Philips 436M6VBPAB Momentum 43-Inch 4K FreeSync Monitor Review: Better Than a TV

Some people won't game with anything other than a super-sized screen. A 32-inch monitor won’t do when a 50-inch Ultra HD (UHD) TV can be had for less than $1,000. But gaming on a TV comes with a few compromises, including high input lag and a lack of DisplayPort or adaptive sync technology, like Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync.

Philips attempts to fill this market gap with the Philips 436M6VBPAB Momentum (436M6), a 43-inch VA panel with 4,000:1 static contrast, UHD resolution, FreeSync, HDR and a 1,000-nit backlight. With a price tag of $959.99 / £747.99, it costs less than many smaller UHD monitors. Does it have the chops to immerse gamers in a jumbo screen gaming world? Let’s take a look.

The first thing you’ll notice with the 436M6 is how much desk space it demands. It’s not significantly wider than a 38-inch, 21:9 display, but it’s nearly twice as tall. The amount of screen real estate will be an eye-opener for those used to even a 32-inch panel, like me. I sat 30 inches away and couldn’t take it all in. You’ll want to push it back to around 40 inches away from you, if not more.

Specifications

Brand & ModelPhilips 436M6VBPAB Momentum
Panel Type / BacklightVA / blue LED with quantum dot film edge array
Screen Size / Aspect Ratio42.5 inches / 16:9
Max Resolution & Refresh3840x2160 @ 60Hz
Density: 103ppi
FreeSync refresh rate: 23-60Hz
Native Color Depth / Gamut10-bit (8-bit+FRC) / DCI-P3
Response Time (GTG)4ms
BrightnessSDR: 400 nits
HDR: 1,000 nits
Contrast4,000:1
Speakers2x 7w, DTS-tuned
Video Inputs2 DisplayPort 1.4 (including 1x Mini)
1x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB-C
Audio3.5mm in and out
USB3.0: 2x down
Power Consumption71w with brightness @ 200 nits
Panel Dimensions
(WxHxD w/base)
38.5 x 26 x 10.4 inches
978 x 660 x 262mm
Panel Thickness2.5 inches / 63mm
Bezel WidthTop/sides: .7 inch / 18mm
Bottom: .9 inch / 24mm
Weight32.4lbs / 14.7kg
WarrantyThree years

Another issue to consider is pixel density. 3840 x 2160 is the highest monitor resolution generally available. But when spread out over a large area, the pixel density is less than that of a 27-inch QHD monitor. If I sat close enough to the Philips, I could see see individual pixels. Tweaking Windows 10’s font scaling, I settled on 125 percent as the ideal sizing, and the image always looked clear, whether it consisted of fine text, icons or graphics.

The monitor also works fine as a TV if you don’t need a streaming interface or channel tuner. It has an HDMI 2.0 port and supports HDCP 2.2 content protection. We’ve seen some user comments saying that it won’t work with a UHD Blu-ray player; however, in our tests, it interfaced flawlessly with a Philips BDP-7501 and did a nice job playing our 4K/UHD copy of Oceans 8.

Unpacking & Accessories

The 436M6 doesn’t require assembly, but don’t forget to unpack the remote control too. The power supply is internal, so Philips provides an IEC power cord along with cables for USB-C, HDMI and DisplayPort. A printed quick start guide is also included and more detailed documentation is available on Philips’ website.

Product 360

Furthering the TV comparisons is the monitor’s wide, shiny bezel and large metal stand. It’s quite solid and seems unlikely to tip over. The only ergonomic adjustment is tilt, with a fulcrum is near the bottom of the panel. A screen this large is best left perfectly vertical though, since you can’t adjust its height. Bracket users should note that the rear VESA mount is 200 mm rather than the usual 100 mm bracket found in most monitors.

A competent anti-glare layer kept reflections at bay during our use and provided sharp image with no grain or distortion. The on-screen display (OSD) control is a single joystick found in the back about halfway up. Press it for power and you can access the menus. The better way to manipulate settings though is the slick, little remote. It is very intuitive, though not backlit, and responsive. The remote has a few hotkeys for input selection and picture modes and convenient rockers for brightness and speaker volume.

Speaking of speakers, the built-in units pump out an impressive 7 watts and play much louder than typical monitors. That’s likely due to the extra breathing room they’re afforded by the large chassis. DTS tuning helps improve sound quality even further.

Philips’ Ambiglow feature casts a soft lighting effect onto your desk. You can control its brightness and color through it ability to match color with the on-screen image. It’s subtle, but I missed it when it wasn’t on.

Video inputs include a single HDMI 2.0 port with HDCP 2.2 content protection, two DisplayPort 1.4 connectors (one is Mini) and USB-C. There are also two downstream USB 3.0 ports. Audio is covered by two 3.5mm jacks: one in and one out.

