Philips BDM3270 32-inch VA Monitor Review

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.

Product 360

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.

MORE: Best Computer Monitors

MORE: How To Choose A Monitor

MORE: Display Calibration 101

MORE: The Science Behind Tuning Your Monitor

MORE: All Monitor Content

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  • Anonymous
    Terrific black levels and contrast ratios there! Those are main things that I hate about IPS panels. Wish it was 4K though, since I'd rather not downgrade in PPI from the 27" 1440 display I got half a decade ago.
    -1
  • anort3
    Nice to see VA panels getting some love. I've had a 32" Samsung S32D850T for about 2 years now. It uses the same panel as the BenQ BL3200PT mentioned on the first page. I wouldn't trade the picture quality for anything and I use it primarily for gaming.
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  • sillynilly
    Nice review and panel - confused though you say it is selling for less than $700, but the link shows $379 (which is amazing if it is the same monitor). At that price point it is a great monitor for everyday use and I may be buying one to replace my old 1440 IPS used for daily tasks.

    EDIT: It is the same, but just not available for at least 1-2 months, which I read to mean as never. Maybe being phased out?
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  • WhyAreYou
    Looks like a nice monitor. Nice review and thanks!
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  • theusual
    Their manual says it can handle up to 76 hz vertical refresh rate. Have you attempted this?
    0
  • theusual
    Oops. I see that is at 1440x900. Only 60Hz at full resolution. I wouldn't want you to damage your monitor attempting it.
    0
  • mapesdhs
    It's a shame you've not reviewed the Philips BDM3275UP, an UHD model using similar technology.

    Re the page about the OSD, one thing is missing: are the menus decently readable? I've read compaints about this concerning Philips monitors on seller sites. Also, re the model I cite above, several owners report annoying vertical banding issues which required model replacement; did you see any sign of this with the 3270?

    Ian.

    PS. Please do something about these stupid popup videos, they are really annoying. They block the navigation menus and are visually very irritating. Whoever thought they were a good idea, they're wrong.
    1
  • uglyduckling81
    Anonymous said:

    PS. Please do something about these stupid popup videos, they are really annoying. They block the navigation menus and are visually very irritating. Whoever thought they were a good idea, they're wrong.


    Add NoScript to your Firefox browser. Allow tomshardware.com, ajax.googleapis.com, and best of media.com

    Add on Ublock Origin.

    You won't see videos or ads. Makes for a great browsing experience. Of course you have to set up which scripts to allow for each site you go to. WCCFTech for instance has about 30 scripts of which I allow 1 maybe 2 to get the full experience but still block all the spying and data wasting downloads.

    I'm on very limited download quota this year so every byte counts. Plus it speeds up my web page loading.
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  • wreck3r
    Which is the one reviewed, BDM3270QP2 or BDM3270QP ?
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  • hixbot
    I'm still waiting for a QHD/4k PVA 120hz+ panel with strobing and Gsync/freesync that isn't curved!
    I can't stand the contrast ratios of IPS, and I'm not interested in all these curved PVA gaming panels. I want a flat PVA gaming panel that is atleast QHD.
    -1
  • mapesdhs
    Anonymous said:
    Add NoScript to your Firefox browser. Allow tomshardware.com, ajax.googleapis.com, and best of media.com


    I'd rather sites just didn't use annoying popups in the first place. Makes it more likely users will go elsewhere.
    0
  • sunny420
    Thank you for the review. This monitor looks great. Being a gamer though, I just wish it was a little faster (Hz) with less lag (ms)..
    Maybe I missed it but, you stated your go-to monitor was a 27" 2560x1440. Which one?
    Also, it was compared only to other IPS type panels and it would have been nice to see a comparison to another VA monitor, such as the BenQ BL3200PT or Asus PB328Q. Perhaps they were not available.
    1
  • Niva
    Yes the pop-ups are terrible. Recently on my phone I clicked on a th link from facebook and redirected me to some virus ridden website within seconds. I'm reconsidering my regular visitations now.
    0
  • mapesdhs
    Anonymous said:
    Thank you for the review. This monitor looks great. Being a gamer though, I just wish it was a little faster (Hz) with less lag (ms). ...


    Unless you're on the edge of performance FPS gaming, you'll never notice it. People comment a lot about lag wrt IPS panels, but not from personal experience. I've been using a 1920x1200 IPS for several years, it's great for gaming. I could never tolerate the narrow viewing angles of TN. I want to move up to 4K, but only if I can get a decent IPS, hence my mention of the other Philips model which I've been considering. I don't know much about VA panels though; my one concern are comments I've read about vertical banding on Philips VA models.

    Ian.
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  • drkolo
    if im correct this monitor was release in 2015, maybe a new verion with BDM3270QP"2" ?
    it has good feedback indeed and one bad point concerning touch buttons for settings which are too sensitive. I dont know if they fixed it.
    0
  • mapesdhs
    I've seen the same comments made about the newer UHD model i mentioned, re the overly sensitive buttons, so presumably it's still a problem.
    0
  • burniemac
    What is the motion blur like on this monitor. My old 23@ HD IPS display is terrible for motion blur and any dark scenes are ruined by ghosting and blur.

    How does this monitor perform when watching video?
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  • mapesdhs
    Sad to report the 32" 4K model I mentioned has vanished from the seller site I referenced. Weird, I thought it was a new model.
    0
  • nlevitas
    This is a paper release. They produced a few for site reviews. They gave some to Amazon to gain legitimacy and to get some real consumer reviews. Today is March 8 2017. Try to buy one. Amazon drop 1 to 2 months wait time to temporarily out of stock after I asked them if this is a paper release. $700 mentioned in the article is a reasonable price considering Dell 30" IPS with real PRO colors $879. But Amazon advertised $379 price was too good to be true. I would not expect this from Philips. Toms Hardware cannot know and question companies about this. But this practice is unfortunately not the first. May be they should take a note for future reviews
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  • Tom Griffin
    I would love to have this monitor since I use an IDE all the time developing software; the desktop real estate and the rest of the jazz is just icing on the cake.
    0