The humble desktop monitor has come a long way since the early days of huge CRT and even the chunky first generation LCD screens. Nowadays we can pick up a new monitor that is thinner than a Blu-Ray case, albeit those panels are expensive and few and far between but you get the idea. We use them for almost all of our viewing needs that can’t be handled by a smartphone or tablet, they have even replace most TV’s due to the reduced price and higher compatibility with computers and games consoles, with no resolution issues.
Back when LCD and plasma screens first hit the consumer market, the resolution was an overlooked specification to compensate for the novelty of owning such a futuristic piece of technology. That has changed in recent years and especially since the HD format was released and standardised. Everyone then moved to resolutions such as 1280 x 720, 1440 x 960 and the most famous 1920 x 1080. The 1080p format held the crown for many years, but now times have changed and 4K (2160p) is becoming the resolution of choice.
Today we have the simply massive Philips BDM4065UC monitor in for testing. I know I’ve already said massive, but this is MASSIVE. Yes there are screens that are bigger and they have been around for years, but having this much screen space with such a high resolution at relatively close range to your face just makes you feel small. This is one of the few monitors on the market to boast such as massive screen size with 4K capabilities and bundle it into a very attractive package thanks to the re-use of a chassis from a popular 40″ TV that Philips produce; I guess the line “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” was said during the production meeting.
Packaging and Features
The front of the box is very plain, focusing primarily on the logo, screen and key details regarding the monitor such as Ultra HD and Wide Viewing Angle.
The key details pointed out by Philips are Ultra HD panel of 3840×2160, VA LED panel allows for an almost 180° viewing angle, Built-in speakers which aren’t uncommon but this monitor packs twin 7W speakers and SmartConnect.
A Closer Look
The overall appearance of the monitor is striking and even more so in person by the sheer dominance of my desk. The chassis is well-built and felt extremely robust during the unboxing with no obvious flexing at all.
The back of the monitor is extremely plain with just the power connector, menu button and fast charging USB 3.0 ports visible.
Looking from the right you can then see the I/O ports. There are multiple display ports including 1x VGA, 2x HDMI, 1x miniDP and 1x full-size DisplayPort. Along with those are 1x headphone and 1x audio out jacks.
Inside the box is enough cables to re-wire a house. Okay that might be an exaggeration, but just look at all of these. HDMI Cable, DisplayPort Cable, VGA, 3.5mm audio cable, 3.5mm to 9 pin VGA and two power cables for EU and UK.
I don’t really know if you can call it an accessory, but the base comes separate and is stunning to look at, but it doesn’t look like there is any pivoting offered at this first glance.
The feet are a textured rubber which keeps the monitor stuck in place; they almost act like mini suction cups.
To join the base to the monitor is an extremely robust bracket with 8 screws.
Entering and navigating the menus is extremely easy with a thumb-stick style controller on the rear of the monitor. It took me quite a while to get used too, the actual operation was easy, but I just kept moving it in the opposite direction for some reason. There are no additional menu buttons, so carrying out some tasks such as closing the menu was slightly annoying. You would have to move in another direction, i.e. if you entered the menu by moving down, you would have to move left or right to close that menu as moving up or down would just navigate the menu. This also become annoying if you were in a setting such as brightness and wanted to close quickly; you would have to exit the brightness setting before carrying out the exiting procedure; This was time-consuming and massively annoying.
The menu is split up into four different sections, the main overall monitor settings, Audio Source, SmartImage and Multi View.
Each menu was a different direction of the movement stick.
Has the question crossed your mind as to why Philips has made a 40″ 4K monitor? Well, it started life as a 40″ TV and after some changes such as removing the TV tuner box; it ended up as a monitor. One MAJOR problem with this is the fact that there is no adjustment of the screen at all. It is between 85° and 90°, not ideal if you have this on a traditional table.
If you do end up using the 200×200 VESA mount, you could then find a mount with these functions and I believe this would be a much better idea than using the stand itself.
Testing & Methodology
For the bulk of the visual testing, we will be using the Datacolor Spyder 5 Elite. A great piece of hardware that sits on the face of the monitor to analyse multiple different aspects of the screen.
To power the monitor itself, we will be using our graphics card test bench with an NVIDIA GTX 980Ti graphics card.
