The future is curved displays right? Be that on TV’s, smartphones or monitors, the world wants less sharp edges on its electronics, of that there can be no argument. When it comes to PC displays, this decision has a number of positives, especially when it comes coupled with a QHD ultra-wide form factor. Let’s take a look at the latest one of these to land in the office, the Philips 349X7FJEW.
The first thing I found compelling on this particular product over competing ones is the aesthetic. I have a Black & White (mostly Black) theme in my home office and this ultra-wide with striking wide bezels and a futuristic metallic stand really looks the part. It doesn’t bother any OLED TV’s in the skinny stakes with a rather rotund depth, but this is shrouded by the design, and the stand that accompanies it. It’s actual dimensions are 810mm x 444mm x 292mm, and it has an acceptable weight of over 8kg. The only real downside for some is the material choice; glossy plastic. I understand this from a weight perspective too, and frankly it looks just as nice as any painted metal – just don’t feel it too often.
The backlit clear ‘Philips’ logo is a nice touch but after a while it can be off-putting and by the good grace of Philips, there is an option to turn this back-light off in the OSD.
The stand, as I mentioned earlier is a nice design which compliments the display, and provides a sturdy VESA mount that is as easy to connect as it is detachable, and doesn’t allow for much wobbly. There’s height adjustment for days here as well as an acceptable amount of tilt, but sadly (but understandably) no swivel options. Overall a nice first impression.
This isn’t a cheap display. At pushing £800 depending on the outlet, this has to have some serious cutting edge features in order to justify the cost in the minds of the consumers, and for me, it just about does that.
Specifications – Philips 349X7FJEW
- LCD panel type – VA LCD
- Backlight type – W-LED system
- Panel Size – 34 inch / 86.36 cm
- Colour gamut (typical) – NTSC 99.8%*, sRGB 117.3%*
- Effective viewing area – 797.22 (H) x 333.72 (V) – at a 1800 R curvature*
- Aspect ratio – 21:9
- Optimum resolution – 3440 x 1440 @ 60 Hz
- Pixel Density – 109.68 PPI
- Response time (typical) – 4 ms (Grey to Grey)*
- Brightness – 300 cd/m²
- Contrast ratio (typical) – 3000:1
- SmartContrast – 50,000,000:1
- Pixel pitch – 0.232 x 0.232 mm
- Viewing angle
- 178º (H)/178º (V)
- @ C/R > 10
- Flicker-free – Yes
- Picture enhancement – SmartImage game
- Display colours – 16.7 M
- Scanning Frequency – 58 – 148 kHz (H) / 40 – 100 Hz (V)
- sRGB – Yes
- FreeSync – Yes
Let’s take a look at some of the detail first. The panel has some Gamut chops delivering 100 % of sRGB and 80% of AdobeRGB colour spaces. Content creators, to a certain level, will be happy with this display. If you use your display mostly in the dark, you’re in luck here as the blacks are more than good enough but the brightness is a little lacking at around 300nits. It’s good enough unless you have daylight coming in and hitting your display, then you’re going to have a bad time. Additionally the uniformity of the brightness is a little off too to my eyes. There seems to be some brightness bleed at the top of the display.
For inputs the Philips 349X7FJEW delivers single HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 ports, along with a DisplayPort 1.2 and four USB 3.0 ports one of which delivers fast charging of a connected device. There’s also the audio connectivity here with SPDIF, 3.5mm out and in options.
Gamers might cast a raised eyebrow at this display due to the 4ms response time, but it’s not a TN panel. Philips has you covered with Freesync though (if you’re team RED). You’ll need one of AMD’s finest if you’re going to take advantage of the active sync technology here.
Media consumption on the device is good with little ghosting in 21:9 1440p content, but the audio is lacking due to the built-in 5W. I still maintain it’s great to have built-in speakers so regardless of whether they are a poor substitute for a surround sound system, I’d prefer a minimalist offering and to add my own additions if my use case requires it. The speakers here are fine for a bit of light music playback and some YouTube consumption.
The OSD on the display has a relatively simplistic menu structure which is a blessing when coming from some high-end gaming-focused products. It is controlled by an intuitive joystick, but I’d prefer to use Philips’ SmartControl software option here to deliver some of the features of the manual offering. The OSD is acceptable though.
So, everything so far has come up trumps right? Not for the down side – kind of. Whilst the power requirements of a 34″ ultra-wide display are expected to be higher than a normal panel, and they are but only by a little (actually really good for the panel), the included power back is nothing short of a Nokia-rivalling brick. Seriously, look at that thing! Thankfully it connects to an additional lead which can be routed out of sight to the monitor itself, but that’s still a big hefty unit.
That said, I really don’t want to hand this unit back. I’ve enjoyed replacing my duial 27″ Dell units with this and it did me well for both productivity and gaming as my rig can’t really handle much above 60fps in the latest tripe-A titles anyway. I’d have liked to have seen a G-Sync option for sale, and a better brightness point, but the contrast does well at bridging that latter negative to my eyes.
For me, there are a couple of selling points on this device that make it compelling. First, it’s a 34″ ultra-wide – what’s not to be happy about? Secondly, there’s the design. Clearly inspired by the working professional with a minimalist SOHO, the Philips 349X7FJEW is a lovely looking piece of kit with a svelte curve, and angled mount that is very pretty to my eyes. The resolution is acceptable for 2017, and will serve most who buy into it well for the next few years. Equally, the integrated USB hub is a nice to have but we’d like to have seen some USB Type-C/Thunderbolt action on-board for those peripherals.
A great all rounder and whilst not a cheap option, it will deliver for those that stump up the cash!