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Philips 45B1U6900C SuperWide monitor hands-on review: 32:9 45-inch PC display

Ultra-ultrawide. With an aspect ratio of 32:9 and a resolution of 5,120 x 1,440, the Philips 45B1U6900C is essentially equivalent to putting two conventional 16:9 displays together side by side. The SuperWide aspect ratio goes even wider than the 21:9 ultrawide format. In this hands-on review, we'll discuss whether this monitor anything else to offer other than its extreme width.

Ultrawide monitors, such as the Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 we previously reviewed, shine in particular when used for gaming or streaming films. If those displays are still not wide enough for you, for example because 21:9 displays can't truly replicate the experience of using two 16:9 monitors side by side, then you should take a look at a monitor with a 32:9 SuperWide aspect ratio, like the one we are reviewing here.

The new Philips 45B1U6900C is priced at around €1,000 (US$1,085). For the money, you're getting a SuperWide VA panel measuring 45 inches (or 113 cm) diagonally. This is roughly equivalent to two 16:9 27-inch monitors placed next to each other. Models with OLED panels, which are slowly appearing on the market, cost twice as much. The VA monitor is supposed to especially appeal to gamers thanks to its fast response time of just about 4 ms. That said, its refresh rate maxes out at 75Hz, and competing models can usually do a little better than that.

Case and specifications – Black plastic with USB hub

The chassis of the monitor is completely made of black plastic. This is true for both the curved back (1500R curvature) and the bezel. As with the Philips Evnia 34M2C8600, there is a thicker plastic bar at the bottom. The rest of the bezel is very thin. However, the display area does not extend all the way to these thin edges. On the glass panel, you'll find a black border that is about half a centimetre wide, with the bottom of the screen being the only exception here.

Curvature of 1500R
Curvature of 1500R

Exhaust vents can be found on the top of the monitor. But unlike on the 21:9 OLED Evnia display, we didn't notice any cooling fans running in our current review unit.

There is a headphone holder on the left side that can be extended with the press of a button. You should allocate additional space on the left if you wish to use this feature.

The control buttons and status LED are situated on the bottom right, below the black bar. The function of each button is printed in white on the bar. You can turn the monitor on/off as well as control the OSD and KVM switch using these buttons.

By contrast, the hefty stand is mostly made of metal, which gives it more stability to support the huge monitor. It is attached to the display using the VESA interface and lets you adjust the monitor's height and turn it left and right. However, the display can't be tilted.

Install the stand with the monitor still in the packaging to help you lift the display out of the box.
Install the stand with the monitor still in the packaging to help you lift the display out of the box.
The stand is attached using a VESA mount with four screws.
The stand is attached using a VESA mount with four screws.
Now all that's left is to screw on the base.
Now all that's left is to screw on the base.
Unlike the monitor, this is made of metal.
Unlike the monitor, this is made of metal.

Accessories

The included accessories are mostly cables needed to use the monitor. Besides the stand and the required installation tool (i.e. cross-head screwdriver), the following cables can be found in the packaging (see image):

Various video and data cables are included, though accessories may vary by region.
Various video and data cables are included, though accessories may vary by region.

Features and specifications - 45 inches, VA, 32:9

Apart from the SuperWide aspect ratio, the built-in USB-C hub and KVM switch are marketed as major features of the Philips monitor. You can turn the display into a hub by connecting it to a PC via a USB-B cable. Users are able to not only plug a network cable directly into the monitor thanks to the Ethernet port, but also connect various USB devices; data is relayed to the PC via USB-C 3.2 Gen 1. This connection also supports Power Delivery (PD) at up to 100 W.

The KVM switch lets you control two computers using just one set of keyboard and mouse. To do this, you need to connect one PC via USB-C and the other via USB-B plus a display interface. Once this is done, both PCs will share the same input devices connected to the USB-A ports.