- Motherboard – Gigabyte X99-Gaming G1 WiFi LGA 2011-3 Motherboard
- Processor – Intel Core i7 5820K at Stock 3.3GHz
- RAM – 16GB (4 X 4GB) Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4 2400MHz
- CPU Cooler – Thermaltake Water 3.0 with Gelid GC-Extreme
- Power Supply – BeQuiet Dark Power Pro 11 1200W
- Main Storage Drive – Crucial M550 512GB
- Chassis – Lian Li T80 Test Bench
- Operating System – Windows 8.1 Pro 64 Bit
- Datacolor Spyder 5 Elite bundled software
- Colour Gamut
- Brightness levels
- Contrast Ratios
- Colour uniformity
- Brightness Uniformity
- Colour Accuracy
Testing monitors can be very subjective to personal tastes, so a written analysis is not the best way to convey the results. By using the Spyder 5 Elite, the bundled software allows us to use visual graphs to analyse the results. The tests will be taken at two key settings, calibrated and uncalibrated. Uncalibrated is the ‘out-of-the-box’ scenario, which is typically what most users tend to use as entering the screen settings can seem rather daunting. Calibrated tests will be taken after finding the optimal settings through tests with the Spyder 5 Elite. These are, in testing scenarios, the best possible settings for the monitor and for the user; however you might find a different setting to be better for you.
Along with tested figures, I will also run a movie and a game that I can give a personal opinion on the display from an end-user perspective. I will judge the monitor on the following:
- Sound (if built in speakers)
Datacolor Spyder 5 Elite Testing
Using the Datacolor Spyder 5 Elite, we are able to consistently test the colour gamut, accuracy and uniformity, brightness levels and uniformity and contrast ratios.
From the testing, it is obvious that the stock colours are out of sync by a fairly large margin. Once the software has been calibrated to the best possible settings, the results are more impressive.
When testing the accuracy of the colours, Delta-E is the overall score. With a Delta-E of 2.6 when uncalibrated, the accuracy is actually pretty good for a factory setting. However, once calibrated, Delta-E falls to 1.4 which is ideal for image editing.
Colour uniformity is simple, you want the colours displayed across the entire screen to be the same. However, variations in pixels, connection qualities and image settings can vary the result massively. Even though both look remarkably similar, when calibrated, the screen performs very well with a lower average Delta-E.
Brightness is generally ignored to an extent. The rated brightness on this monitor is 300 cd/m2; however, in both calibrated and uncalibrated states the brightness does not exceed 210. It’s common for the maximum brightness rating to over the attainable, but >90 cd/m2 starts to raise eyebrows.
Much like colour uniformity, brightness is ideal when it is the same across the entire screen. Also like the colour accuracy, this panel struggles to maintain a close average, but is vastly improved once calibrated.
End User Testing
Testing by the end user is extremely subjective to personal tastes and attributes. Through this testing, I will be as unbiased as possible towards the monitor itself in regards to panel type and branding and offer my experience with the actual display itself.
I first set up a YouTube video with qualities ranging from 720p to 2160p; finally settling on this GoPro 4K video.
This video offers a great variety of colours and scenery to really put the visual aspects of this monitor to the test. In the factory stock settings with no calibrations, the colours were easily identifiable and during the ice scenes, the whites were superbly crisp. However, during scenes with more varying colour, the strength of the colours wasn’t as pleasing as it could be; they seemed almost washed out. When the calibrations of both monitor and software had been put in place, the entire video came to life with excellent differentiations between all of the colours, especially during the festival scenes with all of the different confetti and t-shirts. The blacks of this monitor are some of the best I’ve seen, the contrast between white and black is amazing.
One problem with a monitor of this size, however, is the screen brightness. It is Okay during a movie or game when you are a few foot away, but if you are working on this in a close proximity; the 4K resolution really makes you want to get up close. When you move in closer, the overall brightness of the screen is a tad overwhelming. You can turn the brightness down, but in the middle of the day that’s not ideal.
Now one thing I have noticed with this monitor, I am sat with my eyes directly at the centre of the screen and about 2½ – 3 foot away; the viewing angle isn’t as good as previously made out by Philips on the box. If I display a white background across the entire screen, the centre point is white, but the edges turn more of a grey and towards the corners is an even darker grey; the clock in the bottom right-hand corner is almost unreadable because of this and I have to move my head to clearly view it.
The brightness is accentuated through the camera, but you can clearly see the difference.
Now in the back of my mind this wasn’t that great of an issue due to the limitations of a flat screen display and uniform brightness across the entire screen, however, I moved the camera to directly head on with the top right corner and it proved that this particular monitor has poor brightness in the corners. This isn’t as perceivable through the naked eye and isn’t a fault, just something rather typical with large flat screen displays.
