The Philips BDM4065UC certainly brings some unique offerings to the table, it is the first 4K monitor to come in a 40” size let alone at an affordable price. There are of course compromises to reach this price point and the biggest of which is the use of a VA panel instead of a more desirable IPS based panel.
On the surface, this Philips monitor has a simplistic design utilising a thin, gloss plastic bezel and solid metal stand. While the stand is quite solid and elegant looking, it offers nothing in the way of tilt or height adjustment. I will be the first to say I am not a fan of the gloss plastic bezel which tends to attract dust mixed with the oddly placed white LED next to the Philips logo which cannot be disabled except with Blutac, a well placed Post-IT note or similar. There are also built in speakers which are best forgotten about to be honest.
Given how massive this monitor is, the limitations of the stand really do impact the performance you can get out of it and a VESA mount is definitely recommended. On the note of VESA mounts, this monitor uses a 200mm VESA mount layout except it uses 4mm mounting bolts, this combination is likely to cause issues with pretty much any 100mm - 200mm VESA mounting adapter you try as the 200mm standard generally comes with 6-8mm bolts. The result is the mounting bolts for this monitor will fall straight through the holes on the plate and you will definitely need thick washers to take up the difference. I ended up using 4mm countersunk washers with a 3mm thickness.
On the back of the panel we find some unique offerings with the monitor supporting an array of the latest inputs to support the 4K resolution, a 4 port USB 3.0 hub and thumb pad for controlling the OSD.
1 x MHL-HDMI
1 x HDMI
1 x Mini-DP
1 x Displayport
1 x D-Sub (Why….)
1 x RS232 Communications Port
1 x Audio in 3.5mm
1 x Headphone out 3.5mm
Moving on to the OSD, we find a menu that is layed out quite nicely with the usual options for configuring the screen to suit your individual use or calibration. I won’t bother going into every little setting in the menu but will instead summarise settings I choose and things I don’t like about it later in the calibration section.
The panel itself as mentioned earlier is a semi gloss VA type panel in a huge 40” format. While the panel may be less desirable than IPS based offerings, it does offer some advantages such as reduce costs, faster response times for gaming and much deeper blacks.
There were concerns from the community that the pixel layout from this panel would cause issues as they are not exactly square but I can honestly say I have not noticed it in any of my testing.
Viewing was generally quite good when viewed from an angle however you do need to deal with some gamma and colour shift depending on your viewing angle. You also need to sit a suitable distance away from the panel also due to its size and viewing angles otherwise light falloff will become evident towards the corners. There are some issues with slight image retention on grey backgrounds and a weird phenomenon on dark grey backgrounds which shall be known as the “grey hole” from now on.
This monitor does include a “Smart Uniformity” calibration report in the box which is apparently supposed to make you feel good about the colour accuracy of the monitor but honestly you can throw it in the bin for all the good it does. Out of the box this panel was running a colour temperature of around 7600k instead of the advertised 6500k which is mainly caused by excessive blue channel (quite common on LED backlights). Also worth noting is that the sRGB profile was also quite poor out of the box
While the sRGB profile was “better” out of the box, it was still lacking in most of the same areas compared to the 6500k profile. It also had an unacceptable issue where blacks were being crushed excessively to the point where most shadow details were lost and muddy images resulted.
For the remainder of the calibration, the panel was set to “Smart Uniformity” mode which is supposed to give the most even lighting across the panel. Colour profile was set to “User Define” for customisation and Gamma 2.2.
That majority of the colour adjustments were possible from the OSD however the panel was lacking any sort of low / high level adjustments which means most changes that were made had to be a compromise between various test patterns. Generally you would nail the calibration for a 100% greyscale (pure white) only to find out you have thrown out the 30% greyscale instead. The results were quite good from the panel however it was no possible to get the 30% / 70% / 100% greyscale test patterns under a deltaE of 4 across the board without relying on profile adjustments later.
I am very pleased to report that this monitor will blow an IPS panel out of the water when it comes to black levels with this monitor offering inky blacks and none of the “IPS Glow” that plagues high end panels. It is so dark that I couldn’t actually get great luminance reading with my i1 Pro meter as it is not the best performer in low light conditions.
Colour banding is basically not an issue thanks to the panel also incorporating a true 8bit panel covering the sRGB colour space. It is easily a match for my IPS based Apple Cinema Display.
Overall the results were as follows:
Factory 6500k Profile:
As we can see from the final calibration, the panel certainly fell into line and delivered exceptional stability across all the test patterns. The monitor can certainly deliver the goods when it comes to accurate colour reproduction but unfortunately it doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to overall user experience.
Overall the panel performs exceptionally well given its size when it comes to most uniform colour reproductions however the elephant in the room is the darker grey colours, you will see a significant shift of luminance toward the middle of the panel that will track wherever the centre of your viewing is. The issue disappears the lighter the greys become and it only seems to affect darker grey colours.
Considering the screens price, it certainly puts forward a good argument against IPS displays however putting price aside, it is still not a substitute for the real deal when it comes to colour critial work.
For me personally this monitor just misses the mark, I have grown accustom to the size very quickly and the resolution is a perfect match for the size of the display. Unfortunately it falls short for me when it comes to grey colour reproductions, it is quite obvious in many Adobe and Apple applications. I also have the thought in the back of my head constantly that what the meter is reading in the darker greyscales does not represent what most of the screen is actually displaying off center.
This display would certainly suit people working in CAD / Design occupations and it is an exceptional gaming monitor with excellent response times and immersion thanks to its size and amazing black levels. Scaling is also excellent on this monitor and you would have no issues running it at 2560 x 1440 to reduce stress on the graphics card. To be honest there is no reason it couldn't be used for editing also if you can come to terms with the issues I have outlined above.