The quick start guide suggests you need to plug the second PC into the side. But this is incorrect.
The quick start guide suggests you need to plug the second PC into the side. But this is incorrect.

However, the illustration in the quick start guide is somewhat misleading: you have to plug one of your computers into the USB-C port on the bottom rather than the one on the left side. The port on the side is incapable of transmitting video signals; only the one at the bottom can do so. During our testing, we verified that the KVM switch works independently of the display settings. This means you can control one PC even if the monitor is displaying the output from the other PC. As a result, you can easily switch back and forth between your primary and secondary PCs.

Technical specifications
Panel type VA
Display size 44.5 inches (113 cm) diagonally
Resolution and aspect ratio 5,120 x 1,440 at 75 Hz, 32:9
Curvature 1,500R
Brightness SDR: 450
Contrast 3.000:1 (static)
HDR VESA DisplayHDR 400
Colour gamut sRGB: 123%
Connections 2x HDMI 2.0 (75Hz@5120x1440), 1x DisplayPort 1.4 (75Hz@5120x1440), 1x USB-C 3.0 with DisplayPort 1.4 (75Hz@5120x1440)
Speakers 2x 5 W
Weight 12.81 kg (with stand), 9.75 kg (without stand)
Unique features Slim bezel, EPEAT, USB-C Power Delivery (100W), mechanical buttons, presence sensor, light sensor, picture-in-picture, security lock slot (Kensington), KVM switch, HDCP 2.2, factory calibration (Delta E <2)
Accessories HDMI cabel, DisplayPort cable, USB Upstream cable, USB-C-to-C cable, power cord
Warranty 3 years
Price €1,039

Connectivity

The ports are distributed along the left side and bottom of the device. For instance, the power input is located on the bottom right, behind the buttons. Next to it is a switch for shutting off power supply. On the control panel, there is another power switch that only turns the monitor on/off but doesn't cut off power.

The bottom right is reserved exclusively for the power cord, and the rest of the ports are situated on the left side. The display inputs (2x HDMI, 1x DP) and the ports for the USB hub (USB-C, LAN, 2x USB-A, 1x USB-B Up) can be found on the bottom left side, whilst the left side of the monitor houses other USB ports (USB-C with 15W PD, 2x USB-A) and an audio jack.

Power input and switch
Power input and switch
Ports on the bottom left: 2x HDMI, DP, USB-C, USB-B, LAN, 2x USB-A
Ports on the bottom left: 2x HDMI, DP, USB-C, USB-B, LAN, 2x USB-A
Ports on the left side: audio output, USB-C, 2x USB-A
Ports on the left side: audio output, USB-C, 2x USB-A

OSD and operation – Need to cut off power to use internal display

The buttons for controlling the on-screen menu are located on the bottom right. There are four navigation buttons between the on/off key and the KVM switch. Navigating the OSD is largely an uncomplicated affair. We especially like the on/off button because it simply does what it's meant to do. On many other monitors, the power-off process in particular takes unnecessarily long as they require still you to confirm your choice, or they may have mushy buttons that cause you to accidentally do a pixel refresh instead (e.g. on the Philips Evnia). By contrast, the 45-inch Philips turns off right away with a single press of the power button – excellent.

All buttons are on the bottom right
All buttons are on the bottom right
The buttons have a nice tactile feel and respond reliably to presses.
The buttons have a nice tactile feel and respond reliably to presses.

On a less positive note, the display connection remains active even after the monitor has been switched off, meaning that our laptop's screen stays black when the product is in standby mode. The built-in display on our laptop only reactivates when we cut off power to the external monitor. This is inconvenient because a laptop and an external monitor are often plugged into the same outlet.

The on-screen menu contains the usual settings, from image options (e.g. brightness, colour temperature etc.) to input selection and picture-in-picture to blue light filter and light sensor.

