A few weeks back, we reviewed the first Ultra High Definition 4K monitor here on FoS, the Samsung UD970 32”. While Samsung have proven to be one of the leaders in display tech, for TV, monitors and smartphones alike. Philips, though, haven’t been left behind when it comes to producing quality monitors, most of which include a host of added features above the good panels. The company also announced their 4K monitor at this year’s CES, the Philips Brilliance 4K UHD 28” (288P6LJEB).
Build and Design
The 288P resembles the same form factor much like many of Philips’ recent range of monitors. As with these monitors as well, the unit is both simplistic in design and yet still looks understatedly elegant. The frame has a matte black, plastic finish over most of the body, with a single-lined silver trim across the display panel. The stand has quite a lot more silver down the front of the neck, with the back of it, as well as the base, continuing the same matte black approach. The bezel around the panel measures 1.5cm at the top and sides, while the bottom, which also houses the touch-sensitive control unit, measures 3.1cm. The dimensions of the unit measures 659x573x273mm with the stand, and 659x395x49mm without. Compared to Samsung’s UD970 at 13.7KG heavy, the 288P6LJEB is rather light at a smidge over 8KG, albeit a full 5” in panel size difference.
As with the Philips 288P reviewed previously, the stand provides a few adjustability options for your liking. These options include swivel of 65° in either direction, tilt back by 20° and forward by 5°, in addition to the 150mm vertical adjustment, a mere few millimetres off the base, along with the capability of rotating 90° in either direction as well. Fitted beneath the frame are two down-firing, 3W speakers, which provide adequate sounds options, even when the volume is turned up. The only real downside of the speakers are the lack of deep base.
In terms of its connectivity options, the 298P4QJEB provides quite a few, all of which are located on the rear, including VGA, DVI, HDMI with MHL charging capabilities, and DisplayPort inputs. In addition, there are also two 3.5mm audio jacks, one as an input, and one as a headphone output. Still on the rear, there are a few charging ports on the right hand side, one USB 3.0 upstream port, two USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports.
Setting up the unit is fairly straight forward. There are just four screws used to attach the neck of the stand to the back of the frame, while the base is positioned into a slot and tightened to secure. The rest of the setup involves choosing your source cable, connecting it to your device and you’re all set. As for drivers for PC use, there aren’t any required in this case. The 288P also offers good support for PiP and PbP modes for additional viewing options across multiple sources. While this is just the basic plug-and-play setup option, more advanced users may take some time to setup overclocking or enhancing colours with a custom .icc profile, or colour calibration tool.
Display and Performance
The Philips Brilliance 4K has a lot to prove against the higher regarded Samsung UD970, which produced great results across almost all facets of its display output. Off the bat, the 288P looks sharp with a bold colours that are saturated nicely across the spectrum. More advanced testing reveals that the colours do perform as well, even under scrutiny. What the test do reveal, however, is that there are a few missing greys in the grey-scale tests, struggling only to display the greys toward the lighter and darker shades, although it must be added, would be extremely difficult to pick up with the naked eye when viewed amongst other colours in an image or video. It is suspected that the reason for the washed out greys lies in the TN (Twisted Nematic) display panel, compared to the IPS or PLS used on other UHD monitors. [TN panel tech is commonly used on LCD monitors over the past 10 years due to savings on manufacturing costs, while still providing good display]. Viewing angles are decent moving across the horizontal, but shows some dimming when viewed from the top and bottom moving across the 45º mark. This means that when viewing using portrait mode that side viewing will suffer greatly.
A few additional tests showcase that colours are generally accurate, the best for reds and blues, while greens are slightly off the mark when using the CIE coordinates. Using the default pixel response setting (at 5ms) performance is satisfactory. Pushing this up to 1ms using the SmartResponse overdrive feature on the monitor produces similar results, which means that there is very little lag, even on higher response rates. This is good for gamers who would not appreciate any sort of response lag from their monitor. There is, however, just a small suggestion of blurring on heavier movement scenes, but still no significant lag.
A head-to-head comparison between the Philips Brilliance 4K UHD 28” (288P6LJEB) and Samsung UD970 32” UHD (U32D970Q) will see a clear winner in the latter. The deciding factor, however, may not lie totally with the performance in terms of colour, sharpness and response, but rather that of price in the South African market. The Philips wins this battle by quite some margin, with buyers being able to buy three units of the 288P6LJEB compared to the U32D970Q with change for a really good graphics card, at prices of R9,299 and R29,999, respectively.
In short, while Philips have made a good attempt to produce a worthwhile UHD monitor, it is clear that they erred on the side of caution in the market choosing affordability rather than outright performance. And that’s not a bad things when considering the soaring prices of tech in our local market these days. The Philips Brilliance 4K UHD 28” fits the build of a mid-range UHD monitor that delivers where it counts.