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Philips 298P4 LCD monitor review: 29" ultra-wide display

If you thought that a 27” display was the last word in large-size monitors then think again. Philips has just introduced the 29” ultra-wide 298P4 IPS LCD panel with LED backlighting. However, it isn’t just the headline measurement that’s notable here, it’s the fact that it has a 21:9 aspect ratio making it look like something from a sci-fi movie. There’s certainly a lot of care gone into the build quality as well, starting with the robust stand that needs to be assembled then clipped to the back of the monitor itself. This has a particularly large footprint so you will need plenty of desk space for it. Once attached the monitor can swivel 65 degrees either way, tilt 20 degrees up or down and even slide up and down 15cm to adjust the height as well. Rather surprisingly, it can also rotate around into portrait orientation, but when the monitor is as narrow as this, it looks fairly strange. The panel itself is no light-weight either, making it one of the heaviest combinations we’ve seen recently at 8.46Kg. 

Around the back of the display is a large wedge that houses all the interfaces and power supply so that the lead simply plugs into the back of it.  There’s a batch of four USB 3.0 sockets on one side and then under the rear itself are the rest of the connections. Here you have a DVI-Dual Link, DisplayPort In and DisplayPort Out, two HDMI and a headphone socket. There are speakers built in but these are the typical low-powered units at 2W each.

So to the front then and the massively wide display. The panel runs almost to the edge with a thin, 2.5mm bevel around the outside – though the actual picture comes up 9mm short of the edge anyway – while at the bottom is a brushed-metal effect panel with a silver trim that flares out to include the Philips logo in the middle. Although it looks nice, perhaps for this price you might have expected metal and chrome rather than plastic. The on screen menu control buttons are underneath and are labelled on the front, but are pretty much unreadable so you need to learn what they are.

To the action then and the actual display itself. The first thing to note is that you will need a dual link DVI cable (supplied), DisplayPort or HDMI v1.4 cable to connect and crucially a graphics card capable of displaying the 2560x1080 resolution otherwise it will default to 1920x1080. What’s immediately obvious is how bright the monitor is set to by default. This is because it’s at 100% brightness and that is rated at a high 300cd/m2. Certainly with calibration to your working space this will come down because in average light it’s spectacularly bright. One for very bright offices then. This is also helped by the matte finish to the surface which minimises any reflections.

The width of the monitor is like having two regular ones side by side. It creates a very wide desktop area to run multiple applications.

The display itself uses Advanced High Performance IPS (AH-IPS) and white LED backlighting in combination with a default 6500K colour temperature that gives a really clean and crisp finish. Examining the display there’s a very slight tendency to darken in the corners, but this really is minimal. There’s also a slight amount of light leak on the top but again, you have to be really looking for this to actually notice it. Being IPS the viewing angles are excellent, which they certainly need to be with a display this wide. It’s actually like having a two monitor display, but without the extra mess and plastic in the middle.

On the brightness tests there’s differentiation all the way through the highlights, though on the shadows it’s less so, getting to around 93% before it all looks the same. The colours are certainly bright and fresh enough and cover 99% of the sRGB profile, though it’s a pity for this kind of display and price that wasn’t the full 100%. The contrast ratio is a standard 1000:1 but with dynamic enhancement this is 20,000,000:1 which benefits films and the like. That brings us to the response time which is rate at 14ms typical and 7ms using SmartResponse. While this isn’t really that important for still images, illustrations and photos, it is potentially a banana skin for anything moving around. In reality, action games and movies look perfectly fine with no ghosting or trails evident.

On the power consumption side it does start to run quite warm after a while and typically consumes around 48W, though that’s hardly excessive. This drops to 0.3W on standby.

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