BenQ PD3420Q review: Ultrawide monitor for creatives

Go ultrawide with this BenQ monitor for creatives [Review]


BenQ PD3420Q review★★★★☆
BenQ's ultrawide monitor has room for three apps side-by-side-by-side.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The BenQ PD3420Q is a ultrawide monitor designed to appeal to creative professionals with its atypical shape and color consistency with MacBooks.

The 34-inch screen has a 2K resolution and a 21:9 aspect ratio. And there are some nice additions, like a HotKey Puck and built-in KVM.

I tested the PD3420Q in my home office, exploring the advantages and drawbacks of the very wide screen.

BenQ PD3420Q review

Over the decades, I’ve seen a lot of monitors come and go, but nearly all of these have been 16:10 or 4:3. Whether they were connected to a desktop, laptop or tablet, I’ve generally stuck with the usual aspect ratios.

BenQ’s ultrawide PD3420Q took some adjustment, but it got me to try out arranging my on-screen applications in new ways. Some of these made me more productive.

Ultrawide monitor offers more room for apps

The advantage of an ultrawide monitor over the usual aspect ratios is you can run one application in 16:9 and still have plenty of space off to the side for another app. For example, you might set up Final Cut Pro and your email app to be open at the same time.

I’m a tech blogger so, for me, BenQ’s monitor offers plenty of room to keep a web browser and a writing app side by side. And I can take it up a notch: shrink those two and I can fit in Slack as well.

As noted, the BenQ PD3420Q offers a 34-inch display, which is a generous size. The monitor is so wide it takes up much of my desk — don’t plan to put it in a small space — but I love how much room it gives me to work. There’s no squinting to see small UI elements.

That said, this IPS LCD has a 2K resolution, or 3440 by 1440 pixels. If you’re used to 4K, the difference is noticeable.

Also, the monitor doesn’t offer portrait mode, but that really shouldn’t surprise you. It’s not practical on an ultrawide.

The refresh rate for the BenQ PD3420Q is 60Hz, which is fine for professional work. Anything faster is mostly for gamers, not creative pros, and this is not a gaming monitor.

A matte coating on the LCD is another nice touch, as it cuts down on reflections.

But the backlight tops out at 400 nits. That’s OK for a standard office, but might be a bit low if you work somewhere with a lot of natural light.

With all the pros and cons, the PD3420Q looked amazing in my home office.

An emphasis on color accuracy

BenQ PD3420Q HotKey Puck
You can easily switch between the PD3420Q’s color modes with the HotKey Puck.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

While the monitor certainly can be used with Windows, BenQ knows what operating system creative types prefer. That’s why it created M-Book mode. This makes the PD3420Q emulate the screen in a MacBook Pro. You can move images between the external monitor and Mac without the colors changing.

The screen was factory calibrated for color accuracy, and BenQ promises 98% P3, 100% sRGB and 100% Rec.709. It offers Delta E ≤ 3.

I’m a writer not a visual artist, but I’m on my computer most of every day and I won’t put up with poor color quality. For me, the PD3420Q meets my needs: allowing me to switch back and forth between it and a MacBook without the change being jarring.

Lots of ports and more goodies

BenQ PD3420Q ports
The BenQ monitor offers plenty of connective it’s options, and even has a built-in KVM switcher.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The BenQ PD3420Q comes with a HotKey Puck that lets you switch between color modes at the press of a button. Or you can use this for the built-in KVM.

That’s right, with Keyboard Video Mouse switching, connect these accessories to the monitor and use them with two different computers. Of course, for that to work, the monitor needs multiple video-input ports.

There’s two HDMI 2.0 ports and one DisplayPort 1.4. Mac users will almost certainly use the USB-C/Thunderbolt port — that’s what I did.

Of course, the USB-C port also charges a MacBook while it’s connected. It offers up to 65W.

And that’s just some of its ports. The PD3420Q also includes a built-in hub. And it has a headset jack.

Speaking of which, a pair of built-in 2.5W speakers provide adequate sound, but without much bass. You might want to plug in external speakers.

All this goes onto a stand that offers height and tilt adjustment. Because the screen is so large, the base is also hefty to make the monitor stable: 13.75 inches wide and 10 inches deep. That’s a lot of desk space, though you can rest items on the base, of course.

BenQ video

Watch a video created by BenQ to show off the monitor’s a capabilities:

BenQ PD3420Q final thoughts

You can’t survive these days unless you can multitask, or at least switch what you’re focusing on very quickly. BenQ’s ultrawide monitor gives plenty of screen real estate for opening applications side-by-side-by-side.

The same is true for dual-monitor setups, but this one screen doesn’t take as as much desktop space a two screens.


There’s a lot to like about PD3420Q, including the bonus features like KVM. But I couldn’t fall in love with it because I missed my 4K resolution screen too much.


The BenQ PD3420Q sells for $799.99.

Buy it from: BenQ

Buy it from: Amazon

BenQ provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.


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