T3's best 4K monitors guide is a difficult place to get into, and only the very finest Ultra HD panels make the cut. Right here, in T3's Philips Brilliance 329P1H review, we determine if this new 4K screen cuts the mustard. Let's find out.
The high quality of the Philips Brilliance 329P1H is apparent from the moment you heave it out of the box and up onto your desk. This is a weighty 32-inch, 4K computer monitor that, while sporting HDMI connections for games consoles and media streamers, is primarily designed for work.
Headline features include an IPS display panel, a sturdy stand with a good range of adjustability, USB-C and a pop-up 1080p webcam for video calls and Windows Hello.
There is also a pair of HDMI 2.0 ports and a DisplayPort 1.4 connection, so if your requirements need it you can use this screen with computers as well as consoles, streaming sticks and more.
We're pleased to announce that the Philips Brilliance 329P1H has won T3's Best 4K Monitor award at the T3 Awards 2021, so if you're potentially interested in this monitor, we suggest reading up on why the judges thought it was so good.
Philips Brilliance 329P1H review: design and setup
Right off the bat, this display feels like a premium product. It’s heavy, a little bulky as far as the foot and adjustable mount are concerned (but the display bezels are reasonably compact) and it comes packed with work-centric features. We’ll come onto those later.
For now, we like how sturdy the monitor feels, and how much it can be adjusted. There is 180mm of height adjustment, with the display gliding smoothly up and down, plus 90 degrees of pivot, 180 degrees of swivel and tilting from -5 to +25 degrees. In short, no matter what desk/chair combo you are using, the Philips should fit your needs.
Our only slight frustration is how pushing the pop-up camera back into its slot causes the screen to slide down on its mount unless you support it from below. A minor annoyance, but an annoyance all the same.
Speaking of the camera, it has a 2.0-megapixel sensor and can handle 1080p Full HD video. Like almost all built-in webcams, it isn’t going to win any filmmaker awards but it gets the job done, with a nice wide viewing angle for your Zoom calls and an integrated microphone.
The camera is also compatible with Windows Hello, so can be used to log into Windows 10 using facial recognition instead of entering a password. The camera and mic automatically come to life when you press the camera to release it from its spring-loaded mount.
The rear-mounted ports are all easy to locate and there is a hole in the stand to act as a form of cable management. There are five buttons on the front for power, accessing the menu system and switching between inputs and a range of display presets.
Our only criticism of the design of the Philips is the fairly large foot. If you are using a smaller desk, or one that is fairly shallow, you might find the foot takes up more space than with other monitors, potentially sitting right up against your keyboard. However, given its 32-inch size, we suspect most buyers will have a large enough desk for this not to be a concern.
Philips Brilliance 329P1H review: features and picture
A big feature of this display is its USB-C port. Not only does that make for an easy way to connect to many modern computers and laptops, even tablets like the iPad Pro, but it also delivers up to 90 watts of power. This means you can plug a laptop in to power it as well as send video and audio to the display, cutting down on cable clutter and freeing up a plug socket too.
Another major feature is the pop-up webcam mentioned earlier. It’s a nice addition, especially in an age where video calls for work meetings and social gatherings feel like a daily occurrence at the moment, and means you are framed far better than when using a laptop. Users sitting on a lower chair might find the camera too high, but thankfully it’s easy to slide the monitor down on its adjustable stand to get the right height.
As for software features, there’s Philips’ ‘Flicker-Free’ technology to help prevent eye fatigue, LowBlue Mode for reducing your exposure to shortwave blue light, and a light sensor for automatically adjusting display brightness based on ambient light conditions. This can easily be switched off if you don’t want to use it, and there are several preset modes to pick from, including Office, Movie, Game and one called EasyRead that turns the display black and white.
While these are all welcome features, we found the display worked best for us when left in its default mode but with the brightness turned down to prevent the discomfort from staring at bright white word documents all day. Naturally, your preferences will vary from ours but it’s good to know the Philips has plenty of presets out of the box, and each can be adjusted however you like.
Being equipped with an IPS display panel, the Brilliance 329P does a great job of showing an image that is consistent regardless of viewing angle. This is important for image and video editing, but also makes for a more pleasant experience than lesser panels and their tendency for colours to shift when viewed off-centre.
Colour reproduction here is very good, the 4K resolution is of course pin-sharp, and the display’s brightness of 350cd/m2 should be plenty for most users. So too is the 1000:1 contrast ratio, 4ms response time and 60Hz refresh rate.
The latter may put off gamers who demand the smoothness and speed of 120Hz or more, but this isn’t a monitor designed for hardcore gaming. Instead, it is a dependable workhorse that is aimed primarily for use in the home office rather than for entertainment – a fact that is accentuated by the lack of HDR, which might not be needed for most work use, but its omission is a shame nonetheless.
As with most monitors, the speakers feel like an underpowered afterthought and are best ignoring altogether. Plugging your computer into a dedicated pair of desk speakers (or a speaker system into the monitor’s headphone jack) is by far the better approach.
Philips Brilliance 329P1H review: price and verdict
This is a well-made 4K monitor with USB-C connectivity, a high-quality IPS panel and integrated HD webcam. It also has a highly adjustable stand that feels incredibly sturdy but as a result takes up more desk space than most. The lack of HDR is disappointing, especially considering the half a grand recommended retail price, but if used primarily for home office work we doubt buyers will mind too much about that particular missing feature.
The display has a good range of preset configurations to best fit your visual preferences, along with features designed to reduce eye strain by eliminating flickering and kerbing blue light emission are welcome, along with the glare-free matte finish.
We were really impressed with this monitor and feel like it would be a good investment for any home workspace that doesn’t have a PlayStation or an Apple TV. While those devices are catered for with a pair of HDMI 2.0 ports, the lack of HDR and work-centric approach of the Philips Brilliance 329P1H mean this is a monitor designed for work over play.
- More of a gamer? Then check out the best gaming monitors