Price When Reviewed: £895.00
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This 49" screen is the biggest we've played with yet - but just how practical is the monitor for creatives to use instead of gamers?
When we first heard about the gargantuan Philips 499P9H monitor back in January, we had two burning questions: how practical would this screen be to actually use, and would it even fit comfortably on the average desk?
We finally managed to get a hold of the 499P9H, a 49" beast that dwarfs the 32 inch monitors which currently count as the market big boys; with Dual Quad HD (DQHD; 5120 x 1440) resolution and a 32:9 aspect ratio, this model certainly doesn’t play it coy.
Running it through our usual tests and giving it a good going through the paces over a fortnight’s worth of use, we went beyond ‘Gee whizz!’ first impressions to truly get to know this monitor inside out, and whether it’s one for both gamers and creative professionals to invest in as Philips are apparently hoping.
Unboxing the Phillips 499P9H
The 499P9H may be a beast, but it’s one you need to play gentle with.
It comes in one of the biggest boxes we’ve seen; pay attention to the label and open it only from the designated side should you not want a cracked screen on your hands.
The stand is the first bit of kit you’ll see; we put this to one side and hoisted out the second layer of packaging containing the monitor. Place the screen down on a desk (without taking it out), and with the four provided screws latch your stand onto the back of the monitor. After this you’re good to stand the screen up, with the stand being as sturdy as one would hope.
The base of the stand made for a nice place to stash laptops, we found; it also nicely houses a Mac Mini with space left to spare. You could even prop your smartphone on the neck of the stand, if you wish.
That base also allows you to tilt, swivel and height-adjust the monitor, but with this whopper you’re going to have grab it with both hands from the bottom if you're hoping for any kind of traction.
Out of the box, the monitor makes an immediate impact; a lot of people in the Digital Arts office came to stop and stare at what we had out on our desk. Of course, this would probably be something to buy for the home or studio instead of somewhere communal, but expect guests you bring round to be taken aback by this big monster you’ve been holding out upon.
We didn’t get one with our test unit, but a remote control is also included in the box, along with your usual array of leads and cables.
Speaking of which, note that you get just the one port hub on the 499P9H, but it comes with everything expected besides a Thunderbolt connection and DVI port: 2 x HDMI, 2 x USB-C and 2 x USB (one upstream, one downstream), Ethernet, and Display Port, making a total of eight connections overall.
First Impressions of the Philips 499P9H
When you’re plugged in, the first thing you’ll notice is the 1800 radius curve, especially if you’ve been using flat screen monitors all your life like I have.
More curve means less stress on the eyes, and less distortion too. It also means more immersion in your entertainment, which is why a lot of reviews of the screen focus on the gaming angle.
Designers will like being able to play about with four windows at any given moment, dragging and dropping between software being a breeze. But let’s state the obvious — your straight lines aren’t going to look straight on this screen.
Your favourite creative apps also weren’t built with this sort of screen in mind, so pre-loaded images in your Photoshop screen will look lost against the grey interface (unless you minimise the screen).
Not minimising windows is where the curve will always be noticeable, especially when you’re just checking email in your browser.
Graphics and Colour specs
You’ll notice in the specs this screen’s 5120 x 1440 resolution, but we’re talking DQHD as mentioned earlier, meaning you get picture quality four times sharper than normal HD.
This isn’t the same as 4K or 5K though, which might explain this screen’s reasonable pricing (although it’s apparently the first made to offer DQHD).
An output here of over 7.3 pixels can be yours as long as you have a high-end graphics card; for this review we mainly used an Overclockers Kolink Phalanx RGB Gaming Case using a Gigbyte GeForce RTX 2060 6144MB Graphics Card.
The graphics card you use really does make a difference; hooking up a HP ZBook G4 to try this screen with a Windows laptop it was easy to see the performance gap.
Philips 499P9H colour testing
Time for the bad news — the Philips 499P9H has one of the lower Adobe RGB percentages we’ve pulled from the monitors reviewed so far for Digital Arts.
Running our tests with a DataColor Spyder5Elite which uses 48 colour swatches as part of its examination, we found it has a 74% Adobe RGB and not 91% as stated on the Philips site. For comparison, monitors from Eizo and Lenovo usually hit the 100% mark.
It also has a Delta-E rating of 1.29, one of the higher dE ratings we’ve seen (remember: the lower the dE, the better).
To be honest though, we weren’t surprised by these results. The screen may look big, but you’ll notice straight off that colours don’t exactly pop on this monitor, which isn’t great for illustrating or designing really.
More on output
There are in-built speakers, which are perfectly functional at 5W. There’s also a 2.0mp FHD pop-up camera which you can configure to use Windows Hello so as to recognise your face for log-in, and which pops up easily with a gentle touch.
The Digital Arts verdict on the Philips 499P9H
First things first - Philips' 49-inch monitor impresses with its size but doesn't deliver on the colour basics all creatives need for their work.
If you're seriously looking for a way to hold three or even four minimised windows open at any one time without needing a second screen - or just two in full size - then the Philips 499P9H is the model for you - but really this is a screen for the gaming market, not matter how Philips may say it's also aimed at pros.
While it may not be good for designers, the unit itself is decently designed, and isn't too cumbersome to put together and manage. Just make sure you have a desk that can accommodate this colossus of the monitor landscape - and a decent graphics card, too.
Read next: Best Monitor for Art & Design
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