OSD with very typical settings
OSD with very typical settings
Also features a light sensor and blue light filter
Also features a light sensor and blue light filter

Display - Somewhat washed-out VA panel

Grainy subpixels due to matt overlay
Grainy subpixels due to matt overlay

Philips claims on its website that "VA display delivers awesome images with wide viewing angles". But we weren't exactly blown away by "awesome images" when we first powered on the display, and it became apparent to us pretty quickly that colours looked relatively washed out.

Similarly, the supposed wide viewing angles also elicited more of a "meh" from us. Whilst we initially didn't notice this in an office setting, it became evident once we began watching our first video. Colours start shifting when we lean our head slightly to one side. This is something we noticed instantly on the skin colour of a person in the video. Even though contents on the monitor are still easily readable from a sharp angle, you will start seeing perceptible colour and contrast shifts from a relatively mild angle.

Rather poor viewing angle: a grey haze and a red tint start becoming visible on the image very quickly.
Rather poor viewing angle: a grey haze and a red tint start becoming visible on the image very quickly.

Moving on from our subjective first impression to our measurements: the centre of the screen reached a peak brightness of 489 nits. Unfortunately, the panel was unable to maintain this brightness level throughout because of its extremely wide form factor. The average peak brightness was 436 nits across nine measurement points, which is largely in line with the manufacturer's specification (450 nits). At just 76%, the brightness distribution is relatively poor compared with other monitors, and this is due to the sheer width of the panel.

In any case, the black level is quite low, which results in a high contrast ratio mathematically despite images looking somewhat washed out (at least before calibration). Gamers may also be slightly disappointed by the max refresh rate of just 75Hz.

Blacklight bleeding is inevitable on such a wide panel, but you'll only find a tiny amount of it at the edges.

Response times are pretty sluggish in standard mode. But enabling overdrive raises response times to an acceptable level.

Minimal backlight bleeding at the bottom corners
Minimal backlight bleeding at the bottom corners
422
cd/m²
468
cd/m²
456
cd/m²
389
cd/m²
489
cd/m²
430
cd/m²
372
cd/m²
480
cd/m²
422
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
tested with X-Rite i1Pro 3
Maximum: 489 cd/m² (Nits) Average: 436.4 cd/m² Minimum: 113 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 76 %
Contrast: 3056:1 (Black: 0.16 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.17 | 0.5-29.43 Ø4.97, calibrated: 1.11
ΔE Greyscale 4.94 | 0.57-98 Ø5.2
80.9% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
100% sRGB (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
83.3% Display P3 (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
Gamma: 2.41
Philips 45B1U6900C
x,
Philips Evnia 34M2C8600
QD OLED, 3440x1440, 34"
Display
11%
Display P3 Coverage
83.3
98.4
18%
sRGB Coverage
100
99.9
0%
AdobeRGB 1998 Coverage
80.9
93.9
16%
Response Times
84%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
13.9 ?(4.5, 9.4)
1.4 ?(0.6, 0.8)
90%
Response Time Black / White *
6.4 ?(2.7, 3.7)
1.4 ?(0.6, 0.8)
78%
PWM Frequency
175
Screen
-4%
Brightness middle
489
231
-53%
Brightness
436
210
-52%
Brightness Distribution
76
85
12%
Black Level *
0.16
0.1
37%
Contrast
3056
2310
-24%
Colorchecker dE 2000 *
3.17
2.02
36%
Colorchecker dE 2000 max. *
7.74
5.12
34%
Colorchecker dE 2000 calibrated *
1.11
2.02
-82%
Greyscale dE 2000 *
4.94
2.11
57%
Gamma
2.41 91%
2.49 88%
CCT
7020 93%
6229 104%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
30% / 12%

* ... smaller is better

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
6.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 2.7 ms rise
↘ 3.7 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.1 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 15 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (21.3 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
13.9 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 4.5 ms rise
↘ 9.4 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.2 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 23 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (33.4 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 17543 (minimum: 5 - maximum: 3846000) Hz was measured.

