A well-priced ultrawide curved monitor that’s ideal for home-working setups
- Loads of space for working
- Good image quality
- Sturdy build and adjustable stand
- Doesn’t cover all of AdobeRGB or DCI-P3
If you’re working at home a lot more now, nothing beats a second monitor to hook up to your laptop – and in general, the bigger the better. Fortunately, screen real estate is something the Philips 346B offers in abundance.
It’s a 34in ultrawide monitor that lets you stack the equivalent of four A4 documents next to each other at the same time for the ultimate in multitasking convenience. It includes a bevy of other handy features and, yet, does not cost the Earth.
Philips B Line 346B1C review: What do you get for your money?
The bottom line is that you’ll struggle to find another 34in ultrawide monitor for significantly less than £462, let alone one as well equipped, generously specified and well built. For this relatively? reasonable sum, you’re getting a screen of truly huge dimensions.
It measures 34in from corner to corner and it’s curved, too, ensuring the edges and corners of the display are a similar distance away from your eyes to the centre. This can help with eye strain as your eyes don’t have to refocus quite so much when flitting from the extremities of the monitor to the centre and back again. The resolution of the screen is 3,440 x 1,440, so not quite 4K, but that’s easily enough to keep things looking crisp and avoid the appearance of pixelation.
As with most monitors, you’ll need to do some assembly before you can connect the monitor to your laptop or PC. The base needs to be screwed onto the stand and the stand then clipped to the rear of the display. It’s an easy job, though, and once you’ve hefted the thing onto your desk, you’ll find there’s plenty of room for adjustment; the screen can be raised and lowered the screen by 180mm and tilted it back and forth by 30/-5 degrees.
There’s a good selection of cables provided in the box, including HDMI, DisplayPort and a USB A to USB C cable (the selection does vary depending on which country you order the monitor in, however, so this may differ from what you get with yours). And there’s a quick-start manual, although if you want detailed information on how to set up the monitor, you’ll have to download the PDF manual from the Philips website.
Philips B Line 346B1C review: What connections does it have?
At the rear, behind a flimsy clip-on plastic panel, you’ll find a decent array of video inputs. There’s HDMI 2.0, naturally, but also DisplayPort 1.2 and also a USB C 3.2 Gen 1 video input. The latter port can deliver up to 90W of power to connected devices, so you shouldn’t have any trouble keeping your laptop charged, no matter how powerful it is. There’s also an Ethernet port and an audio output for attaching a pair of speakers, although you may not feel the need to use it because the built-in speakers are pretty good for a monitor. They’re full-bodied and extremely loud. Perfect for video calls and the odd spot of after-hours gaming.
That’s not an end to the monitor’s connectivity, however. You’re also getting a four-port USB hub, easily accessible just behind the left edge of the screen; two of the four USB A ports provided are fast charge enabled. There’s even a built-in KVM switch, which allows you to control two PCs using one keyboard and mouse through the monitor. Simply connect one machine to the monitor’s USB C port and the other to the monitor’s USB B up port and then press the User button to bring up the KVM menu.
Other features include picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture support, allowing you to display the video output from two PCs on screen simultaneously, although rather irritatingly one of these inputs has to be DisplayPort – you can’t display HDMI and USB C simultaneously. There’s also a movement sensor which can turn off the screen when you leave your desk and turn it back on when you sit back down to do some work. And the monitor has a Blue light mode for use in the evening or late at night.
Philips B Line 346B1C review: What’s image quality like?
The Philips 346B1C uses VA technology, a panel type typically favoured by gamers due to its fast response times and high contrast ratio. The downside of VA panels is normally that you get poor viewing angles, with contrast falling off and colours washing out as you view from the side or above. Not here. Even viewed from a 45-degree angle horizontally, there’s no apparent change in image quality. The matte finish on the surface of the screen keeps reflections at bay successfully as well.
Picture quality is fine. It isn’t quite up to professional monitor standards and it doesn’t support any form of HDR but colours are good, and peak brightness and contrast especially so at up to 290cd/m2 and 2,801:1, depending on the mode you choose. In terms of colour capabilities, the panel can reproduce more colours than the sRGB colour space at 118% but only 82% of AdobeRGB and 84% of DCI-P3. That’s because it’s designed to match up with the NTSC colour space.
Despite this, colour accuracy within sRGB is fine. Select the sRGB mode in the monitor’s on-screen display and you’ll be treated to sRGB coverage of 85.7% and an average Delta E colour error score of 1.74 (the lower the better) with highest maximum Delta E of 5.03 in the mid-blue tones. That’s not bad for a monitor aimed principally at office tasks, and it ensures any photo editing or design work you do with it should look fine when published. Keen amateurs and professional photographers will want to look for a screen with wider colour coverage, however.
For gamers, the monitor is compatible with Adaptive Sync technology from 48Hz to 100Hz but the grey-to-grey response time is 5ms, which is a little slow for fast-paced games. Then again, it’s not a dedicated gaming monitor, so this can perhaps be forgiven.
Philips B Line 346B1C review: Verdict
Overall, though, the Philips B Line 3461C is a mighty fine monitor. It’s well made and stuffed with features, including a decent built-in speaker and a top-quality adjustable stand. Plus, image quality is more than competent.
More importantly, perhaps, this monitor is one the best value ultra-wide screens on the market. Yes, you can buy cheaper but these tend not to be curved. And, yes, you can get wide screen monitors that are better for gaming and video or photo editing but those tend to be much more expensive. In short, if you need extra space for documents in your home office setup, this is the ideal choice: a great monitor at a very tempting price.