Philips Brilliance 272p4 WQHD monitor hands-on preview and photos

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After the rather disappointing encounter with the Philips 298P4QJEB business monitor, we got hold of another model from the same manufacturer, the Philips Brillance 272p which costs almost the same but has a much higher pixel count and much better build quality compared to its sibling.

There are two models on the UK market, both of which were announced at Cebit 2013 earlier this year. The more expensive model, the one we’re looking at today, comes with three USB 3.0 ports as well as an integrated webcam and a microphone, making it ideal for desktop video conferencing.

The rest of its spec sheet is what we’d expect from a top of the range monitor. PLS LCD technology (true-colour sRGB images and 8-bit colour depth), a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution (which is still less than Apple’s MacBook Pro Retina Display resolution), a 300cd/m^2 brightness, a contrast ratio of 20m:1 (that dynamic), two 2W speakers, a pixel pitch of 0.233 x 0.233mm, a response time of 6ms and PIP/PbP mode.

Other than the USB 3.0 ports, the other connectors include DVI Dual-Link (Digital/HDCP), DisplayPort as well as two HDMI ports. Like Philips’ 29in monitor, the 272p4 comes with a big base (SmartErgoBase) which allows it to be more stable and capable of numerous adjustments including tilt, swivel and a 90 degrees pivot functionality (portrait mode).

We used the Philips Brilliance 272p in an office environment and therefore didn’t test it as a leisure display. No movie watching and definitely no fast-pace gaming. We managed to get it to work on our laptop’s HDMI out port which allowed us to run two WQHD monitors in tandem, definitely something that’s impressive. Pushing 7.37 million pixels is nothing to be sniffed at.

Physically, the monitor feels solid with a fairly conservative look. We like the fact that the bezel is matte rather than glossy. Working in an environment where lighting conditions can vary considerably during the day (Londoners will certainly concur), we’ve come to appreciate this small but important details.

A tiny webcam with one microphone on each sides resides at the top of the monitor and two power sensors (which help the monitor reduce energy costs by switching off automatically when the user is not present) next to touch-sensitive keys which control the straight-forward OSD.

Not that you will need to access onscreen display often. Picture quality is definitely on par with other 27in WQHD monitors we’ve played with in the past, even with the default set up with SmartImage off (enabling that feature will load colour profiles that Philips believes will suit certain setups like gaming, economy, game, photos etc).

We like the anti-glare finish which makes the overall experience more enjoyable. Colours are rich without being overwhelmingly saturated, blacks were solid and clean and details came out very well without any noticeable clouding.

Also, for some reason as well, we encountered some odd behaviour when we connected our wireless USB mouse and keyboard to the integrated USB 3.0 hub on the monitor. It kept getting a “USB device not recognized” message which kept appearing unless you ignored it. Annoying but something I can live with.

The only remaining issue is that of price. The 272P4QPJKEB carries a suggested retail price of £520 but you can grab it from Insight for just over £476, a £44 discount.

That is still way more expensive than the competition. Laptopsdirect for example sells the Dell U2713HM for under £400 while Overclockers flogs the DGM IPS-2701WPH and the Hazro HZ27WB for £379.99 each. Still none of them offer USB 3.0 connectivity or full pivot functionality.

All in all, we like the 272P4Q a lot, more than the previous 21:9 monitor from Philips and can wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone looking for a WQHD display that offers much more than mere basics but for a small premium.

If you want to run two WQHD displays on your laptop (via a HDMI and a D-Sub connector), why not read the featured article I wrote about how to do it in four steps. Note you will need to have a laptop that comes with the two aforementioned ports and two displays that feature either of these ports.