Philips Gioco 278G4 3D Ambiglow review
27in screen size, 1,920x1,080 resolution, DVI: no, VGA: yes, HDMI:
The Phiips Gioco 278G4 is a beautiful monitor. Not only does the frameless 27in IPS panel look like a high-end monitor, with its slim and glossy bezel, it’s also a Full HD display that’s 3D-ready. It isn’t height adjustable, sadly, but with 20 degrees of screen tilt available, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a comfortable viewing angle. The Gioco 278G4 is certainly very pretty, but is it a great monitor?
It’s one of Philips’ Ambiglow models, which means it has 10 LEDs embedded in the back of the casing. These are meant to match the colours being projected onscreen, whether you’re playing games, watching movies or using it for everyday word processing. The idea is to create a halo of light around the monitor on the wall behind it in order to ‘extend’ the display past the edge of the screen, and offer a more immersive 3D experience.
But even with the Ambiglow set to its brightest setting, the light being emitted did very little to bring us closer to our viewing experience. You’ll have to place the monitor 15-20cm away from the wall and turn off the lights to get the best effect, but more often than not the spell was broken due to sudden changes in the light’s colour. Instead of smoothly adapting to whatever’s being shown onscreen, the light flashes instantly from one colour to the next, and it’s incredibly distracting because it draws your eyes away from the screen.
To set up 3D, all you need to do is install the TriDef drivers that come in the box, after which it’ll automatically switch between 2D and 3D depending on the program or game. Sadly, the TriDef drivers included in the box aren’t compatible with Windows 8, but you can download Windows 8-compatible drivers from www.tridef.com.
You’ll also need a graphics card that’s up to the task of outputting enough frames per second to make watching 3D worthwhile. The Gioco 278G4 has a maximum refresh rate of 60fps, which drops to a lowly 30fps when you view images in 3D. The best 3D monitors have refresh rates of 120Hz so that you get an smooth 60fps when playing games in 3D. The Gioco’s 30fps might not be enough for keen gamers.
Hook up the Gioco 278G4 to a 3D-compatible games console or 3D Blu-ray Player and it works brilliantly. The Gioco 278G4 displays 3D images automatically, without need for drivers, and there are no wires or fiddly menus to worry about. All you need to do is put on the pair of 3D glasses included in the box and you’re ready to go. You’ll still need to find a very specific sweet spot in order to minimise some heavy crosstalk (we found it best to look directly at the middle of the screen), but once you find it, the level of depth is very good.
One drawback is that there are no 3D controls on the monitor itself. You must use the TriDef utility on your PC to adjust various settings, including 3D depth, but we found it a bit fiddly to use. Of course, you can’t use the TriDef utility if you’re playing a PlayStation 3 game or watching a Blu-ray movie.