- Good overall image quality
- Incredible contrast level
- Screen size and resolution ideally matched
- Nice design
- Plenty of connectivity
- Colour accuracy not as good as IPS displays
- Clunky OSD
- Slow response time
- 40-inch screen size
- 3840 x 2160 (4K) resolution
- VA LCD panel type
- 4000:1 contrast ratio
- 300nits max brightness
- 4xUSB 3.0 ports
- 2 x DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI inputs
- Manufacturer: Philips
- Review Price: £600.00/$900.00
WHAT IS THE PHILIPS BDM4037UW?
The Philips BDM4037UW is a massive 40-inch monitor with a whopping 3840 x 2160 (4K) resolution. Its LCD panel is also curved and mounted on a slender metal base, while its impressive 4000:1 contrast ratio should make it fantastic for watching video.
All told, it should be ideal for those seeking a stylish looking monitor that can provide a massive desktop workspace without having to resort to multiple screens, and also performs double duty as a respectable TV as well.
PHILIPS BDM4037UW – DESIGN AND FEATURES
Philips has some history when it comes to great looking monitors – I was also impressed by the BDM3490UC. The BDM4037UW continues this tradition: this enormous 40-inch panel is surprisingly slim and sits on an astonishingly slender metal stand.
The aluminium finish of the stand is continued round the impressively slim and low-profile bezel of the screen, while the rear has a nicely contrasting glossy white finish. Add in the gentle curve of the display and, altogether, it puts this display on an equal footing with many designer TVs, and far surpasses the majority of more mundane looking monitors.
The downside is you do miss out on some of the more practical extras that some monitors provide. In particular, you can’t adjust the position of the display in any way other than a bit of back-and-forth tilt.
Normally this is a key consideration as having height adjustment is of particular importance for minimising neck strain – you should raise the top of your monitor so that it’s level with your eyes. However, this display is so large already that its top edge will likely sit higher than most people’s eyes as it is.
Nonetheless, the lack of rotation and pivot in the display makes it a little less convenient to move around and plug cables in.
Otherwise this display wants for little. It boasts two DisplayPorts, an HDMI 1.4 and an HDMI 2.0, plus there’s a four-port USB 3.0 hub. All the connections are round the back and stick straight out. This means cable tidying is a trickier, but does make the sockets easier to see.
When it comes to the panel on this display, it offers an interesting selection of features. The VA LCD technology it uses is crucial in allowing it to offer a contrast ratio of 4000:1 – that’s four times what a typical IPS or TN panel offers. This makes the display potentially ideal for watching video, as having deep-looking blacks and other dark colours is ideal for the moody lighting used in many films.
On the flipside, you only get a maximum brightness of 300nits, which makes this display less suited to use in bright environments. Plus, even though Philips claims a fairly snappy 4ms response time, VA panels tend to be the slowest of all LCD panel types so twitchy PC gaming won’t be this display’s strong suit. Especially as the display lacks Freesync for silky smooth gameplay.
As befits its near-TV status, you do get built-in speakers on this monitor, but they’re rubbish. Tinny and with a low maximum volume, they might be better than those on the very cheapest TVs but you’ll want external speakers for satisfying sound.
PHILIPS BDM4037UW – OSD AND SETUP
The BDM4037UW arrives in two pieces, with the base detached from the monitor. It affixes via a single bolt that, somewhat concerningly, isn’t tethered so it could get lost quite easily. Otherwise, physical setup is a breeze. Just be careful you don’t let the base get near the edge of your desk; its slim profile means it will over balance even if only a tiny portion of the stand isn’t sat firmly on the desk.
As for setting up the screen’s picture, things weren’t helped by the little joystick on the back of the display that’s used to control the onscreen display (OSD) being damaged. This made navigating the menus more cumbersome than it should’ve been, but having experienced other joystick-controlled monitor OSDs, I’m sure under normal circumstances it does a fine job.
