technology

Review of the Philips Momentum 558M, the absolute 4K gaming monitor for consoles and PC?

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Philips announced it to us with great fanfare during the health crisis and here it is. Almost on time. The Momentum 558M monitor adds to the growing range of the brand’s screens. Priced at around 1,500 euros, this gigantic 55-inch 4K screen is built for gaming and digital entertainment. But be careful, if you want to replace your TV with this beautiful skylight after reading our test, keep in mind that it does not have a TNT tuner and that it is not connected! So, to watch video and / or television content, you will have to go through a third-party solution such as a Shield TV or an Amazon Fire TV box for example.

All like the Momentum 436M, the 558M is intended to take pride of place in place of your TV, in the living room. Positioning it on a desk seems a bit ambitious … unless you have a huge, very solid piece of furniture (over 26 kilos on the scale), a lot of distance and / or a very large room dedicated to gaming .

A design much more polished than that of the 43 inches

Philips has put a lot of effort into the lines and materials of the Momentum 558M. The slightly gaudy, billowing black, and thick plastic that the previous model had on the front has completely disappeared. The back of the screen retains some traces, but much better quality.

The stand is successful and quite in tune with the times with its T-shape. It is possible to disassemble it to fix the screen to the wall using a VESA support (not supplied, but the screws, yes).

Philips plays the card of uniqueness: the beautiful glittery anthracite color in brushed metal covers both the stand, the sides of the integrated speaker and the entire housing of the panel. Slab of which three of the four edges are very discreet. So much so that it almost looks like there isn’t any. But to support the matte slab, no choice, we can’t do without.
Because the first good news for gamers: the 4K screen is completely matt. Goodbye parasitic light reflections during gaming sessions. And since the anti-flicker treatment of the panel works wonderfully, eye fatigue “shines” by its absence. But that’s no reason not to take a break!

Bowers & Wilkins, the unexpected surprise

Before talking about image, let’s talk about sound. It was the (very) good surprise during the announcement: Philips joined forces with the British Bowers & Wilkins to create a sound bar integrated at the foot of the screen. Its role is obvious: to eject mediocre speakers that are usually hidden on the backs of PC screens like televisions. We are entitled here to a much more muscular 40 watt audio system that blends into the crowd. It is integral with the whole but deactivates if you decide to connect another sound bar.

Thanks to this speaker, sound distribution is more direct than on televisions which have rear speakers. We gain in clarity and power. Several small speakers (2 treble, 2 midrange) and a subwoofer (passive radiator) are hidden behind the well-made fabric covering and ensure a good 2.1 rendering.
To add sound to frenzied games – the neighbors will be delighted – and watching series or films, no major problem is to report except for slight distortions if you push the volume beyond 75 %.

Philips could not resist: sound profiles are programmed that we activate from the supplied remote control. There are five (Sport and running, RPG and Adventure, Shooting and action, Movies, Music) and even a sixth that we can fully customize – phew! – thanks to a frequency equalizer (6 accessible ranges). We will not detail the properties of each, it would take too long. Know that Music and Shooting and Action are very correct, each in their register. Others abuse spatialization, especially Movies as well as Sport and Racing.

Multiplication of sources!

Philips has learned from its past mistakes and has fleshed out the connection as much as possible. For video, there is what you need: 3 HDMI 2.0 (2.0b actually) and a full size DisplayPort 1.4. Connecting two consoles (1 current gen and 1 next gen), a multimedia box or an Android box and a PC will be easy.

Also note that Momentum is certified AMD FreeSync Pro and recognized as compatible with Nvidia’s G-Sync. So, whether you plug in a PC with a 3D card from either of these brands, an Xbox One X or future ones Series S, X or the PlayStation 5, you can take advantage of this technology which prevents image distortions by adjusting the refresh rate of the panel (48 to 120 Hz in DP and 30 to 60 Hz + in HDMI).

Philips has also thought of placing USB sockets on the back of the beast and can act as a socket hub if necessary. You can also charge devices or controllers by connecting them to the screen (2 sockets are Fast Charge).
Considering the size and weight of the Momentum as well as the position of the soundbar, a word of advice: it is better to connect the cables before positioning the screen definitively on the furniture. We tested the connection for you a posteriori and, sorry, but it’s a hassle.

