- Vibrant Colors
- Excellent Price
- Low Input Lag
- Attractive Design
- Slight Backlight Bleeding
- Gamut Needs Improvement
- Prone to Blurring
The Philips 328E1CA offers sought-after specifications such as its 4K resolution on a curved 32-inch screen at a price point that you can’t resist. This category of monitors used to be non-existent, but it’s fantastic that they were made affordable when they arrived. The Philips 328E1CA is one of the candidates if you want extra sharpness and immersion from a reasonably priced monitor, but how does it perform?
Philips 328E1CA Specifications
- Screen Size: 32 Inches
- Resolution: 3840 x 2160 4K
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Panel Technology: Vertical Alignment (VA)
- Refresh Rate: 60Hz
- Response Time: 4 ms
- Contrast Ratio: 2500:1
- Brightness: 250cd/m²
- Built-in Speakers: Yes (2 x 3 Watts)
- Stand: Height – No
- Stand: Tilt – Yes
- Stand: Swivel – No
- Stand: Pivot– No
- VESA Compatibility: Yes (100 x 100)
- Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2 x 1, HDMI 2.0 x 2, 5mm Audio Jack x 2
- Dimensions: (W x H x D): 27.91” x 20.59 ” x 9.3”
- Weight: 17 lbs
Design and Features
The Philips 328E1CA sports a minimalist look that would not make the product look out of place in any setup, whether if it’s for gaming or your office. The chassis has a clean black finish that won’t attract dust or smudges easily. The display is bezel-free thanks to a dual-stage design which limits the harder outer border to the edges.
The Philips 328E1CA also has modest proportions which are only extended by its curve and the square-shaped stand. You do have to make space for this model since it’s a 32-inch variant, so users who have tight spaces such as study corners in dorms might want to consider or measure the available space first. You can also opt for wall mounting, but the tighter curvature means the display’s sides will stick out even more.
Build quality for the Philips 328E1CA is excellent for a cheap 4K monitor since it feels sturdy and reliable. The plastics are not worryingly thin, plus there were no cosmetic defects on the sample unit which would indicate poor quality control from the factory. The device has a slight wobble, but it’s not too noticeable unless you bang your paws on the desk often.
The Philips 328E1CA uses OSD buttons instead of the more preferable joysticks which are much easier to use. The bottom bezel has labels for each one, but you’d still be hard-pressed to find the correct button in the dark. However, we think that it’s reasonable that the monitor uses this layout since its cheap, but other brands like Samsung are already using joysticks from their basic models all the way to the top.
The stand for the Philips 328E1CA is beautifully designed thanks to its metal upright and the base with a square ring profile. This part provides good stability for the larger display, but it can only offer tilt for adjustments. Thankfully it’s removable with minimal effort, allowing users to opt for VESA mounting via the four holes that are readily exposed at the rear of the cabinet.
The Philips 328E1CA also has a decent amount of connectivity options, but there are no valuable extras such as USB slots. The I/O panel includes DisplayPort 1.2a as the main, along with two HDMI 2.0 for secondary 4K devices such as gaming consoles. You also get a pair of 3.5mm jacks for audio input and output to make passthrough connections more convenient.
There is also a pair of 3-watt speakers on the Philips 328E1CA’s chassis which are decent for basic listening tasks. You won’t get gaming or movie-grade performance from the two satellites, but they are suitable for listening to background music will grinding down your tasks. They also go decently loud, but they start distorting once you go above 50% volume, so moderation is recommended.
Display and Performance
The Philips 328E1CA sports a 32-inch customized VA panel with a 3840 x 2160 resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, and 4ms response time. The backlight is limited to 250 cd/m2, while the contrast ratio sits at a typical 2500:1. This model also has a 1500r curvature which enhances the immersive factor of the display and makes the radius tighter than the more common 1800r variants.
The 32-inch size of the Philips 328E1CA’s display feels more natural for 4K since the pixels aren’t too tightly bound and overly sharp. Plenty of users will not need to use scaling with this display while they enjoy the upgraded crispness it brings. The larger display area provided by the resolution is also more appreciable in this size since anything smaller like the 27-inch models can look cramped when the two are compared.
The Philips 328E1CA exceeds 100% coverage of the sRGB gamut or around 85% of the Adobe RGB color space which means it will look extra vibrant without over-saturation. Color accuracy sits at 2.4 which isn’t the best, but errors won’t be as noticeable as they are on monitors with scores greater than DE 3.0. The biggest fault of the default profile is its color temperature, which is excessively too cool or bluish for daily use.
Adjusting the color temperatures will easily fix this issue, so users won’t need to buy a colorimeter unless photo and video editing are involved. One thing that could not be corrected was the gamma, which was persistent at 2.1 despite the adjustments in the OSD. The device also has gamma locks in the submenus but not can provide the perfect 2.2 which will balance out the instances where the screen can look washed or too bright.
The most commendable characteristic of the Philips 328E1CA is its contrast ratio which slightly exceeds its rating at 2570:1. We recommend setting the brightness to 40% to 50% to get a decent setting since the display also exceeds its backlight spec when set to its max. The screen provides low black luminance, so images with darker scenes look inky and more realistic.
You can also opt for the Philips 328E1CA’s SmartContrast setting to work its magic by adjusting the backlight according to your ambient lighting. It’s a great feature to have if you would want to avoid having to tweak the display regularly, but there are times when it can miss the perfect setting. The feature sometimes sets the backlight too high for comfort, so using your judgment and manually adjusting the brightness is still better.
The Philips 328E1CA had good panel uniformity, but there was a bit of backlight bleeding on the upper corners of the screen. The defect produced some light clouding which becomes noticeable when darker images are on display, but they aren’t as bad as some IPS monitors we’ve seen. Take note that manufacturing tolerances exist, so some units might be better in this regard than the others.
The VA panel on the Philips 328E1CA has its natural flaws since some motion blur can be seen in fast-paced action. The device has a feature called SmartResponse which can help in reducing the trailing, but it cannot perfectly clean up the display. We recommend staying with the Faster level since the maximum will induce noticeable overshoot.
The Philips 328E1CA is a FreeSync monitor with a 48Hz to 60Hz range, but it also works with G-Sync using the latest Nvidia drivers. It used to be difficult to find a 4K monitor that will work with both VRR implementations, and we’re glad a reasonably-priced model functioned flawlessly. Input lag sits at 4ms, so there should be no delays or “de-synced’ instances while playing.
Thoughts on the Philips 328E1CA
The Philips 328E1CA is a fantastic and practical option if you want a large, curved display with a 4K resolution for everyday use. The gaming performance and image quality are more than decent, so you do get excellent value out of the product. We like the design even if it has a few limitations compared to the gamer-centric variants with more aggressive aesthetics.
However, you have to take note that a cheap 4K monitor will always have its limitations, such as the stubborn gamma or lack of creature comforts found on the Philips 328E1CA. However, we think it’s easy to overlook these flaws based on the price alone which can only buy you a QHD variant from other brands.
About the Author:
Paolo is a gaming veteran since the golden days of Doom and Warcraft and has been building gaming systems for family, friends, and colleagues since his junior high years. High-performance monitors are one of his fixations and he believes that it’s every citizen’s right to enjoy one. He has gone through several pieces of hardware in pursuit of every bit of performance gain, much to the dismay of his wallet. He now works with Monitornerds to scrutinize the latest gear to create reviews that accentuate the seldom explained aspects of a PC monitor.