monitors

Philips 288P6 4K Monitor Review

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

January 16, 2015

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The Philips 288P6 (MSRP $799.99) is an average performer that features 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution and a few 4K-facing features. In this regard, it fails to stand out from the crowd, and the price is a little too high for many of the performance drawbacks associated with TN (Twisted Nematic) panel types.

Essentially, all of the monitor's strengths are specs you can find online: the resolution, the port selection/USB hub, and the flexible stand. Color fidelity, contrast, and viewing angle range from standard to sub-par, which basically means you're paying a lot for more pixels.

Color Gamut

Color ability is where TN type panels tend to fall short, and the 288P6 is not an exception. Naturally, most users won't notice a bit of over-saturation in greens or under-saturation in reds, but these flaws do mean you'd have to tweak and calibrate the display for it to work out for digital photo editing or design work. The color here is good enough for general tasks, but considering the quality, it's one reason we feel that the price is too high. Unfortunately, the limited color mapping is not a great choice if you're looking for a future-proof option, either, as expanded color is the next big step forward for Ultra High Definition.

Philips-288P6-Color-Gamut.jpg
The 288P6's over-saturated green point and under-saturated red point are par for the course in a TN (Twisted Nematic) display.
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Grayscale Error

Grayscale error refers to visible deviations in neutral grayscale elements (some black, grays, whites) from the D65/sRGB white point standard. For general use like web browsing or watching YouTube videos, a bit of grayscale error isn't going to matter much, but any professional monitor used by colorists or designers should ideally be within a certain range of accuracy. Grayscale error is expressed in a collective called DeltaE, where a DeltaE of 3 or less is considered ideal.

The Philips 288P6 tested with a grayscale DeltaE of 8, which isn't terrible, but also means perceptibly imperfect neutral elements. Again, this isn't going to negatively impact general tasks, but considering the relative scarcity of native 4K content, we doubt most users interested in this display have general tasks in mind.

Philips-288P6-Grayscale.jpg
The 288P6 tested with a grayscale DeltaE of 8, which means its neutral elements (gray, white tones) show some perceptible deviation from the sRGB white point standard.

RGB Balance

A display's RGB balance (or color filter emphasis) is often the reason behind both its perceptible grayscale error and, sometimes, discrepancies in color saturation. This test measures the relative emphasis of the red, green, and blue sub-pixels (or color filters) relative to one another. Ideally, each sub-pixel will be emphasized by 100%—not too much, not too little.

Testing revealed that the 288P6 tends to mildly over-emphasize the blue sub-pixel while (in turn) mildly under-emphasizing the red sub-pixel and clipping green (which carries luminance) around 90 IRE, which (as we'll see) has lots to do with the display's gamma performance, too. The undersaturated red in the gamut has a bit to do with this under-emphasis, and the errors in emphasis are also the cause of the monitor's aforementioned grayscale error.

Philips-288P6-RGB-Balance.jpg
The 288P6 tends to over-emphasize blue at the expense of green and red, which causes multiple issues with its performance.

Gamma Curve

A display's gamma curve is a digital correction that forces it to allocate light (or luminance) in an analog, non-linear fashion for human eyes. As displays grow brighter, they must add logarithmically more light at higher steps in order for humans to notice the difference. Likewise, a gamma curve ensures that shadow detail and black levels are properly preserved by adding small steps as the display ascends the signal input out of black.

This is one area where the 288P6 struggled notably. We measured a gamma sum of 2.84, with very poor shadow detail resulting in "black crush" and aggressive mid-high luminance allocation resulting in notable clipping around 90 IRE, or towards the top of the signal input spectrum. This result is a bit hard to quantify, as most monitors have no issue following a standard gamma curve. On the other hand, the clipping observed during the RGB balance test may have something to do with this Philips' inability to follow a smooth gamma curve.

This is, again, not something that looks horrible for casual use, but rules out this monitor as a candidate for more serious tasks like photo/video editing.

Philips-288P6-Gamma.jpg
The 288P6 tested with a gamma curve of 2.84—it adds luminance too slowly out of black and ramps up into highlights a little too suddenly.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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