Philips is really not a born Profiler

The different color profiles preprogrammed by the brand are grouped under the name SmartImage Game. A key is dedicated to them on the remote control. If you have enabled HDR on the video source, the different HDR modes (see box below) replace the profiles. SmartImage.

All of them are identified by names of game types (like their acoustic cousins). If the mode FPS is of good quality, the mode Race and RTS are not really to our liking. Fortunately, two of them – Player 1 and 2 – are customizable from A to Z (brightness, contrast, gamma, sharpness, etc.)

The mode Blue Low reduces the blue light spectrum to prevent eye strain. Best when playing in the dark. But, like all blue light modes, the yellows come out appallingly. You have been warned.

For those who want to go even further in the settings, the remote gives you access to the full OSD of the Momentum 558M with just one touch. The menu is very similar to that of the 43-inch model, clean but not well translated at all. Better to keep it in English to have the correct denomination of technos and not hazardous translations … (see our box below).

On the display side, what does that give?

Before talking about all the gaming technologies behind the panel, we will take a look at its technical services in SmartUniformity. We made our brightness and contrast measurements in this mode because it is the one that makes the most of the backlighting of the panel.

On its site Philips announces a brightness of 750 cd / m² in normal mode, 1200 cd / m² in HDR mode. The contrast would be 4000: 1 and, finally, the Delta E less than 2 in sRGB mode. A mode which would be covered at 125%, against 104% for the NTSC and 95% for the DCI-P3. Clearly, this monitor would be a confirmed colorist.

Maximum brightness is there, with 754 cd / m² measures. But once the panel is calibrated, the average value drops to 532 cd / m² with a peak at 632 cd / m² In the center. On the other hand, in the upper and lower corners, we go below the 485 cd / m bar². It’s little, we expected a little better.

The contrast ratio is 5150: 1 (static). The color rendering is much better on the entire left and central part of the panel than on the right part. The black-to-white response time is 14ms which is good for a VA display.

Anyway, the overall homogeneity is excellent. Note, however, that the viewing angles are a bit narrow, more than those of a conventional television or a PC gaming screen. We also noted some clouding effects on the bottom of the screen (light halos on dark images) but no light leakage is to be deplored.

Concerning the accuracy of the colors, we made three measurements of the Delta E of the screen. The closer the measurement is to 0, the better the color rendering.

  • In sRGB mode : the Delta E is 4.49. The sRGB range is well covered but the reds lack accuracy compared to the blues and greens which are almost … perfect (delta E of 0.8 and 0.5). The grays are far too bright, however, and some come out almost purple. We are far from the promise of the Delta E <2 and the coverage is 100% ... provided you pull on the edges.
  • In SmartUniformity mode : The Delta E is 3.08. It’s better, but here, it’s the greens that walk on the red and blue flower beds. However, we have a slightly more uniform rendering, especially grays. And this is the one we recommend for everyday use.
  • With colors set to 6500K : the Delta E is 4.4. And it is, of the three modes, the one which shows the least difference between the different values ​​of the primary colors. Which are all wrong. The grays are also very bright and distorted, but a little less than in sRGB mode.

In terms of brightness and contrast, we are almost in agreement with Philips, that’s good. On the other hand, for colorimetry, it’s a different story. Even for a gaming monitor, which is not intended to allow photo editing, the Delta E is high. The spectra coverage is provided in the right proportions. But the tints are distorted in most cases, even in DCI-P3.

Ambiglow, the little extra

On Momentum, Philips offers its historic Ambilight technology in a solution that is a little less complete but just as pleasant to use. its name is Ambiglow and it works almost the same. A processor analyzes the dominant colors in the image and translates them in the form of a halo using the LED strips on the back of the screen. The effect is successful, immersive and if you play or watch a movie in the dark, it adds a little extra something very pleasant. And yet, we are not usually customers of this kind of artifice.

To configure or disable it, go to the OSD menu and its dedicated section. You can adjust the intensity in several levels.

PIP and PBP

Finally, details that as on the previous model, several display modes are available. There is thus a mode Picture-in-Picture or Picture-by-Picture to optionally display a first source in large and another in small or two sources side by side (or one above the other)

Note, however, that in the latter mode, the images are centered and do not occupy the entire allocated surface (2 x Full HD with 16: 9 ratio retained) to avoid any unnecessary distortion.




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