Philips Brilliance BDM4037UW 40 Inch 4K UHD Monitor Review
- Plenty of connectivity inputs
- Excellent color performance
- Deep black levels
- High contrast
- Beautiful build
- Decent built-in speakers
- Strong refresh rate and input lag performance
- Gigantic screen
- Lacks HDR support
- Low peak brightness
- Limited viewing angles
- Connectivity ports badly placed
- Limited pedestal adjustment
Despite some more or less minor flaws, the Philips Brilliance BDM4037UW 4K UHD monitor is one beautiful and excellent piece of office and graphic design 4K PC display technology. If you want a superb and huge home office monitor that you can use effectively for all sorts of entertainment, work and even gaming purposes, this model covers most of the bases even though it lacks a few more advanced specs like HDR10 support (at least at the time of this writing).
Philips’ new Brilliance BDM4037UW 4K monitor is basically the company’s latest and best ever piece of PC display technology, representing the very top-end of the Philips lineup of PC monitors. Basically, the BDM4037UW is designed as more of a serious user’s office monitor, with a particular emphasis on usability for graphic design professionals and video editing work as well. With this in mind, the builders of this wonderfully large 40 inch monitor with curved display developed a display panel that delivers a combination of full 4K UHD sharpness, 60Hz refresh and particularly strong black levels. These specs combine with a fast response time, VA panel black levels and simulated 10-bit (8-bit with dithering) color that works just as well as the real thing when it comes to content and visuals having to be edited in full wide color gamut and over 1 billion color values.
In basic terms, the Brilliance BDM4037UW has something for almost any kind of user and could even double as a fairly effective gaming monitor despite its lack of GPU syncing technology and its focus on more professional uses. Most importantly of all, this new Philips display for PCs represents a stylish, elegantly built and very robustly feature-packed example of the new generations of HDR 4K monitors which are now coming out from many major brands.
The overall performance of the Philips Brilliance BDM4037UW can be best described as enjoyable and highly functional, even for some fairly demanding professional graphic editing uses. Furthermore, as a particularly huge 4K monitor with some very heavy duty high performance display specs and color rendering capacity, the BDM4037UW serves excellently as both a casual gaming monitor (as long as you don’t mind the absence of FreeSync or G-Sync) and even more so as a movie and streaming content viewing display device. In fact, with its massive 40 inch display and generally TV-like design (that reminds us a lot of LG’s own HDR 4K monitors like the smaller 32UD99), this piece of PC technology already looks much more like a 4K TV than it does a conventional monitor. Hell, many 4K TVs on the more affordable end of the market are the same size as the BDM4037UW and cheaper to boot.
The graphics and color delivery of the BDM4037UW are simply eye-popping thanks to this monitor’s 10-bit color and over 100% sRGB color space coverage, and the combination of these features with the monitor’s VA panel design makes for a breathtakingly good level of picture quality. As fans of today’s 4K HDR TVs know, VA panels, while being weak on maximum viewing angles, do deliver some of the absolute best LCD/LED display contrast in existence today and in this area the BDM4037UW Brilliance monitor doesn’t disappoint at all, with contrast ratios that are comparable to those of many high quality 4K TVs from between 2015 and 2017. Furthermore, Philips has given its newest PC display a wide selection of connectivity ports that covers the vast majority of device connection needs anyone is likely to have. The USB 3.0 port selection alone is superb with four different ports available in this USB spec. HDMI of both the 1.4 and 2.0 variety and DisplayPort are also included with more than enough ports for each.
Other useful performance features of the Brilliance BDM4037UW include picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture modes, VESA mounting capacity and a so-called “SmartImage” menu system that lets the monitor itself dynamically analyze screen use for constant optimization o contrast, color saturation, image sharpness, and so forth. SmartImage can also of course be deactivated in favor of a more manual level of control and Philips has also included several customized display presets for easy setup of display performance levels that most agree with what you’re using this monitor for. These presets include Office, Photo, Movie, Game, Economy and “SmartUniformity” settings. The PiP and PbP settings, as well as Philips’ “MultiView” feature for multiple internal display windows on the BDM4037UW are both particularly usable in the case of this monitor’s display due to its exceptionally large display size.
To summarize the performance quality of the BDM4037UW, we’d have to say that it delivers enough robust display performance, connectivity and manual control specs to be considered and excellent office or design monitor by the vast majority of users. Consumers with little previous experience in 4K monitors and especially with 4K professional monitors will probably be downright amazed by how well the BDM4037UW presents images and other visuals on its screen. More jaded users will probably like it just fine as well and the connectivity options of this monitor are more than diverse enough to make nearly anyone happy.
The Philips Brilliance BDM4037UW 4K HDR monitor is fairly low on defects of any kind and at least in our view suffers from no major problems. Basically, all of its flaws are fairly minor and none of them are a deal breaker if you need solid overall performance for a wide range of professional uses. However, to cover all of the bases for a thorough review of this machine’s performance, a few flaws in the BDM4037UW are worth pointing out.