Colours and greyscale are not well calibrated when using the default profile in Windows. Based on our measurements, Delta E values were significantly higher than 3, with some outliers even exceeding 7. After calibrating the monitor using an XRite i1Pro3, Calman software and iProfiler, we found that colour differences decreased considerably and stayed below 1. Subsequently, the image looked much better to our eyes, and colours appeared more neutral and accurate at the same time. You can find a link to download our ICC profile above.

Greyscale
Greyscale
Saturation
Saturation
ColorChecker
ColorChecker
Greyscale calibrated
Greyscale calibrated
Saturation calibrated
Saturation calibrated
ColorChecker calibrated
ColorChecker calibrated

We tested the monitor against the DCI-P3 gamut. Though capable of full sRGB coverage, the display can only reproduce around 81 to 83% of the DCI-P3 and AdobeRGB gamuts.

sRGB
sRGB
DCI-P3
DCI-P3
AdobeRGB
AdobeRGB

Speakers - More tinny than powerful

You won't find any mention of the speakers in the product specs on Philips' website. This is probably not quite unintentional: the built-in stereo speakers deliver underwhelming sound, especially for a monitor of this size. They sound tinny, weak and hardly any better than the usual standard laptop speakers.

Power consumption - Up to 74 W depending on brightness

On standby (i.e. when the device is switched off but not disconnected from the mains), the monitor consumes a mere 0.06 W. As mentioned above, the annoying thing about the standby mode is that the monitor remains active and doesn't allow a laptop to switch to its internal display until the monitor loses all power.

At default settings and with brightness set to 60%, the Philips consumes about 53 W of power in a bright office setting. Power usage only drops by 1 to 2 W when some parts of the monitor are not in use and remain black (e.g. when streaming videos). This is because the backlight stays on even if no images are displayed.

Pushing the brightness all the way to 100% also massively increases power consumption – up to about 74 W according to our measurement.

Pros

+ KVM, USB hub with Ethernet
+ 32:9 superwide aspect ratio
+ decent OSD and on/off buttons
+ Bright and contrasty on paper

Cons

- switching off doesn't cut the display connection
- weak viewing angle
- images look slightly washed out
- poor speakers

Verdict - Monitors probably doesn't get much wider

The Philips 45B1U6900C is kindly provided by Philips
The Philips 45B1U6900C is kindly provided by Philips

The 32:9 aspect ratio might be too much for many people. That said, this form factor can have its advantages for gaming and productivity. In addition to its impressive 45-inch width, the Philips monitor also boasts a range of features like a KVM switch, an Ethernet port and a USB hub.

However, we were slightly disappointed when it comes to the key thing to look for in a monitor: image quality. The panel was uncalibrated upon arrival and delivered images that were slightly washed out in our opinion. This is also apparent with the poor viewing angle: images on the screen takes on a grey haze and a red tint as soon as you view the display from a slightly higher or lower position. Ultimately, you are paying roughly €1,000 (US1,085) for a massive wide panel, but there are better, albeit considerably more expensive, options in terms of image quality.

The SuperWide form factor of the Philips 45B1U6900C is superb, and so is the feature set that includes a KVM switch, an Ethernet port and a USB hub. But unfortunately we aren't really impressed by the product's image quality. There are much better, albeit more expensive, options out there.

Price and availability

The Philips 45B1U6900C has an RRP of €1,039 (US$1,085 or £939.99). The SuperWide monitor is available from online retailers such as amazon.de or amazon.co.uk.

Transparency

The present review sample was made available to the author as a loan by the manufacturer or a shop for the purposes of review. The lender had no influence on this review, nor did the manufacturer receive a copy of this review before publication. There was no obligation to publish this review.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > Reviews > Philips 45B1U6900C SuperWide monitor hands-on review: 32:9 45-inch PC display
Christian Hintze, 2023-07- 1 (Update: 2023-07- 1)