In most respects, the definitive feature of an ultrawide monitor is the 21:9 aspect ratio. That horizontal stretch is what facilitates the benefits of adding a curved screen, as well as gives you the extra immersion that draws people to ultrawide displays. But even though ultrawide panels are being adopted faster than ever before, many software developers are still not prioritizing support for 21:9. That’s where the Philips 40BDM4037U comes in.
4K Without (All) the Price
This 40-inch beast is basically a small television, except it retains many of the advantageous properties of a monitor. It doesn’t have next-level gaming features like G-Sync or a 144 Hz refresh rate, but it does offer a native 3840 x 2160 resolution and 3000R screen curvature on an unparalleled screen size. The 99.98% sRBG color space has become somewhat average for monitors in this price range, but the 83.5% gamut coverage makes this monitor a strong pick for many people doing work in Photoshop.
In some regard, Philips monitors are like Dell monitors in that they aim to please mid-range consumers. Gaming nuts or industry professionals might not be fully satisfied with this display, but an everyday user will love it. That attitude and targeting is continually expressed with the lack of IO buttons on the front of the screen. This is a welcome change for most every-day users, who often find these buttons burdensome, confusing, or even the cause of ire as someone accidentally bumps into them, filling their screen with menus they then ineptly scramble to un-produce.
Unfortunately, you can’t keep all the features of an ultrawide and still retail 16:9 aspect ratio. If you’re watching movies on this, your content will be letter-boxed with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, just as it probably is on your current display. However, should generally be regarded as a trade-off for the native support that most applications and games have for 16:9. Think “average consumer”, when you’re thinking Philips. If you’re a serious competitive gamer, or if you’re all about watching movies, this probably isn’t the optimal display for you. But if you’re mixing work and play more evenly, it’ll be hard to do better.
Another black mark is the shockingly weak response time for a 4k display. For an amateur, this screen will look gorgeous, but to the trained eye, you’ll find issues with darker shades updating quickly enough. The result is an inky-looking trail in the wake of your view when you pan past dark objects. You can spot video overshoot and ghosting as well, though this is somewhat expected for a panel with these features in this price range.
The Take-Away Point
Since the Philips 40BDM4037U runs a 16:9 aspect ratio, it’s not truly an ultrawide monitor. But with a screen of this size, curvature, and resolution, it’s 75% of the way to being ultrawide by merit. What that means is you’ll enjoy full support from every type of application (since 16:9 is standard,) you’ll get all the productivity benefits of an ultrawide, and you’ll get the eye-care benefits of a curved display. In one word, that makes this monitor versatile. If you want a very large display but you don’t watch TV, this is probably the panel you’re looking for.
3840 x 2160 (4k) native resolution
60 Hz refresh rate
178°/178° viewing angle
10.7 billion display colors
300 cd/m2 brightness
20,000,000:1 contrast ratio
4ms response time
16:9 aspect ratio
3000R curvature radius
VGA, DP, HDMI-MHL 1.4/2.0, USB 3.0