What is the Philips 436M6VBPAB?
The Philips 436M6VBPAB is a massive 43-inch 4K monitor designed specifically for use with game consoles. Essentially, it is a living room television but optimized for players, and with the TV tuner removed.
To whom would such a device appeal? Well, if you are happy with the use of a decoder for your TV needs, then it is for anyone who just wants to get the most out of their console games.
In addition to its lack of a TV tuner, a couple of other things set it apart from any normal TV. The first one is the DisplayHDR 1000 certification, which means it offers a true HDR (high dynamic range) image. In addition, it has adaptive synchronization technology that will ensure that your games are free of tearing and stuttering of the image, allowing you to enjoy a smooth and responsive game.
I went directly to the launch event to see more closely.  Related: The best gaming monitors
Philips 436M6VBPAB – Design and features
The 436M6VBPAB has a fairly typical TV design, instead of resembling an extended computer monitor. Instead of a support with a central column, it has an elegant angular support that connects at two points towards the edge of the screen. The black matte plastic of most monitors has also been replaced by shiny plastic and there are none of the more "extravagant" design elements of monitors like the Asus PG348Q.
In general, it looks quite nice, even if the shiny plastic frame is a bit lackluster. Fundamentally, it has very narrow and low profile bevels that give the whole set a certain elegance.
For physical characteristics, there is not a lot of things happening. In addition to the huge 43-inch LCD panel, on the front there is only one power light, a Philips logo and the remote sensor.
Meanwhile, in the back there are holes to mount the screen on a wall and, of course, connectivity, which looks down from the hump on the back.
You get a full-size DisplayPort 1.2, mini DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, USB-C, USB 3.0, PC audio input and headphone output. The lack of multiple HDMI inputs is a bit worrisome, because despite being a monitor, it is designed to replace a television, so it is expected that it can house at least one decoder and a game console, and ideally it would have a total of three or four HDMI for any other device you might have, such as a Chromecast.
Hidden inside the monitor you will also find a pair of 7W speakers that include DTS Sound Processing.
They are also hidden, until you turn them on, Ambiglow lights. This is a series of LEDs that extend along the bottom of the lower edge of the screen and glow synchronized with what is displayed on the screen. The idea is to create a more enveloping atmosphere, as if what is on the screen spills into the room around you. It's not the most striking effect, but it's a little extra.
Philips 436M6VBPAB – The screen and the OSD
The screen itself has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, so you can get the full 4K experience of the likes of Xbox One X and PS4 Pro.
Uses a VA type LCD panel, unlike TN or IPS, and this comes with a couple of key advantages and disadvantages. The benefit is a good viewing angle from right to left and excellent native contrast. In general, VA screens can produce contrast ratios of around 2000: 1, while IPS and TN screens can not go much beyond 1000: 1. As such, this screen is already a step ahead when it comes to produce a true HDR experience.
Related: What is HDR?
The disadvantages of VA are that it has a relatively slow response time. Philips claims a response time of 4 ms, but I tend to find that VA screens with 4 ms response times still feel a bit more prone to being fuzzy than IPS or TN displays. On the other hand, for 60 Hz console games this should not be a problem, you will only notice the difference in the 144Hz + PC games.
The other drawback is that, compared to IPS screens, the vertical viewing angles are not. Not so good. However, this was not something that was immediately obvious in my preview tests: it looked very good from any angle.
Meanwhile, when it comes to that very important HDR, this screen has a crucial characteristic. Well, 32 of them, in fact.
To achieve something similar to a true HDR experience, any LCD needs to have a backlight that can light up or darken according to the image. This is achieved by dividing the backlight into zones.
The likes of the Samsung CHG90 claimed to have HDR support, but it only had six zones, which are too few to be of practical use.
The 436M6VBPAB, however, has 32 zones. This means that, at least, this screen can reduce the brightness when watching widescreen movies that have black bars at the top and bottom, while for games it means that there is much more opportunity to show a significant difference in the brightness of the screen. one part of the image to another.
However, the backlight does not have full matrix local attenuation, but uses edge lighting, so we still have to figure out exactly how the brightness change is performed.
One thing that makes this screen stand out from many normal TVs is the variety of settings and options available through its on-screen menu. It allows you to change the settings, such as response time, and also has the option of image in image and image by image, so you can watch TV while playing, for example.
Philips 436M6VBPAB – Image Quality
Without other screens to directly compare the 436M6VBPAB with, it was difficult to have a complete idea of how true your HDR experience was. However, in isolation he impressed.
Particularly while playing Halo 5, the dark blackness of the space provided a wonderful contrast to the brilliant shots and explosions. Whether it has been close to 5,000,000: 1 dynamic contrast of this screen is not something I can say, but it certainly looked good.
The screen also felt pleasant and receptive. Philips tried to make a large part of the 21 ms input delay of the monitor low for a TV, but it's not really special. However, combined with reasonably fast response time and adaptive synchronization, the experience was excellent. The colors also seemed vibrant but reasonably natural.
It's really too early to make a final judgment on the Philips 436M6VBPAB. It certainly seemed to imply that it provided a smoother and smoother gameplay than some TVs, and there is also potential in its HDR claims. However, we will need many more games and objective tests to discover how good it is.
At the moment, it's definitely worth paying attention to our full review when the screen lands in May.