We’ve long touted the virtues of VA panels. With wide dynamic range and super low black levels, image quality is head-and-shoulders above run-of-the-mill IPS and TN monitors. Unfortunately, they haven’t enjoyed the market penetration of the more traditional technologies. One obstacle to their progress is resolution. QHD is currently the highest pixel count you can easily find. But since we prize contrast above resolution, VA will always have a leg up on the competition.
Our current go-to screen is 27" and has QHD (2560x1440) resolution. That pixel density is ideal for workaday tasks and gaming alike. But we’ll never turn down the chance to put a 32" panel on the test bench. We’ve seen superb examples in the past like BenQ’s excellent BL3200PT. Today we’re looking at Philips’ BDM3270. It’s not an entirely new product, but it is updated from last year’s model with a factory calibration and some of the best color accuracy we’ve ever seen.
The BDM3270 is billed as a professional monitor, and although it lacks an Adobe RGB gamut option, it qualifies in every other way. A factory calibration data sheet is included with each sample showing proper adherence to a D65 white point and color gamut errors under 3dE with an average of less than 2dE. We’ll end the suspense now: our sample exceeded its factory measurements by a significant margin.
Philips employs a very high contrast VA panel that measures almost 6000:1 in its default state. There is brightness to spare too. Unlike other 32-inchers we’ve reviewed, this one'll crank out over 300cd/m2, well above its claimed 250.
The backlight is a white LED arrayed at the edges of the screen. It’s flicker-free at all brightness levels, so no need to be concerned about eye fatigue. Color depth is 10-bits native with an internal 12-bit look-up table. Banding will not be an issue with the BDM3270.
Feature wise, this display is packed with everything a graphics pro could need. And the price at this writing is less than $700. It looks like an almost perfect monitor for whatever you'd ask of it. Gamers will decry its lack of adaptive-refresh or high speed, but outside the entertainment sphere, the BDM looks like a potential home run. Let’s take a look.
Packaging, Physical Layout & Accessories
The carton is quite large and could be mistaken for an ultra-wide screen on first glance. The panel, base, and upright are separated by Styrofoam and plastic wrap. It’ll be difficult for shippers to damage this monitor without major effort.
The power supply is internal, so you get an IEC cord. You also get DVI, DisplayPort, and VGA cables along with USB 3.0 and an analog audio connector. There’s no CD in the box, but we quickly found and downloaded the user manual from Philips’ website. Assembly requires a Phillips-head screwdriver to attach the upright to the panel. It doesn’t simply snap on like most other monitors. The base attaches with a captive bolt to create a hefty and solid package.
Any 32” monitor requires substantial desktop space and the BDM3270 is no exception. The base is quite large both in width and depth. You won’t have any fears of a tip-over here. The anti-glare layer is shinier than most, and because of its prodigious area, requires careful placement to avoid unwanted reflections. The upside is that it’s extremely clear and sharp. The finest picture details pop from the screen providing an almost visceral experience.
OSD controls consist of small touch-sensitive keys at the bezel’s lower right. They operate with precision, but as always, we wished for a joystick. Luckily you won’t have to do much in the menu besides adjust brightness. Calibration is definitely not required here.
The upright offers firm and precise adjustments. Height moves through a range of 7", and you get 170° of swivel in each direction along with 20° of back tilt and 5° forward plus a portrait mode. The stand and its associated hardware are equal to any high-end monitor we’ve worked with. If you want to use your own mount, 100mm VESA mount lugs are provided.
On the side is a large USB hub with an upstream port and four downstream ones. Two are version 3.0 and two are version 2.0. One can charge devices when the monitor is turned off. On the bottom are the video inputs which include one each of DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA. Analog audio is supported with a single 3.5mm input and a headphone output.
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