Philips BDM4065UC review: This 40in 4K monitor is a winner

At 40 inches on the screen diagonal, the Philips BDM4065UC is the largest panel we’ve ever seen that’s sold as a PC monitor – displays of this size are more commonly labelled a television. But the Philips is a dumb display with no TV tuner, and instead offers simple direct video inputs from the usual roster of DisplayPort, HDMI and even VGA D-Sub ports. See all display reviews.

Philips BDM4065UC review: Build and design

The design follows that of many modern televisions with a vanishingly small bezel around the panel, gloss black and just 12 mm thick on all edges. This means the image on the screen dominates rather than any added styling of the cabinet, with just a small angled chin in the lower centre of the frame that shows the Philips name badge. A tiny white LED glows when the screen is on, and flashes on and off when in standby mode.

A low metal stand is included that raises the panel just 75 mm from the desk, but with no scope for height adjustment, rotation or even backward tilt. Fortunately a heavy-duty 200 mm VESA mount can be screwed to the back to customise its siting if you should want to use the display as a PC monitor with more ergonomic positioning. Given its huge size though, we can also see the BDM4065UC being used as television or film screen in PC-based home-cinema systems. Or given how many people now rely on satellite or cable to watch all their TV, it could live in the lounge with the help of just a set-top box.

Inputs are ranged on the left down the side of a protruding panel box on the back, providing a choice of one each of regular and Mini DisplayPort, two HDMI and VGA inputs. Both DisplayPort inputs are to v1.2 specification, while the HDMI options comprise standard and MHL versions, both full size and specified to v2.0 for optimum 60 Hz refresh rate at full native 3840 x 2160-pixel resolution. Also see: Best displays 2015.

A USB 3.0 hub has four Type A USB 3.0 outputs, these mounted facing backwards rather than to the side.

The panel itself is unusual among other PC monitors, made for by Innolux for TP Vision, a joint venture of Philips and AOC’s parent company TPV. It’s based on vertical alignment (VA) technology that’s more typically found in televisions today. This technology can offer excellent contrast through good reproduction of deep blacks, and a decent colour gamut that outstrips that of most TN panels. There is a semi-gloss finish to the panel which means it’s part mirror and therefore won’t be suited to those that find it difficult to work in front of their own reflection.

Philips BDM4065UC review: Control

To setup and adjust the BDM4065UC there is a single four-axis thumbstick, found by reaching under the right bottom corner. Nudging this to the right (as viewed from the front) brings up the on-screen menu; downwards to quickly change inputs; to the left to change SmartImage mode from various presets; and upwards for assorted picture-in-picture modes. You can set picture-by-picture too, for four full-HD feeds into the display, one in each corner.

Philips BDM4065UC review: Performance

In terms of colour gamut, the VA panel proved able to nearly cover the sRGB colour space, just slipping a little in the blue corner of the chromaticity chart but actually extending further than required in the green/yellow corner. As well as 99 percent sRGB it also measured with 75 percent Adobe RGB, in line with the IPS monitors in this group.

Where the VA panel really excels, both in measured results and simple subjective evaluation, is in its outstanding contrast ratio. This means you can expect stellar whites and inky blacks, creating a lifelike picture that’s closer to reality.

But with black level figures that tend to stay extremely close to zero it’s difficult to get accurate and meaningful ratio figures. However we measured more than 12,000:1 contrast ratio at 100 and 75 percent nominal brightness, and 70,000:1 at a 50 percent setting. Also see: Best budget LCD displays 2015.

Maximum brightness is a little down on other monitors, but the 257 cd/m^2 peak output recorded in the contrast-ratio test will be fine for all but the most overlit of indoor rooms.

Colour accuracy was also fine, with an average Delta E of 1.5. Where the BDM4065UC did fall down though was in its inconsistency in brightness levels across its large panel.

As measured by the colorimeter, at full brightness luminance varied up to 35 percent, the four corners showing obvious darkening to the eye. At nominal 67 percent brightness setting, we measured the four corners at 18, 24, 26 and 38 percent darker than the reference quadrant on the panel’s left middle. And at the 50 percent brightness setting, the corners were up to 39 percent darker.

Judged by eye, there was clear vignetting obvious on this patchy panel, with dark shadowy corners all too apparent when using a solid colour PC desktop wallpaper. Once seen in this way, it’s difficult to ‘unsee’ the problem with even patterned desktops or moving video images. After consulting with Philips/AOC we were told this was not typical, and a second sample was much better in this respect. Discerning users would still notice some unevenness but for video/film viewing it is far easier to ignore.

We also noticed, particularly at lower screen brightness settings, the flickering light that comes from this display. It uses pulse-width modulation (PWM) to adjust brightness, a budget trick that introduces flicker that’s clearly visible to more sensitive eyes.

Power consumption was a relatively high 74 W at full brightness, falling slightly to 51 W at the standard 120 cd/m^2 level. This is higher than other monitors on test, but given the huge panel size it is not a significant increase in power draw.

Philips BDM4065UC: Specs

  • 40in, VA, 3840x2160, 110ppi, TP Vision TPT400LA-K1QS1.N Rev: SC1A, 8-bit, Semi-gloss, 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x Mini DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x MHL-HDMI, VGA D-Sub, Stereo with 7W amplifier, Single joystick, 4x USB 3.0, Fixed Stand, 12mm bezel width, VESA 200mm, Internal, IEC C13 inlet PSU, 904x512x88mm, 8.5kg, 99% colour gamut sRGB, 75% colour gamut Adobe, 12,570:1 contrast ratio, max power consumption: 74W (218cd/m2), power consumption at 120cd/m2: 51W
  • 40in, VA, 3840x2160, 110ppi, TP Vision TPT400LA-K1QS1.N Rev: SC1A, 8-bit, Semi-gloss, 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x Mini DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x MHL-HDMI, VGA D-Sub, Stereo with 7W amplifier, Single joystick, 4x USB 3.0, Fixed Stand, 12mm bezel width, VESA 200mm, Internal, IEC C13 inlet PSU, 904x512x88mm, 8.5kg, 99% colour gamut sRGB, 75% colour gamut Adobe, 12,570:1 contrast ratio, max power consumption: 74W (218cd/m2), power consumption at 120cd/m2: 51W

OUR VERDICT

The huge Philips BDM4065UC is a great display for anyone that needs a very large desktop monitor, or perhaps to serve as a screen in a PC home-cinema system. It has outstanding contrast ratio and good colour accuracy, a winner in almost every way although some users may find the uneven lighting and subtle flicker a little off-putting.

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