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Philips 276E display review: Quantum dots make this LED's color impressively rich

Jon L. Jacobi | Jan. 20, 2016
You'll see colors you'd forgotten existed.

Features

The 276E offers two color temperature presets: 6300K and the 9700K. The latter, cooler one is for users whose brains can’t stand the sudden onrush of warm color the 276E delivers. The other tweaks are the brightness, contrast, gamma, and things like pixel orbiting that don’t seem to have any effect. I had to increase the gamma considerably from the standard 2.2 (to 2.6) to get rid of what I considered a slightly washed-out effect on photos.

There are also user settings for the amount of red, green, and blue. I had to lower the red from 100 to about 90 to make gray, well, gray, and reduce the blue to the 80’s to make red less pinkish. Also, if you can believe this, I found the 276E too bright in my home environment, even though it measured out at a maximum of 379 nits. I literally had to drop it to 20 percent before I was comfortable with it. On the other hand, it was nigh-on perfect for our fluorescent-heavy test center.

The 276E sports VGA, DVI, and HDMI inputs. At only 1920x1080 (can you tell I’ve been testing UHD recently?) there’s no real need for DisplayPort input, though it would be nice. The HDMI supports MHL, so you can mirror your mobile device’s display. And though it’s not 2160p, it’s HDMI 2.0 and supports HDCP 2.2, so you can at least see upcoming copy-protected UHD content, if at half-resolution. There’s also a stereo mini-jack audio input if you don’t have other speakers.

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Credit: Philips

Now for the nitpicks. The 276E we were sent is white—not my favorite color for a display bezel. But hey, you can’t have everything. Also, I found the touch controls overly sensitive, and difficult to access—located on the back-angled lower front, right where you can barely see them. I had to lean way over and look up, then lean back to see the OSD, lean over and look up, etc. Touch is cool—if you can see what you’re touching! Put them on the front of the bezel and be done with it Philips.

Conclusion

Despite the 276E’s vivid color, I found myself wishing for the $400 Monoprice MP-28UHDSS, 28-inch UHD 4K (3840x2160) display I’d been testing previously. I missed the detail and extra screen real estate, even though I run it at WQHD 2560x1440. But the real reason was that my eyes just never got comfortable with the 276E. Perhaps it was the larger dot pitch, or the 5 nits of light bleed (on a solid black background). Then there’s the price: $600 is quite hefty for 27-inch, 1080 display, quantum dots or no.

But those games and movies! The deep color of the 276e is extremely addictive. If you’re using your display largely for entertainment purposes it should definitely be a destination on your tire-kicking tour.

 

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