In the last year I’ve seen a number of large and excellent screens and I was starting to wonder if I would start to get jaded. When I was asked if I wanted to look at the 298P4JEB it looked interesting but I’d like to thank Philips for showing me that I’m not jaded. The JEB you see is not just a impressive and well specced ultra wide screen but it has the ability to display from two sources at once.
The JEB can be adjusted to a wide range of angles – tilted forward five degrees or back by up to 20. The whole screen can swing left or right by 60 degrees giving 120 degrees of rotational motion which may be the biggest rotation I’ve yet to see on a screen. The JEB also has a hidden 100mm VESA connection for attachment to the wall or an arm.
The JEB’s screen is wide, beautiful and bright. Ultrawide screens have a ratio of 21:9 and are designed to let you stack up several program windows next to each other. I found that the JEB let me put three windows side by side – two browsers and one chat window. Arranging windows like this can be a little fiddly but Philips have included a utility called SmartControl with the JEB that is genuinely useful. It lets you arrange windows automatically to fill the screen space and snap together.
The JEB has an interesting technology built in that I’ve never had the chance to use before called MultiView. This lets you plug in two devices at once and give each a partition of the screen. It is possible to split the screen in half or have a one input take up most of the space with the second input running almost as a window floating in one of the corners of the screen.
Philips markets this as being useful to have multiple content sources on one screen. I experimented with it and found it interesting but perhaps more of a cool feature trying to find a justification. The best use I found for it was having a small window with some sort of TV – the Amazon Fire Stick worked well – for content that I did not interact with. The problem with splitting the screen is that you end up with two separate sets of control and I often confused myself as to which was which. It might be possible to setup some sort of keyboard sharing using a program like Synergy and I can see in certain circumstances how this could be useful but it is not a mainstream need.
The JEB is aimed at multitaskers who want to run several windows side by side. The Ultrawide shape also lends itself very well to cinemgraphic videos although you will end up with black letterboxes for most videos.
The screen can work with some games that are designed to handle its aspect ratio such as Gratuitous Space Battles 2 but make sure your graphics card is up to handling it!
As you might expect from Philips the screen hits a number of environmental markers. These include EnergyStar 6.0, EPEAT Gold, TCO edge and RoHS. The upshot of all of these qualifications is a screen that is very efficient to run for its size and is made from and by environmental processes as much as is possible.
The packaging is made from 100% recycled material and the screen’s plastic is 65% recyclable.
On the back of the monitor is a small rocker switch that turns the power off completely – not just standby mode but all power off. I found this very useful at night but its big selling point is as an energy saving device – why have the screen even slightly on if the PC it is connected to is not turned on?
LCD Panel type: IPS LCD
Panel size: 29 inches diagonal or 67cm wide and 28cm tall
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Maximum resolution: 2560 x 1080 at 60 Hertz
Response time: 14ms
Colours: 16.7M or True 8 bit
Speakers: Stereo 2 Watt integrated
USB hub: 4 USB 3.0 ports
Visual Inputs: Display port, DVI and 2 HDMI ports
Audio input: 3.5mm audio in and headphone out
Height variability: 15cm
Pivot: 90 degrees from landscape to portrait
Swivel: 65 degrees clockwise or anticlockwise without moving the base
Tilt: 5 degrees forward or 20 degrees back
Weight: 8.46 kg
The warranty covers manufacturing defects for 36 months, provided that you have registered it on the Philips website.
There are no unusual requirements for the JEB – as long as you have a video input and power it will work. To get the best out of it, particularly with demanding applications you will need a PC with a powerful graphics card. Less powerful systems will still be able to get use out of the monitor but with more issues.
When you start to look at a monitor the quality of the screen has to be at the top of the list of its statistics. The JEB does not disappoint and offers 2560 x 1080 resolution using an LED backlit panel. Some backlit LEDs have in the past been slightly flickery for some users and the Philips thinks they have solved this with their FlickerFree technology. Neither I nor anyone else who I got to look at the screen saw any flicker so fingers crossed this problem can be relegated to the past.
The screen can go up to 300 cd/m squared of brightness which is at the upper range of typical for a good desktop LED monitor.
Colors can go up to 16.7 million or True 8 Bit and in my day to day use I found bright and vivid. There have been mentions online of the color balance being shifted towards green but I was unable to see this and did not find it in my calibration.
The JEB has no indicator lights anywhere on it to detract from its screen.
The JEB has two small stereo speakers built into it. I found them a little tinny and not particularly powerful but in a pinch they are going to be better than the speakers built into most PCs or mobile phones.
In addition there is a very conveniently placed headphones (3.5mm) jack in the bottom front of the bezel. This lets you connect your earphones directly to the monitor.
Sound can be got to the JEB by a 3.5mm input jack in the back or over the HDMI or Displayport connectors.
The adjustable stand is completely silent.
Input and touch
With the JEB Philips bucks the trend and provides real pressable buttons on the front bottom of the bezel and a rocker switch easily accessible on the back right which switches the system off. The buttons are easy to press with a short travel and have a definite click to them.
The whole screen can be moved easily but not too much so – in other words just touching it with a finger does not move it but a push will do.
The buttons allow a number of settings to be altered. These include a ‘Smart Image’ mode that adjusts brightness, colour and contrast to one of six predetermined states, the Multiview control for two inputs at once, Audio control to switch between the difference sources, and a main menu.
The main menu lets you adjust input source and a number of display settings such as brightness, contrast and color temperature as well as several ‘Smart’ modes. It also allows you to control the DisplayPort Daisy chaining if you want to run a number of monitors.
Ease of use
The JEB may be the easiest monitor I’ve ever assembled. The base attached to the trunk of the stand with a single screw fitting and then this clipped into the screen with a single clip. To undo it a single button press – the button is hidden to avoid accidental presses – is all that’s needed. It’s such a simple setup that I do wonder why I’ve not seen it before.
Connecting cables is straightforward – in my case this was a couple of HDMI cables, an audio cable, power and a USB cable. There is not a great deal in the way of cable management but the sockets are well positioned and I was able to tidy them all up with a velcro cable tie.
In operation the JEB is as straightforward as most other monitors with the exception of the useful SmartControl software.
Philips is a company that almost everyone reading this will have heard of. They are a consumer technology company that is diversified across a very wide range of products – everything from lightbulbs to TVs, Internet Of Things devices to healthcare machines.
Retailer: Amazon currently available for £377
Included in the box/price
298P4QJEB Philips Widescreen monitor, power cable, audio cable, DVI cable, Quick Start guide and a driver CD also including the full manual.
So how to sum the 298P4QJEB Philips Widescreen monitor up? I asked Lily’s PA how she would sum it up and she went with “Awesome!” and I’ve got to agree. To someone who has never used one regularly widescreen monitors feel odd and possibly a little stretched but with a little time to get used and to realise that two windows will actually run at once it starts to feel natural and is far more productive. The JEB makes this easier than other widescreens with its Smart software and its ability to run two inputs at once. Image quality and brightness is excellent and the 29 inch size is large but not overpowering the way very large monitors can be.
The JEB is well made, adjustable and stylish and would be proud on any productivity power users desktop. Recommended.
The review is based on the 298P4QJEB Philips Widescreen monitor kindly provided by Philips.