OSD Features

When you first open the OSD, you might think there are no picture modes. But if you press the lower-left button on the remote, a dedicated SmartImage menu appears. It includes seven presets, one of which improves screen uniformity but reduces contrast by 25 percent--our sample was fine in that department, so we avoided that mode. The default setting is Off, and that’s where you’ll find the best color accuracy for both sRGB and DCI-P3 gamuts. The 436M6, like many modern displays, includes a low blue light feature.

In the Picture menu, you’ll find the usual luminance controls, along with dynamic contrast, overdrive, five gamma presets and sharpness. The monitor’s accurate without adjusting these sliders, except for brightness. which you’ll want to turn way down to find a comfortable level. Output is prodigious; at the default setting of 70, we measured over 400 nits. Another setting to pay attention to here is HDR mode. When an HDR10 signal is preset, you’ll want to set it to VESA HDR 1000. This provides the best contrast and most accurate color. All other settings are grayed out for HDR..

Calibration isn’t necessary, but the Color menu has seven color temp presets, an sRGB mode and RGB sliders. sRGB mode is the only way to dial down the color for SDR. Users who want extra saturation will certainly want DCI-P3. But if accuracy is the goal, choose sRGB.

Setup and Calibration

The 436M6 is plug-and-play when it comes to color accuracy. Turning the default SmartImage mode off is the best way to get spot-on grayscale, gamma and gamut measurements. The native gamut is DCI-P3, which may look oversaturated for standard signals and PC apps. Games will also see extra vividness, which may look unnatural unless a title is specifically coded for extended color. To see the sRGB color space, choose that option in the Color Temp menu. It also hits all the correct targets.

The backlight is extremely bright, even in SDR mode, so you’ll want to lower it quite a bit if 200 nits is the goal. We made a few changes to the RGB sliders and saw a tiny gain in grayscale accuracy. But doing that locked the monitor into DCI-P3 color mode, so calibration represents something of a compromise. For HDR content, there are no adjustments except for the HDR mode, which should be set to VESA HDR 1000 for best results.

Here are the settings we used for testing.

SmartImage

Off

Brightness 200 nits

24

Brightness 120 nits

9

Brightness 100 nits

4

Brightness 78 nits

0

Contrast

50

Gamma

2.2

Color Temp User

Red 100, Green 94, Blue 94

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  • skoalreaver
    Low refresh rate leviathan. No thanks
  • hannibal
    Nice!
    I would consider, though 36" would be more likely to fit better to my usage... but can the screen ever be too big? Most likely not ;)
    Best 4K so far have to say!
  • engineer5261
    60 hz? I guess I'll stick with my 200hz acer.
  • Ninjawithagun
    FreeSync = FAIL. No AMD card can run games at 4K with playable frame rates. How about make this unit with G-Sync? Now that would be a win.
  • cryoburner
    Anonymous said:
    FreeSync = FAIL. No AMD card can run games at 4K with playable frame rates. How about make this unit with G-Sync? Now that would be a win.

    A Vega 64 is similar in power to a GTX 1080, and while that might not provide ideal performance for maintaining 60+fps in some of the latest games at 4K with ultra settings, those games should certainly be "playable", and FreeSync should prevent any dips below 60fps from being too noticeable, which is entirely what it's there for. If your graphics card were always pushing out 60+fps, then you wouldn't have much need for adaptive sync in either form on this screen. And of course, AMD's 7nm cards should be coming before too long, likely with some significant performance and efficiency gains. And how about Intel's dedicated cards, which should be coming within the next couple years or so? Do you really think they're going to support Nvidia's proprietary form of adaptive sync over an open standard? I wouldn't even be surprised if Nvidia begins supporting FreeSync eventually.

    Personally, 4K doesn't interest me much though, as I would rather have a somewhat lower resolution at higher frame rates on a high refresh-rate display, and not have to constantly struggle to maintain good frame rates on high-end graphics cards.
  • 80-watt Hamster
    Anonymous said:
    FreeSync = FAIL. No AMD card can run games at 4K with playable frame rates. How about make this unit with G-Sync? Now that would be a win.


    Why wouldn't they include FreeSync? It's trivial to implement, and it's something else to put in the feature list. Besides, nothing's saying one has to game at the panel's full native resolution.

    My honest, potentially naive question is: When not-terrible 4K TVs are now available for less than 500USD, what is it about being a PC monitor that makes it double the cost? Sales volume?
  • crysisenthusiast
    The review sample you got was cherry picked. People who have actually bought this monitor are experiencing awful backlight bleeding. Pic here: https://imgur.com/a/SLvMavz