Aimed squarely at professional users, this 27in "Quad HD" display from Philips also incorporates many features which will appeal to home users interested in the graphic arts or photography. See all display reviews.
Featuring a high-quality PLS display panel with a 2560x1440 pixel resolution, the 272P4 offers consistent colour with wide viewing angles and nearly 78 percent more pixels than a standard HD monitor. See also: Group test: what's the best display?
This places it in the same league as Apple's 27in Thunderbolt display, although its dull grey plastic body certainly won't be challenging the latter in any style or built-quality contests.
However, the 272P4 does have a few tricks up its sleeve, such as a fully height-adjustable stand which also pivots 90degrees to allow you to work in landscape mode. It incorporates a three-port USB 3.0 hub; a raft of inputs, including a pair of HDMI connectors; DVI Dual-Link and DisplayPort with the ability to “daisy-chain” to a second display without the need for a second cable trailing to your PC. You can also connect more than one port at a time for picture-in-picture and side-by-side multi-input display. The screen has a matt anti-glare coating which we fund much easier to work with than the glossy alternatives which can cause distracting reflections.
Above the screen sits an integrated 2Mp webcam with an integral microphone and, for the paranoid, an LED indicator so you'll know when it's looking at you.
At the bottom of the screen, a "people sensor" detects when you are present in front of the monitor, allowing it to dim when you move away from your desk, in order to save power. The bezel also incorporates a hidden pair of stereo speakers for multimedia use.
The monitor comes with Philips's SmartControl Premium software which enables you to configure and calibrate the display directly from your Windows desktop without having to use the fiddle on-screen menus. But, if you'd rather do it the old way, you can access them via a row of invisible touch sensitive controls - with barely visible legends printed in mid-grey on a dark-grey background. It's quite easy to accidentally touch the wrong button, or not to find the right touch point at all. A secondary rocker-type power switch is located behind the right-hand side of the monitor. If you fail to notice it, you may find yourself stuck for some time trying to turn on the monitor from the front.
Philips 272P4 review: Performance
The PLS (Plane-to-Line Switching) technology used in the 272P4 is Samsung's take on IPS (In-plane switching) technology which features in most of the high-quality displays currently available. It provides wide 178 degree viewing angles and consistent colour which is borne out by our test results.
We recorded 99 percent coverage of sRGB and a maximum checkerboard contrast ratio of 530:1. Screen uniformity is also very good in terms of both colour and brightness, with an even response measured across the surface of the screen. A small amount of black-light bleed was visible at the very bottom of the screen, but only when displaying a black image in a relatively dimly-lit room. Overall colour accuracy was very good with most results in the 48-colour swatch test measuring well below 1DeltaE.
This is a bright display, which we tested at up to 264cd/m2 – a little shy of its rated 300cd/m2 brightness. Nevertheless, power consumption remained relatively low at 37W, reducing to 25W with the brightness lowered to standard 120cd/m2. This is without enabling any of the power-saving features of the monitor, which will reduce this figure further still.
Overall, we are impressed with the Philips 272P4. While it's not exactly the best-looking display for home use, it's aimed more at professional applications and its feature set reflects this. We have not complaints about picture quality and its ergonomic features are first-class. There are less expensive 27in displays available with a similar level of image quality and pixel resolution, but much of the price of this display goes towards its extra features and adjustable stand.