Generally speaking, built in speakers aren’t that good. They will do fine to tide you over for a week or two until you buy additional speakers with a subwoofer, but otherwise they’re poor. These sadly follow the same fate; the speakers are built into the bottom of the screen, so project sound relatively well thanks to the 3″ of clearance under the monitor; however, they are extremely focused on treble. You can hear every high point in a music video, but anything related to bass and you will be disappointed. Although, despite that they are very clear up to around 10 feet and the volume is great up to that point, with every word audibly clear and recognisable. I personally think if Philips offered either a sound bar or a small external subwoofer to sit within the base; this would make for a very good consumer sound set up.
For this test, I chose to run the benchmark tool for Grand Theft Auto V thanks to the diverse landscape, sounds and vehicles. What I am looking and listening for is picture immersion, picture clarity and sound clarity.
This was a hard call overall the experience was very good, however, there were some drawbacks. While the colours were vibrant in scenes such as the fair; every time the scene darkened for the night I could easily see a reflection of myself thanks to the almost glossy cover of the screen. That wouldn’t be an issue if you could completely darken a room or only play at night, but most users would require to use this monitor at all times of the day. The clarity was extremely good, sat at approximately 3 feet away I could still make out details throughout the test such as bolts on the plane or even the tread pattern on some of the car wheels. Sat at that distance also gave great audio quality, hearing speech and high tone sound effects clearly; however, scenes that required a little bass fell short of my expectations such as the closing scene with the explosion, it wasn’t as believable as it could be.
The Philips BDM4065UC is currently available from OverclockersUK for the reasonable price of £599.99. In the US, stock availability is poor, but prices can be expected around $800. However, high demand is pushing prices as high at $1100 in some places.
When it comes to the looks of any monitor, the actual unit itself if rather bland and the only detail really is the logo and the base plate. It is the same story here, with an extended plate for the logo on a brushed metal effect lip and a nice shaped and contrasting silver base. Considering this has been converted almost directly from a TV, one redeeming feature has been kept; the thin bezel. It might not seem like much, but to gamers and high productivity workers, multi-monitor set-ups are becoming more and more common. With this thin bezel, there isn’t going to be much black between the monitors.
Looking towards actually using the monitor and it doesn’t really lend itself to being user-friendly. When you think of a typical monitor, you can twist it, tilt it and raise the height to your preferred needs; this monitor doesn’t do any of that. This is the only downfall of the monitor as a whole, but it is a big downfall. The only way to get around this is to purchase an additional monitor stand which is VESA 200 compatible and can also support the size of the monitor.; only then will you have the movement.
At least the software is more suited to the consumer, the menus feature all of the possible settings that you would require in a simple and easy to use layout. The navigation stick can be confusing to use at times, but the more time you spend with it, the less this will be an issue.
When calibrating the monitor with the Spyder and related software, I noticed the colour get extremely warm. This might not be ideal for perfect colour image editing, but the results are what are expected to be the best possible for the monitor itself. I’ll admit, it was a lot easier to use as the brightness wasn’t trying to burn my eyes out, but when typing it almost looks like you are working on orange paper. The results show that this monitor is capable of providing top quality figures and can handle a wide range of user customisation to suit all tastes.
When testing the performance of the monitor visually, it is a tale of two halves and it comes down to the uncalibrated and calibrated image settings. When it was uncalibrated, the images were very cool, but that meant the whites were a crisp white. When calibrated, the colours were a lot warmer. While this made for much more vibrant colours and an overall better viewing experience, the colours weren’t true and could prove problematic to anyone editing images or videos.
That being said when the monitor was calibrated it made for a much nicer viewing experience and the 4K resolution played a huge factor in watching videos and playing games. Now not every monitor in the world is aimed at gaming, there are users out there who work day in and day out on computers and some require a large and high resolution to maximise productivity. This monitor would be perfect for anyone who requires multiple windows open at once without the need for multiple screens, effectively you could open 4x 1920x1080p windows simultaneously at 20″ each; that’s a huge amount of space to work with.
- Huge productivity potential
- Vibrant colours
- Built-in speakers
- Massive panel
- Excellent detail reproduction
- Reasonable price (given size)
- Absolutely no user adjustment
- Poor US availability
- 4K still demands high price
“The Philips BDM4065UC 4K monitor is the perfect option for the workplace, offering crisp colours, high-efficiency and huge productivity! A welcome edition to the desk of anyone who demands huge amounts of screen space.”
Thank you to PHILIPS for providing this review sample.