First of all, there is the relatively minor detail of the BDM4037UW’s connectivity port layout. Yes, this monitor comes with plenty of connection options and a wonderful quantity of USB 3.0 ports in particular but all of these connection options are located at the very back of the BDM4037UW, near the bottom and all of them face outwards from the back. Again, not a big deal but a bit inconvenient for when you want to quickly hook up or unplug a bunch of different external devices quickly and easily without having to look behind the monitor or even move it. It would have been nice to see one of each port and at least one HDMI and USB port along the side of the monitor behind the screen, opening parallel to the display surface for much easier quick connectivity.
Moving along, the BDM4037UW is extremely limited in its stand adjustment options with only an option to tilt the monitor back or forward by -5 degrees or +10 degrees respectively. The back of the display does come with VESA mounting options and can be attached to third-party pedestals of the right type for greater connection flexibility but it would have been nice if such a large PC monitor could have more adjustment options in its own native pedestal, even if this meant sacrificing a bit of aesthetic elegance.
Next, as a VA monitor, the BDM4037UW delivers excellent contrast ratios and some very deep, rich black levels that fit wonderfully with its profile as a high quality monitor but at the same time, VA panel technology loses a tremendous amount of viewing angle range. Most users are probably going to be watching their BDM4037UW from front, dead center but if you ever need to view the screen from off to one side, expect a considerable loss in contrast and color vibrancy at angles of more than 25 degrees to either side.
Finally, we need to mention that the overall maximum brightness of Philips’ BDM4037UW isn’t nearly as robust as we would have liked to see it, especially for a 2017 monitor in a market with numerous fully HDR 4K PC displays coming out with brightness levels of over 500 nits. This particular model doesn’t reach close to that level, topping out at just over 300 cd/m2 and as a result losing some of its potential value as a competitive PC display.
Despite a few minor flaws, we like the Philips BDM4037UW 4K UHD monitor on the whole. It’s beautiful, well rounded, loaded with connectivity options and for the vast majority of office and graphic design professional users, it should offer some excellent display and software performance. Even casual gamers could enjoy this piece of curved display technology for its immersive experience thanks to the screen’s gentle curve and massive 40 inches of display space.
- Screen Size: 40 Inches
- Resolution: 3840 x 2160 4K
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Panel Technology: Vertical Alignment (VA)
- Refresh Rate: 60Hz
- Response Time: 4ms
- Contrast Ratio: 4000:1 (native and subject to slight variations)
- Brightness: 300 cd/m²
- Built-in Speakers: 2 x 5 Watt speakers, front firing
- Stand: Height –No
- Stand: Tilt – Yes (-5°/+10°)
- Stand: Swivel – No
- VESA Compatibility: Yes 100 x 100
- Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2 x 2, HDMI 2.0 x 1, HDMI 1.4 x1, USB 3.0 x 4, 3.5mm Audio Jack (In/Out)
- Dimensions with Stand(WxHxD): 35.79” x 25.32” x 9.72”
- Weight: 24.25lbs
Design and Features
Instead of the black and dark tones which have been the more typical color selections in Philips monitor design, the BDM4037UW was built with a surface mix of warm whites and silvery grey tones that vary between glossy and slightly matte. It basically looks much more like some of the new 2017 LG and Samsung 4K monitors than most older Philips PC displays. Fancy design details are kept to a minimum in this model and its entire build leans towards a strong dose of minimalism that many users will probably find exceptionally appealing in their professional office settings. The back panel of the monitor, where all of its connectivity ports are located is almost entirely glossy white while the supporting pedestal and edges of the BDM4037UW (including the very narrow bezels) are all of a light matte silver color. The pedestal itself is extremely light looking and comes with a minimal footprint due to its rather thin crescent shape. This same pedestal goes right into the back of the display and as we said above, it offers no adjustment options except for slight forward and backward tilt. The pedestal can however be removed for VESA mounting or the installation of a more flexible third party pedestal. All connectivity ports are located at the very back of the monitor, right above where the pedestal enters the display body.
In terms of additional design features, the Philips BDM4037UW offers up dual 5 watt speakers, located along its bottom and offering what we’d describe as acceptably good sound quality for the basics of music, movie watching and whatever other normal audio needs you might have. Clarity and bass in the speakers aren’t particularly good though and anything played at high volumes will just sound bad. This is pretty typical of integrated 4K monitor speakers though so a good set of external speakers is a great idea for some extra spending. The BDM4037UW also features a small four-way joystick button along its back for quick navigation of its core display menus or for turning the monitor on and off. This same joystick can also be used to control the PiP, PbP two-window, or PbP four-window settings of this monitor. This can be done quickly by simply pressing the “up” section of the little four-way joystick control button. The PiP and PbP settings can also be accessed in the monitors OSD menu via mouse when the BDM4037UW is in use.
