Midway between a high-performance monitor and a 4k UHD TV, you will find the Philips Momentum.
- Manufacturer: Philips
- Model: Momentum 326M6VJRMB
- Reviewed on: Xbox One X and PC
- Supplied by: Philips
It’s not often you find a manufacturer that develops a display aimed at console gamers. Given that most of the time, consoles are hooked up to big TV units with a vastly different set-up to PC screens, Philips has gone out of the box and made the Momentum line. At 32 inches, the Philips Momentum is larger than the average monitor, yet its overall depth is smaller than normal, making it suitable for those with less desk space, and it still retains a good form factor for placing it as part of a desktop setup.
A couple of features distinguish the momentum from your average monitor, in that it has built-in 5w speakers, and it also has Ambiglow RGB lighting along the bottom edge of the screen, that needs no PC software to work. In essence, this has been designed to give console players all of the comforts they are used to whilst still being able to create a dedicated space away from the usual living room set up, with the added bonus of Ambiglow.
The display itself is a stunning 4K UHD display with HDR600 certification. Whilst gaming I found that it was extremely responsive and looked absolutely stunning, however, I tested it on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and it was not quite as impressive. The 4K detail was still present and impressive, as on any UHD display, but the HDR seemed to wash out the blacks. Regardless, the Momentum was designed for gaming and does that perfectly, so I would not count that against it.
The Philips Momentum utilises a VA panel, and this monitor is not immune to some of the issues this screen technology comes with. Viewing angles are reasonable, although some colour shift is evident as you move off-axis, and as you move to extreme angles picture degradation increases significantly. This is not uncommon for VA panels, but is something you should be aware of. While viewing the screen from a central position, however, blacks appear deep, and contrast is excellent, although I did notice a minor amount of black crush obscuring some detail in darker scenes.
Rather than a FALD setup like in more expensive screens, the Philips Momentum is edge lit, with 16 dimming zones. While it doesn’t allow for the impressive results of a FALD display, it manages to perform well in HDR mode, and in images with big contrast between light and dark, it’s a visible improvement over SDR. Bright scenes pack a punch, whilst dark scenes, thanks to the VA panel, are suitably muted, although as mentioned, the black crush can hide some of the finer detail. With a specified 98.61% DCI-P3 colour coverage, the screen performs well in HDR mode, delivering a rich, colourful image.
With the default settings, the screen has a bright, vibrant image, and it only took a few tweaks to set the picture to my liking. Complying with the VESA HDR600 standard, this monitor is bright enough to use during the day without problems, although you may need to lower the brightness if you play in a darkened room or at night predominantly. I observed a small amount of backlight bleed around the corners, but not to the degree found on other similar panels or on an IPS display, and it was not a major issue.
With a stated response time of 4ms, it’s not the fastest out there, but I didn’t notice any ghosting in fast moving scenes. Responsiveness is excellent, and indeed, if you are coming from a TV to this monitor, the speed at which your inputs are translated to on-screen action will be eye-opening.
This monitor also features freesync, which worked well during my testing. Playing Wolfenstein 2 on the Xbox One X – a game known to have issues with frame drops in some areas – gameplay was smooth, and there was no screen tearing or stutters. With an activation range of 40-59ms, unless you experience severe disruption, the freesync should ensure you have tear free gaming, whatever you throw at it.
Moving on to the speakers, whilst they are not perfect, it’s nice to have them. I am accustomed to having built-in speakers, so when I made the switch to a desk setup to facilitate streaming I was quite shocked to find most monitors don’t have them. The Momentum’s speakers are not loud, and the sound quality is not quite on par with its UHD display, however, they did the job when I didn’t want to wear my headset, and this is still a monitor, so it’s nice to have that option built-in. The quality of bass is above average for monitors, and treble is decent, if not overly sharp, Those among us who really care about audio quality will usually opt for external speakers or a high-quality performance headset anyway.
Design-wise the Momentum really breaks the mould for gaming monitors, rather than following the trend most premium manufacturers have taken for gaming displays, with aggressive styling and borderless displays. Philips have opted for a cleaner, more modern design, with a slim gloss black bezel and a satin gunmetal V-shaped stand, which could fit into any setup and look good.
There are no accent colours or any over the top contrast branding adorning the monitor, just a small model number, a white Philips logo and one small LED. The stand is also extremely versatile, it has a very satisfying slide mechanism that allows the display to raise up and down, and it can also tilt on a vertical axis to get you the perfect viewing angle.
Built into this modern design is a unique feature that most displays don’t have. Ambiglow is two sets of RGB LED strips along the bottom of the display that can either change depending on what is happening on screen, or just continuously cycle through the colour spectrum. The technology, as with all new ideas, is not perfect. While I used Ambiglow to reflect the colours at the edge of my screen it was okay, but nothing special, it was more an accent. Having it set to cycle is pretty cool and adds a nice RGB that most console gamers otherwise wouldn’t have. It adds a dynamic element to your setup with no effort, and the light really is a nice touch; it’s not overly bright and will not take your eyes away from what you are doing, they just add to the aesthetic of your setup.
I think that, with time, Philips will have a really cool feature on their hands, just like the Ambilight technology on their TVs. More than anything, Ambiglow shows that Philips are trying something new and different, forging their own path into gaming monitors, and I for one love the direction they are taking.
Unlike most monitors, the Momentum has a fast charging USB3.0 Gen 2 port, three HDMI 2.0 ports and one DP 1.4 (display port), meaning you can hook up your PC, Xbox and PS4 at the same time, and still have a spare HDMI port for plugging in a Sky or Virgin Media box, or even a Chromecast or similar if you have one. Switching between different inputs and controlling the monitor’s settings is taken care of by a mini joystick located on the rear of the panel, towards the right side of the screen. With a simple directional input, you can access the full settings menu, or access quick shortcuts that allow you to bring up the game mode menu, choose the display input, or adjust the volume. It is a minimalistic solution that really does work, and quickly becomes instinctive to use.
Overall, the Philips Momentum is a brilliant monitor, regardless of what your platform preference is, but also makes the switch from TV to monitor easy for any console gamer. The form factor is perfectly balanced, and as a side note, I have also been using the monitor for design work, and with the excellent colour coverage, it’s been an absolute pleasure.
With so much screen real-estate, programs like Photoshop and After Effects become a spacious high def work space.