Philips BDM3270 32-inch VA Monitor Review

Brightness & Contrast

To read about our monitor tests in depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs.  Brightness and Contrast testing is covered on page two.

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Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

Jumbo monitors are a bit under-represented in our database, but we reached back and found the Dell UP3017 and NEC PA320W, 30" 16:10 screens with 2560x1600 resolution. We're also including BenQ’s PV3200PT, an Ultra HD model. In the 27" category we have the BenQ PD2700Q and Nixeus’ PRO Vue 27P. All the screens are high-end business class or professional in nature.

Philips’ website lists the BDM3270’s max output at 250cd/m2, but we got over 300cd/m2 from our sample. Many large screens can’t reach the 350cd/m2 level, but this one comes close. It’s more than enough brightness for any task that takes place indoors. If you need something for a location photo shoot outdoors, the NEC might a better choice.

VA is all about black levels, and Philips seems to have the market cornered with this monitor. In anything other than total darkness, you can’t even tell the screen is turned on. This is why its contrast is over 5700:1. You won’t find that kind of performance from most televisions let alone computer monitors. The resulting image depth is quite stunning.

Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level

Setting the brightness slider to zero offers up an almost-perfect 48.4680cd/m2 with black levels that could be mistaken for a plasma TV. Gaming in a room with the lights out is an almost magical experience. Blacks are truly black, and there is plenty of detail even in the deepest shadows. And contrast is still over 5000:1. It’s not quite as consistent as what we see from other panels, but the difference from top to bottom works out to about 11%, a barely visible change.

After Calibration to 200cd/m2

One of the BDM3270’s SmartImage modes is called SmartUniformity, and it compensates for screen uniformity issues by manipulating brightness in specific zones. We aren’t fans of this feature in most monitors because it reduces output and contrast. In Philips’ case, output is lower by 24%, but contrast is almost exactly the same. This demonstrates careful engineering and attention to detail. Our sample didn’t need help in the uniformity department, but it’s nice to know the feature is well-implemented here.

Calibration reduces contrast by 22% which would be a bummer on any other display. But since the BDM has such great out-of-box accuracy, we recommend leaving the RGB sliders alone and simply using the monitor in its default state. You’ll see on the next page that adjustment provides no benefit to grayscale, gamma, or color quality.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

Although SmartUniformity doesn’t affect sequential contrast, it does reduce the ANSI result by 22%, which is another reason to avoid it. The good part is that after calibration, intra-image contrast is actually higher, which is something we almost never see. The BDM3270 is using an exceptional panel part, and among computer monitors of all classes and price points, it has no equal in the contrast department.

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26 comments
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • WhyAreYou
    Looks like a nice monitor. Nice review and thanks!
  • theusual
    Their manual says it can handle up to 76 hz vertical refresh rate. Have you attempted this?
  • theusual
    Oops. I see that is at 1440x900. Only 60Hz at full resolution. I wouldn't want you to damage your monitor attempting it.
  • 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.
  • uglyduckling81
    117741 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.
  • wreck3r
    Which is the one reviewed, BDM3270QP2 or BDM3270QP ?
  • 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.
  • mapesdhs
    464372 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • mapesdhs
    979031 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Purtzel
    There seems to be indeed something out of place regarding this review/product, and i would be glad if the author could clarify a couple of things:

    1) The monitor seems to be commercially available, as it has buyer reviews on Amazon.de and CoolBlue.nl - BUT the model offered seems to be the BDM3270QP2/00 and BDM3270QP2 respectively.
    - Question: Is any of those two variants the same with the tested device?

    2) On PHILIPS' product page, and on the promotional material of the monitor, the static contrast ratio is clearly stated to be 3000:1, the usual number for your average VA panel. So, nothing on its specs sheet, or even the price of it suggests it could reach the stellar contrast of 5700:1 measured during this review.
    - Question: Was there an error during the test process, or did PHILIPS provide a test sample that is different than the commercially available devices?

    The answer is actually very important:
    If the monitors i can buy from Amazon and CoolBlue really offer a contrast > 5000:1, i will buy one immediately.
    If not, it's just another VA monitor to consider, nothing special though.

    I would LOVE to know the truth - Christian, can you help?
  • Purtzel
    Digging further, the French site Lesnumeriques.com reviewed the BDM3270QP mid 2015, and they report an uncalibrated contrast of 2990:1, which became 2820:1 after calibration.
    This seems more on par with VA monitors of this price range. Then again, it's a year and a half old review - did PHILIPS make a new version with a vastly improved panel, or is it a mistake in numbers?
    And if the test device is indeed a new, improved version, why does it have the same name? Confusing...
  • mapesdhs
    Sonicpromo, just curious, what's your rationale for the downvote? Wondering what part of my post you found objectionable. Happy to consider counter opinions if backed up by facts and evidence.
  • anort3
    117741 said:
    Sonicpromo, just curious, what's your rationale for the downvote? Wondering what part of my post you found objectionable. Happy to consider counter opinions if backed up by facts and evidence.


    Don't even try to understand the random downvote from someone who hasn't even posted in the thread. That person hasn't done anything but downvote on this site since 2015 when they made a few posts they were apparently ashamed of and tried to delete. Typical internet troll. ;)