We should note that the user controls on the BDM4037UW are actually pretty extensive t that and controlling them via the little rear joystick can become tedious. The on-screen menu offers up a total of 90 different menu choices for different settings and these are spread across three menu levels.
As for some of the BDM4037UW’s main display calibration settings, they’re quite extensive too and a major part of the OSD menus which you can access through this monitor’s joystick. These display calibration presets are worth covering in a bit more detail.
First off, there’s the SmartUniformity mode, which Philips claims to be ideal for photographers, videographers and graphic designers. This particular preset is set for reduced but more uniform brightness and according to the factory calibration sheet provided by Philips with the BDM4037UW monitor, SmartUniformity mode allows for 95% brightness uniformity.
Next, there’s the Economy mode, which allows for considerable adjustment of brightness, contrast and backlighting towards minimal power consumption while maintaining an optimal general office use experience. This mode is ideal for all-around use of the BDM4037UW for things like email, document projects and so on. On the other hand, there is also an “Office” preset which works for office use as well but is designed for more energy-intensive display applications. Other presets with self-explanatory names include Phot, Movie and Game, each with their own ideal brightness, contrast and color settings.
Display Characteristics and Performance
Coming down to the meat of what makes this particular Philips monitor worth buying or not, we have the Brilliance BDM4037UW’s main display metrics and other characteristics.
The massive 40 inch VA panel of the Philips Brilliance BDM4037UW basically offers the sort of specs that make it nearly comparable to a smaller mid-range 4K TV, and they’re reasonably impressive for a monitor at this price range. The BDM4037UW’s display panel is factory rated for a contrast ratio of 4000:1, though in actual practice this Brilliance model manages only about 3712:1 at an absolute maximum and its more typical brightness/black level settings leave contrast at about 3,285:1 or slightly higher though they can also go much lower, down to less than 700:1 if the BDM4037UW is set into its more energy-conservative “Economy” and “Office” modes. These contrast settings can basically vary quite a bit based on how the display of the BDM4037UW is calibrated by a user. For a VA monitor panel, this sort of contrast isn’t at all bad and makes the weak contrast ratios of IPS monitors pale in comparison, literally. Speaking of brightness, it’s one of the major weaknesses we found in the BDM4037UW. This model manages only about 300 nits and that’s at a maximum brightness calibration. More often than not, the monitor dips below this level to about 280 nits or so and when display presets like “Office” and “Economy” mode are activated, the BDM4037UW will in fact dip down to a brightness level of less than 200 nits and even as low as 100 nits.
As for gamma performance, the Brilliance BDM4037UW is a remarkably good performer. The gamma levels can fly off their ideal representations at times but Philips has included specific gamma modes with this monitor and the 6500k option is the one we’d consider best for quality white balance. This of course plays into the screen uniformity of the BDM4037UW, which is fairly close to being excellent with only small deviations of less than 0.3 or 0.4. It’s worth noting however that a setting like screen uniformity can vary considerably between individual monitor units from the manufacturer, so one reading in one review can’t be taken as completely representative of what any other user’s unit might read.
Finally, in terms of color performance, the BDM4037UW is at its best. While this isn’t a full-blown HDR monitor with wide color gamut support like some of the new 2017 models we’ve seen emerge in 2017, it does offer up effective simulated 10-bit color support with a 12-bit internal lookup table and testing of color gamut coverage reveals a solid 110% sRGB color space coverage with above 80% AdobeRGB coverage as well.
The BDM4037UW also offers up some excellent motion and refresh rate handling in its display, with refresh rate customization being possible for 23Hz, 24Hz, 30Hz and of course 60Hz settings, allowing users to match the monitor’s refresh to that of movies viewed from Blu-ray disc media, 4K UHD streaming media and other video sources with lower than 60fps frame rates. Another thing worth mentioning here is the excellent input lag of the BDM4037UW. It sits at about 12ms, which is more than low enough for some very effective console gaming
We should also note that the Philips Brilliance BDM4037UW is a curved 4K monitor but the curvature itself is very gentle and when combined with this monitor’s 40 inch giant of a display, viewing of games, movies or any content from a distance of just 2 or 4 feet really does create an immersive feeling.
Philips has packed the Brilliance BDM4037UW monitor with connectivity ports and except for Apple fans who might be looking for an USB-C port or Thunderbolt connectivity, most users should be perfectly happy with what this PC display comes with. The following are the Brilliance monitor’s connectivity ports:
2 x DisplayPort 1.2
2x MHL-HDMI ports (1 HDMI 1.4 and 1 HDMI 2.0)
A 4-slot USB 3.0 hub, with one of the USB ports being equipped for fast-charging
1 x Audio Jack (In/Out)
Philips is selling the Brilliance BDM4037UW for a price of £589 in the U.K. and €749 in the Eurozone at this time. We don’t yet know about a U.S price but given the above European prices, we’re expecting it to retail for about $800, though it can be purchased for shipping from overseas.