Fill your vision, and your desktop.
After Samsung broke the mold with its 49-inch super ultrawide CHG90 (review), plenty of other manufacturers have rushed to get in on the fun. However, unlike the offerings we’ve reviewed from Samsung and Viotek (review), Philips has opted for a higher resolution, lower refresh rate display in its $1,300 499P9H (See it on Amazon/ See it on Amazon UK). I tried it out to see if it was worth that heaping pile of cash.
Philips 499P9H – Design and Features
I knew the 499P was going to be a big monitor, but nothing quite prepares you for unboxing a 49-inch behemoth like this. My desk had just enough room to fit this sucker on the surface, and it was better-looking than I imagined it would be. It’s like having two 16:9 displays, but without any nasty bezels breaking up the screen (which, by the way, makes for some gorgeous wallpaper setups).
The square metal stand is wide enough to keep things sturdy, and its tilt, swivel, and height adjustments are smooth as butter. The OSD controls use traditional buttons along the bottom rather than a joystick, which I’d call “fine.” You can, however, create your own custom shortcuts with it, or use the included remote control for easier tweaking.
When it comes to the actual display tech, Philips went in less of a “gaming” direction than its competitors. Instead of 1080p at 144Hz, it used a VA panel with a higher 1440p resolution and a refresh rate of only 60Hz. That may seem low, but when you consider how tough it is to drive 5120×1440 pixels in a game, you’ll need a pretty beefy graphics card to keep up even at 60Hz, so if you want that higher pixel density, it’s a worthy tradeoff.
When it comes to the actual display tech, Philips went in less of a “gaming” direction than its competitors.
With FreeSync built-in, you won’t have to worry about occasional FPS dips, since the display can adjust the refresh rate to avoid screen tearing. An 1800R curve helps the monitor envelop your field of view, and HDR400 capabilities allow you to eke out a slightly better image in games and movies that support it, though with low peak brightness and no local dimming features, it isn’t exactly a game-changing feature.
It’s clear Philips didn’t intend this to be solely a gaming monitor, though. It also positions itself as a great home office display: IO is abundant, with two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4, an Ethernet port, a headphone jack, and plenty of USB ports. This allows you to plug all your peripherals (mouse and keyboard, ethernet, and so on) into the monitor, then “dock” your laptop or desktop with a single USB-C cable.
In addition, the built-in KVM switch allows you to use those peripherals with multiple PCs—it even has a “multi-view” feature that allows you to plug in two PCs and view their screens side-by-side on the double wide display. A pop-up webcam hides behind the display that you can invoke when you need it for chatting or logging in with Windows Hello, then pop back into place for privacy.
In other words, the 499P9H is like having two 1440p monitors, but way more sleek and convenient.
Philips 499P9H – Testing
To see how this monitor performed, I ran it through some of Lagom’s LCD test patterns, and most of the results were quite good. Black levels were right where they should be, with the darkest shades being just distinguishable enough from reference black—which is decently dark thanks to the VA panel.
White saturation was just a little high, even with the contrast turned down, but gamma was at the desired 2.2 mark, and gradients produced no visible banding.
The 499P’s viewing angle is not perfect, as is to be expected with VA panels, but when staring at it dead center, you shouldn’t notice any major issues, with only the very edges producing slightly distorted colors thanks to the crazy wide aspect ratio.
Like other VA panels, response time was mediocre, producing noticeable flickering in Lagom’s test pattern. However, turning up Philips’ overdrive feature—which it calls SmartResponse—helped significantly (unlike on Philips’ budget 326E, where the feature seems to do nothing in my testing). I found the highest SmartResponse setting produced some visual artifacts in Blur Busters’ UFO test, so I left it on the second highest setting for the best balance. Your preference may vary depending on your sensitivity to ghosting in-game.
Philips 499P9H – Gaming
Overall, I found the 499P great for games of all stripes. The refresh rate may not be as high as other gaming monitors, but with so many pixels to drive, I found it didn’t matter—I had to turn lots of settings down to get even close to 60 FPS, and in some cases, I even had to turn the resolution down to 3840×1080 thanks to my midrange GPU, which is a Radeon RX 580.
If you have a higher-end GPU, you’ll probably be able to get better performance out of this display, but even at 1080p, I thought games looked great, and FreeSync is always a welcome addition when framerate lies on the knife’s edge of your monitor’s capabilities. Ghosting was very minor, especially with SmartResponse set properly, and I didn’t notice any serious motion issues.
At first, I was a little put off by the 32:9 aspect ratio in games, with the fisheye-like effect on the edges of the screen looking a little unnatural. Movement almost made me feel a little queasy, too, since the display was so large, but after a half hour or so, I started getting used to it. It’s tempting to look at the edges of the monitor as you move around, but the key—for me, at least—was to keep my focus dead center, allowing the edges to add just a bit of extra immersion to my peripheral vision.
I can’t say it was hugely different from a traditional ultrawide, since those extra pixels are outside that field of focus, but it is definitely a step up. Whether that’s worth the extra cost—both in the display and in the video card required to drive it—is up to you. When it comes to gaming, I’d be almost as happy with a regular 21:9 ultrawide, or the $300 cheaper CHG90 super ultrawide.
Philips gives the best of both worlds.
But I use my computer for other stuff, too, and the Philips gives the best of both worlds: the serious real estate of dual 1440p monitors for desktop work, with the extra gaming immersion of a wide bezel-less display. (Or the ability to run a game at 16:9 with streaming, Discord, or other apps on either side.) I’ve never used a monitor that could handle both work and play with such aplomb, and as a result, it’s probably my favorite monitor I’ve ever reviewed—despite its minor sacrifices in refresh rate.
The Philips 499P9H has an MSRP of $1299.99 and it’s usually the same price online.