THE PHILIPS BRILLIANCE 439P9H is an ultra-wide display that aims to improve productivity by offering a vast amount of space – handy if you work with loads of windows or with huge spreadsheets.
Design-wise, it looks good, with a smart, minimalist stand and slim bezels. It’s robust and versatile, too: you get 130mm of height adjustment, tilting and swiveling movement and 100mm VESA compatibility. The only concern is making sure you have room for it, as it’s a gigantic 1,058mm wide.
Lost in Space
That’s a diagonal 43in worth of screen space, presented in a 32:10 aspect ratio with a conventional 1800R curvature. Both this size and the resolution of 3,840×1,200 point to a monitor that’s intended as a replacement for dual 1080p displays.
There are more pixel-dense ultrawide monitors, including Philips’ own Brilliance 499P9H (Shopper 377), but the 439P9H is still sharp enough for photo and video work, and there’s always plenty of screen real estate for using multiple windows or wide applications.
As well as the huge size and resolution, the 439P9H uses VA technology alongside 10-bit colour, and it has AMD FreeSync that peaks at 100Hz. The inclusion of VA technology is interesting: it lowers cost when compared to IPS and lends itself to top-notch contrast, but IPS panels tend to have better colours.
There’s also DisplayHDR 400 support, although this is only an entry-level HDR standard. More helpful are the side feature: the 439P9H has an integrated KVM switch, so you can control two PCs or laptops using single keyboard and mouse, and the Windows Hello compatible webcam helpfully make it possible to setup facial recognition authentication.
There’s also a slew of ports on offer. These include two USB Type-C ports, both of which can deliver power (one 75W, and other 15W), and one of which can act as an upstream port.
There are also four full size USB 3.1 ports, one with fast charging, as well a Gigabit Ethernet, two DisplayPort 1.4 inputs and a sole HDMI 2.0b connection. You also get two 5W speakers that provide enough punch and clarity for casual media use and video calls.
This is an extremely well-rounded selection of inputs, although it remains irritating that all of this panel’s ports are on the rear and face downwards, making them tricky to reach. Thankfully, however, the standard Philips onscreen display is sensibly organized and very fast, with navigation controlled by snappy buttons beneath the bottom bezel.
At its default settings, the 439P9H delivers a brightness level of 400cd/m2 – dead on the requirement for DisplayHDR 400 certification – and a black level of 0.18cd/m2. Those figures create a contrast ratio of 2,222:1, an excellent figure that squeaks past the larger 499P9H.
That superb contrast means that the 439P9H has huge vibrancy and punch, along with a lack of noticeable banding and plenty of pleasing subtlety on show. Average delta-E is less impressive, at 2.27, but colour performance improves significantly upon switching to sRGB mode.
Delta-E drops to a much better 1.25, and 97.9% RGB gamut coverage will suffice for mainstream editing. Professionals might need to look elsewhere, however, as the 439P9H could als only manage 79.4% of the Adobe RGB gamut and 86.9% of the DCI-P3 gamut.
The other screen modes don’t offer much, either. Gaming mode hinders contrast, Photo and Office modes don’t deliver significant color accuracy improvements, and Movie mode makes everything worse across the board.
It’s worth saying that the 400cd/m2 is only using the default brightness setting of 60%, whack this up to full and the 439P9H peaks at 529cd/m2 while maintaining contrast and color levels.
However, while Philips has satisfied HDR’s brightness requirements, its black level can’t reach the depths demanded by DisplayHDR 400. Activating HDR on this screen will deliver only a tiny improvement, so no-one should buy this screen on the strength of its HDR options.
Uniformity is an issue, too. Ultrawides often struggle with this, but the 439P9H has it particularly tough, losing up to 35% of its backlight strength on the left edge and up to 28% on the right edge.
The Brilliance 439P9H has several big advantages. The design, for starters: this screen’s width is a huge boon for lots of situations, and the display has great features, from its USB and Ethernet connectivity to its KVM switch and pop-up webcam. The 439P9H serves up impressive contrast and good colour in its sRGB mode, too.
It does have its downsides, however. The 499P9H is bigger and sharper (thanks to its higher resolution), and has better colour performance. The 439P9H’s colours and contrast are generally good, but the uniformity issues mean that this screen won’t always cope with color-sensitive tasks in the sRGB colour space, and it’s not able to handle Adobe RGB or DCI-P3 work, either.
The Philips Brilliance 439P9H is good if you need lots of horizontal space and if you don’t do too much color-sensitive work. However, keep the larger 499P9H on your radar – it’s only a little more expensive, despite the higher size and resolution.