Review: Philips 241P6VPJKEB 4k Monitor

It wasn’t too long ago, I went into my local retailer looking for a basic 1080p monitor and the prices being around £200 and when I say basic, I mean basic VGA only. Then new monitors started hitting the market, Quad HD (QHD, 1440p) and Ultra HD (UHD, 2160p). With these monitors, my eyes grew wide in awe; I just had to have one.

Sadly I couldn’t afford one, but my friends at Philips sent out one of the new P-Line 4k monitors, the Philips  241P6VPJKEB; so here’s to you!

philips_2013_logo_detail

Philips has always been a household brand; everyone has owned at least one Philips product in their life, be it a TV, radio, DVD player/ VCR or even batteries. You tend to hear less and less about Philips in the consumer mind, but the products are everywhere; I use Philips bulbs in my car!


Let’s get on to talk about the monitor itself before I take an extended trip down memory lane.

4K monitors are huge, in both senses of the word. Since their conception, the technology has dominated movies, gaming, and even the business world. Along with that, the general size of a 4K monitor is that of an average TV; around 32″. The argument is that once you hit a small screen size, the resolution is then so high that you lose detail from having too much detail.

I have previous experience with 4K and there are two issues with the technology; although one isn’t such an issue since the new Pascal graphics cards were released.

  1. Compatibility: 4K monitors were released before the cable technology was standard. Yes, you could have hit 4K@30hz, but most will argue that 60hz should be the minimum refresh rate for monitors.
  2. Performance: 4K is stupidly demanding for games and very few graphics cards can handle it effectively. I guess this is now redundant with newer graphics cards on the scene, but I’ve seen a 1080 struggle in some instances.

I think Philips 241P6VPJKEB is on the small side, but it is being aimed at professional users with productivity in mind. The 24″ screen size is perfect for most office desk spaces, while the 4K resolution allows to have multiple windows open at once without compromise.

With MHL and a built-in web camera, it’s perfect for conference calls and easily showing off content on your phone.

241P6VPJKEB_00-IMS-en_GB


Specifications
Philips always impress with the quantity and quality of the specification list available online. I’m only going to post the display specification here, but take a look at the full specifications here.

specs

A pretty impressive range of specs here, 4K@60hz, 5ms response time, 178° IPS viewing angle and 99% sRGB. The specifications definitely place this as a professional monitor, but it would also happily handle most gaming scenarios.


Images
And what about the actual monitor itself?

It’s very business like, no “glitz and glamour” here.

monitor1

Along the bottom of the screen are two IR transmitters. These help with a special power saving feature, called PowerSense, by monitoring the user. If the user leaves the desk for any reason, power saving kicks in to save power.

monitor2

powersensor

A pretty standard array of menu buttons, no fancy joysticks or touch pads in sight.

monitor3

This monitor comes with the standard audio jacks, VGA, DVI HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2.

ports

Who ordered all these USB ports? The monitor features 3x USB 3.0 ports, 1 with fast charging and one USB-A to act as a hub; keeping your desk ‘clutter free’.

usbs

A nice looking stand. As you can expect, it has been passed around a few media outlets and has picked up some battle scars.

base1

The stand supports height adjustment of 130mm, 90° pivot, the tilt between -5 and 20°, and swivel of 175° in both directions.

base2

Fully assembled, it looks like a pretty basic monitor with that peculiar camera bulge on the top. With the monitor in place, the vertical movement is very easy and can be done with just one finger.

monitor4

Even though it can, I don’t know why you would pivot this monitor into this position; the camera bulge wouldn’t allow it to sit flush with another monitor.

monitor5

 

Box and accessories

A pretty standard Philips box, clean and crisp with just the key information printed.

box1

A close up of the key features, 4K, IPS, MHL, etc…

box2

A very impressive range of cables here, most notable is the MHL cable (pictured centre, but not included). That power brick is pretty substantial, hopefully the cable is long enough to stash it somewhere out of sight.

cables


Usage
There’s not a lot to run home here, it’s 16:9 and has 4K resolution, by now pretty much everyone has seen a 4K resolution in some form or another. If you are one of those few who has been living under a rock, here are some 1080p to 4K examples.

Desktop
Windows 10 has been built pretty well to handle scaling, along with the majority of apps available such as Google Chrome. So you won’t really notice much different between 1080p and 4K until you start zooming in on an image.

Both of these desktop examples have been kept the same apart from the resolution. Each has 100% scaling enabled to show how much difference there is (note icon and taskbar size), however, you can enable 200% scaling at 4K to enlarge the icons.

