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Prepare to be blinded by Philips' 1000nit 4K FreeSync 2 monitor

Philips FreeSync 2

Who knew late April was the time for oodles of monitor announcements, eh? Well, if yesterday’s news of the FreeSync 2-equipped AOC AGON AG322QC4 didn’t make your eyes pop out of their sockets, then the jumbo Philips 436M6VBPAB almost certainly will thanks to its blinding max brightness of 1000cd/m2.

This giant 43in VA panel is the first of a new line of Momentum monitors from Philips, and is the first in the world to get VESA’s DisplayHDR 1000 certificate rating, essentially giving it lots of the same high-end credentials you’ll find in Ultra HD Premium TVs but in monitor form. This includes that aforementioned 1000cd/m2 brightness, 97.6% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, and a sort-of 10-bit colour depth panel. 

I saw sort of, because while its VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification requires a monitor to have 10-bit panel performance, it can get there by having a regular 8-bit driver and what’s known as a 2-bit dithering algorithm to simulate 10-bit performance. Philips call this a 2-bit Frame Rate Control driver in their marketing materials, but boil it down and you still get a not quite proper 10-bit colour depth.

This will no doubt have an impact on the quality of the monitor’s HDR (proper 10-bit panels can produce a much wider variety of colours than standard 8-bit panels), but hopefully its use of Samsung’s Quantum Dot technology with its brighter, more vibrant pixels will help firm up the illusion in this respect.

Since this is a monitor rather than a TV, you also get lots of monitor-type ports, including a DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, USB-C and a built-in USB3 hub. The downside to that, naturally, is its speakers, which are only 7W. They come with DTS Sound, truth be told, but when most TVs have at least 20W speakers, you’re probably still going to be better off using a headset or external speaker system.

The 436M6VBPAB also has FreeSync 2 support (which sadly is tied up with the VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification, I’ve since found out, so Nvidia graphics card peeps won’t be able to do HDR from either this or the AOC AG322CQ4 after all – my bad, I apologise), and a Low Input Lag mode like the Samsung CHG90 for faster response times and stutter-free gaming. For more info on FreeSync and FreeSync 2, check out our recently-updated best gaming monitor list and buying guide.

And because this is a Philips monitor, you also get the company’s LED-tastic Ambiglow lighting. This will no doubt bring smiles to RGB fans’ faces, as the goal of Ambiglow’s rear-facing LEDs is to try and extend what’s happening onscreen by shining roughly similar shades of light off the back of the monitor onto the wall, supposedly creating the effect of your game (or whatever you’re watching, for that matter) ‘breaking free’ of the monitor’s physical bezels.

Personally, I’ve always found Ambiglow immensely irritating, as I find having something flashing away outside a display’s bezels quite distracting. It doesn’t look like the 436M6VBPAB’s bezels will be doing much to help in this respect, either, as they still look relatively thick going by Philips’ initial images. I’ll have to wait and see how it works in practice, of course, but I’m not convinced this is going to change my mind on the subject.

The good news is we won’t have to wait too long to find out, as the Philips 43M6VBPAB is due to launch (in the UK, at least) in May – that’s next month – for £699.

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Who am I?

Katharine Castle

Hardware Editor

Katharine writes about all the bits that go inside your PC so you can carry on playing all those lovely games we like talking about so much. Very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests.

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