Otherwise, the system works well enough. The menus are reasonably well laid out and offer plenty of image adjustments. Particularly useful are the plentiful colour temperature options that quickly allow you to tweak the overall tone of the display.
There’s little in the way of extra features except for picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture modes. Normally these are niche extras, but on a display this size they’re of more use than usual. The former can work with two inputs while the latter can show two or four sources at once.
As for setting up Windows to work with such a massive screen and resolution, well this is where the BDM4037UW really comes into its own. So many 4K screens, or large monitors, either result in pixels that are too big and blocky-looking or too small that you need to use Windows scaling settings to make things readable.
Here, though, the balance is just right. You can use this display at its native resolution and enjoy every pixel in all its glory, without having to squint.
PHILIPS BDM4037UW – IMAGE QUALITY
Out of the box, this display largely offers good image quality. Its colour temperature is fairly accurate (6543K) so there’s no obvious colour cast to the image, contrast matches up to the claimed 4000:1 (3969:1) and gamma is 2.13 – close enough to the ideal of 2.2 that there’s no obvious darkness or lightness to the image.
The only figure that draws concern is the maximum brightness. At just 250nits, according to my measurements, it doesn’t provide much headroom for use in bright environments. In normal office use I don’t recommend more than 150nits anyway, but most monitors can offer at least 300nits just in case.
This display provides a full 99.9% of the sRGB colour space and 84.6% of Adobe RGB colour space, both of which are impressively high. However, the latter figure suggests this display has a slightly wider gamut than most displays, and this can be seen, with some colours looking just a touch oversaturated. Reds, in particular, can look a little radioactive.
It’s not a problem for most desktop work, gaming and watching video but for content creation where accurate colours are important, it makes this display a little less suited than top-quality IPS models.
This can be tweaked slightly through calibration but a post-calibration Adobe RGB coverage of 80.8% shows it’s still a touch higher than the 75% we’d normally expect of a standard-gamut monitor.
Another area where this display can’t quite match the best IPS panels is in viewing angles. There’s far less change in colours and contrast than you get with TN panels but, particularly when viewed from slightly higher than perpendicular, the image can start to look a little grey and washed out.
Where this display does impress, though, is in its uniformity. There’s an average change in brightness of just 2.5% as you move from the centre of the screen to its edges. That’s among the best Trusted has ever recorded, which, considering the size of the screen is quite a feat.
All this adds up to a display that’s excellent for general day-to-day computing and that is absolutely fantastic for watching video. The high contrast ratio and accurate colours really bring films to life.
As for gaming, it also looks great but the 60Hz refresh rate and relatively slow response time mean it’s certainly not ideal for competitive high-speed gaming. Input lag isn’t an issue, though, with us measuring an average of just 12.9ms. That’s far better than most TVs, so console gamers will be very happy indeed.
This relatively slow response time can also be seen when on the desktop, particularly as you move windows around – it can result in a slightly smeared, ghosting effect, but largely it’s not too distracting except when playing very fast-paced FPS games.
SHOULD I BUY THE PHILIPS BDM4037UW?
This is the sort of monitor that could so easily have been something of a gimmick – all headline-grabbing numbers and little practicality. However, the reality is quite different.
The massive screen size and 4K resolution combine to perfect effect, creating a huge display that’s daunting but still entirely practical to use.
Along with good overall image quality, this makes it ideal for those who just want as big a desktop workspace as possible and don’t want to compromise on image quality or on having multiple displays. Its colour reproduction isn’t quite accurate enough for professional designers and other creatives working with colour-critical apps, but it’s fine for everything else.
Add in that the high contrast makes this display fantastic for sitting back and watching video and you have quite the all-rounder.
The only obvious area where it’s less suited is gaming. It’s fine for more casual titles but competitive gamers will find its slow response time off-putting.
All this and you’re getting this massive screen for a relatively bargain price.
A bit of a surprise hit, this huge monitor is stylish, practical and does great doubly duty as a good size TV. All without breaking the bank.