monitors

Philips 288P6 4K Monitor Review

Not a bad entry-level 4K, but this kind of price-performance ratio simply shall not pass.

$399.99 at Amazon
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The Philips Brilliance 288P6 (MSRP $799.99) is the company's first entry into the 4K monitor market.

The 288P6 wields a minimalist design, TN (Twisted Nematic) panel, built-in USB ports, and "Multi view" (picture-in-picture/picture-by-picture) options. It boasts a standard 5ms G2G response time and pivots easily between landscape and portrait modes. This sort of generalist approach is par-for-the-course within the current 4K monitor landscape, with Philips looking to snag as much of the UHD pie as possible.

Unfortunately, the price is just way too high for a "general" approach. While the 288P6 is fine—and can now be found for around $650 at retail—we've seen cheaper 28-inch 4K displays that better cater to both general and niche buyers in this part of the market.

If you want good port selection, a great stand, and performance that just scrapes by for the sake of almighty 4K, this one won't let you down, but those with specific needs or looking for the best value may need to look elsewhere.

Design & Features

A general approach that yields so-so appeal

You can tell a lot about a monitor by its physical features. This is the case with the 288P6, with its generous stand flexibility and a lax approach to design filigree. It emphasizes neither a hard professional focus (via accessories like a shading hood, or tactile push buttons) nor a niche focus on gaming like the Asus PB287Q.

288P6-Design-Front.jpg
Credit: Reviewed.com | Lee Neikirk
The 288P6 rests upon a flat pedestal and features trim black bezels, lots of stand flexibility, and touch-sensitive controls.

While single-purpose users may not like this approach, those with a home office that occasionally becomes a gaming room might enjoy the flexibility. It otherwise doesn't exactly stand out in terms of design, but it's nice enough to look at.

A flat pedestal base supports an angular, flexible neck, holding the 28-inch screen about five inches from the desktop. Semi-thin matte bezels wrap the top and sides of the screen—the lower bezel is larger, to give room for the display's touch-sensitive buttons and a silver strip emblazoned with the Philips logo.

The panel isn't particularly thin, but is slim enough while leaving room for more practical additions. This yields this monitor's best inclusion: a full USB hub on the right side with four inputs, one of which is a "fast-charge" for devices like a tablet or smartphone.

You'll find video/audio connection ports on the underside of the display, including PC audio input, a headphone jack, VGA input, DisplayPort 1.2 input, HDMI input, and a DVI input. Including a VGA (RGB) input on a huge 4K monitor like this is puzzling—a second HDMI inputs would be much more useful—but we imagine someone, somewhere will need it.

288P6-Design-USB-Hub.jpg
Credit: Reviewed.com | Lee Neikirk
On the right side, you'll find a full USB hub with four USB inputs, one of which is a "fast charge" USB 3.0 option.

The stand's flexibility is definitely this monitor's best physical trait. The panel can raise/lower by about 5 inches, tilt forward/backward by ±20°, and pivot side to side easily on its base. Movements are fluid and firm, the way they should be.

The monitor's menu software can be a little finicky thanks to the touchscreen buttons, but navigating the various features gets easier with a bit of practice. There are five hotkeys: one for picture mode selection, one for input selection, one for picture-in-picture/picture-by-picture selection, and one for power. The buttons double as navigation when you're in a menu.

288P6-Software-PbP.jpg
Credit: Reviewed.com | Lee Neikirk
With the 288P6's picture-by-picture mode, you can finally play a high-fantasy RPG while you watch a high-fantasy film.

It's always nice to have a 4K monitor that's capable of multi-view modes such as PiP functionality, but it's yet another reason we'd prefer to have at least two HDMI inputs. While splitting between DisplayPort and HDMI is probably what most people will go for, what if your laptop only has HDMI out, and you want to plug in another HDMI source, like a game console? You're kind of out of luck here.

All said, the 288P6 is well-rounded enough, but could stand to lean a little more towards serious users at this price point. The "catch-all" approach to inputs would make sense if this were a general 1080p monitor, but at $650 and up, this is the kind of display you invest in with full knowledge of what you want out of it—the exact opposite of how most casual users shop.

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Specs & Performance

The whole is equal to the sum of the parts, but the parts are sub-par.

The 288P6 offers consumers a decent design and a few useful features, but if you're looking for a high-end 4K monitor, this Philips is not it.

The drawback here is the panel type, which is TN or Twisted Nematic. Typically, TN panels offer fast refresh rates, but poorer color fidelity than IPS panels, worse black levels than VA panels, and typically narrow viewing angles compared to either.

288P6-Performance-1.jpg
Credit: Reviewed.com | Lee Neikirk
The 288P6 wields a TN (Twisted Nematic) panel, which boasts decent color accuracy but lacks the vivacity and "pop" of an IPS panel.

Naturally, if you're desperate for a semi-affordable 4K monitor, you're going to have to settle for TN at the moment, but it might more sense to simply wait for higher-quality 4K options to become affordable.

Testing revealed acceptable (but flawed) sRGB color accuracy, a middling contrast ratio, poor off-angle viewing, and dodgy backlight uniformity; we're not sure 4K resolution is worth all that, frankly. You can see the data on the Science Page.

288P6-Performance-2.jpg
Credit: Reviewed.com | Lee Neikirk
During testing, the 288P6 struggled to produce a smooth gamma curve, which made for some of the black crush (missing shadow details) you can see here.

This isn't the first 4K monitor to wield a TN panel—the Asus PB287Q is almost a carbon-copy of the 288P6, but actually performs a little better and for less money. This Philips may boast the top-tier resolution desired by gamers and photo editors, but the Asus is faster, and its semi-skewed sRGB (digital) color lacks the reach required by print designers.

The Verdict

Suffering from an identity crisis

As a 28-inch 4K monitor for $799, the 288P6 sounds pretty fancy on paper... but compared to the market in 2015 it just doesn't hold up. It's clear that 4K displays are here to stay, and as such should be taken as seriously for purchase as any Full HD option.

Unfortunately the 288P6 is still parading as an early adopter's product—at an early adopter price point—but lacks the specificity to justify that expense. We're already at a point where a 4K monitor needs to give buyers more than just high resolution, and unfortunately, the 288P6 doesn't.

We're already at a point where a 4K monitor needs to give buyers more than just high resolution, and unfortunately, the 288P6 doesn't.

Yes, it has a nice physical design, good features like picture-in-picture and plenty of display inputs. But so do several other 4K monitors on the market, including this Asus, which is cheaper ($579.99 at retail) and has better all-around performance. USB ports are a great inclusion, but not for the price difference.

Ultimately, it seemed like Philips couldn't make up its mind whether it wanted this monitor to be good for casual use, business users, or gamers. By ultimately settling on "all of them," Philips actually wound up serving nobody well, relying on the 4K resolution to justify the price.

With similar, cheaper monitors already on the market and larger 4K TVs routinely selling for under $1,000, this Philips just seems late to the party. A semi-affordable, kinda-large 4K monitor at this price might've worked 12 or 18 months ago when 4K was a rare commodity. But in 2015? Not so much.

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