1080p Desktop1080p desktop 100% scaling

4K Desktop4k desktop 100% scaling

Split Screen
4K is designed for multiple windows, essentially having the room to place four 1920×1080 monitors together. Thanks to the great compatibility of most applications, there is very little difference between 1080p and 4k at auto settings.

Split Screen 1080p1080p

Split Screen 4K2160

Video
So what about watching a video, surely the high resolution would play up here? and it doesn’t, thanks to near enough perfect scaling; albeit content at 720p will be very pixelated if blown up to 4k.

If you viewed 720p without scaling, the image is fairly small and could be hard to make out details when viewed at a 4K resolution.720pexample

1080p is very similar, 4K has quadruple the number of pixels compared to 1080p, so details can still be lost.1080pexample


Performance
Like I said earlier, 4K is a demanding resolution and requires some hefty graphical processing power to make use of it. During general use or video playback, internal graphics processors will be fine, but gaming will require something special. I’m not going to go nuts here, just a single game to show how much more demanding 4K is.

The following components will be used to test this game. It’s not the latest generation, but it does the job.

Item Clock Speed
Processor Intel i5-2500k Stock Boost
Motherboard ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe
Memory Kingston HyperX Genesis 8GB 1600MHz
Graphics Card Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 970 Stock Boost
Storage #1 Samsung 850 Pro 512GB
Storage #2 WD Blue 2TB 7200RPM
Power Supply Corsair AX760i
Cooling Corsair H100i

Tom Clancy’s: The Division
I normally use Battlefield 4 or something of similar age so readers can go view and compare with other sites; however, I like The Division and the built-in benchmark is pretty sweet (short).

As you can see, there is a linear drop in FPS when moving from 1080p to 2160p.

chart


Menus
Singing the tune of an early 2000 monitor, the menu buttons are retro. Inline 5 on the front of the screen itself with small printed images to give some sort of inclination of what they do. In a world of joysticks and direction pad controls; these are very confusing to use.

menu1
menu2 menu3 menu4

SmartControl
Well, I was complaining about the menu navigation earlier and I guess the Philips boffins knew it would be an issue, so SmartControl software was included. It can handle all of the hardware settings of the monitor, leaving out SmartImage, Multi-view, and Audio Source.

It’s very easy to use, but I lost functionality when this was open and I changed the resolution. It required a restart to get it working again.

SmartControl1 smartcontrol2


Final Thoughts
For a 24″ 4K monitor, it’s pretty good. I still think 4K is wasted below 32″ and will continue to think that until someone gives me a good reason otherwise. It has ample of features to keep most happy and offers exactly what it says on the tin.

Out of the box, the monitor has brilliant settings, true to life colours with no washout and deep contrasts to show off blacks well. There is no backlight bleed from any part of the monitor, which is what I would expect from a small panel.

I know I’ve kept harping on about how this is designed for business use and that the non-flashy approach works well, I just wish the menu navigation was simpler; I have become very accustom to touch panels, directional pad, and joysticks and I feel they are the way forward. That being said, once a monitor has been calibrated to taste, you shouldn’t have to spend too much time in the menu’s to care.

Another neutral point is the webcam. It’s brilliant for conferencing and connectivity on Skype and similar applications, but I’ve recently been learning about cyber security and webcams are a massive security risk in some cases. Forcing a customer to have a webcam permanently in view can be off-putting. Although I guess this is why the newer 272B7QPTKEB is featuring a retractable webcam.

Something that really caught my eye with this monitor was the PowerSense technology. I thought it was just a gimmick that rarely worked and saved very little power. I put it to the test by leaving it at idle on desktop and monitoring the wattage. When I was sat at the monitor, the full system was drawing and average of 130w; however, when I moved it dropped to a noticeable 112w. This was consistent over the course of a weekend of testing, but I did notice it didn’t work if the monitor wasn’t aligned properly. Something that may need to be noted if the monitor will be secondary and not in direct view for the IR transmitters.

To complete this review, I had to edit some images. I went into this section with some negative thoughts due to user reviews I read online about poor colour recreation considering it has a 10-bit pallet and 12-bit internal processor. I can safely say that I didn’t experience any issues and all of my images came out as I expected. Not everyone can afford a calibration tool, but the built in settings will be perfect for most users.

What I liked:

  • IPS panel
  • Customisable power LED brightness
  • Built to last
  • Good range of physical adjustment
  • Easy to install and set up
  • Built-in webcam

What I disliked:

  • Awkward menu navigation
  • Built-in webcam

Recommendation:

  • Hidden menu buttons would clean up the front face

Price
Recommended retailer: Box.co.uk @ £387.76


Is there anything else you want me to take a look at? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

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