makes it easy to change settings and colour modes, like switching from sRGB to “low blue light” with a click — the low blue uses less power and is much easier on the eyes when reading. You can preset buttons one, two, and three with your own configurations, too.

The BL3201PT is an excellent monitor, with the biggest plus over the iMac being the anti-glare. Full features and specs on the BenQ website, and more reviews on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

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