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Philips Momentum 279M1RV review: A staggeringly good gaming monitor for Xbox Series X, PS5 and PC

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
720
inc VAT

Packed with features and highly capable, the Momentum 279M1RV is a fantastic all-rounder

Pros 
Good HDR performance
Vivid, accurate panel
Plenty of ports, including HDMI 2.1 and USB-C
Cons 
Uninspiring design
Limited colour presets
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The Philips Momentum 279M1RV is the latest in an increasingly long line of monitors hoping to grab the attention of next-gen console gamers. Officially, the Momentum 279M1RV is built for Xbox Series X but, with HDMI 2.1, VRR and a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz, owners of the PlayStation 5 or a high-end gaming PC certainly haven’t been left out.

As I’ve already mentioned, however, there are already a lot of these kinds of monitors on the market, which means Philips is going to have to deliver something pretty sensational to stand out.

Philips Momentum 279M1RV review: What do you get for the money?

At £720, the Philips Momentum 279M1RV nestles comfortably within a crowd of similarly specced monitors that have passed through our Labs in recent months. For the money, you’re getting a 27in IPS panel with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, a refresh rate of 144Hz, a quoted response time of 1ms G2G and a DisplayHDR 600 specification backed by edge-lit local dimming. The panel is compatible with both AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync.

On the rear, you’ll find three HDMI 2.1 ports and one DP 1.4 port for display duties, plus a four-port USB-A 3.2 hub for your peripherals, a 3.5mm jack and a USB-C port capable of supplying 65W of power and carrying a video signal simultaneously. Running around the edge of the rear panelling is Philips Ambiglow lighting – just like the Ambilight lighting you’ll find on many Philips TVs – and nestled above the ports is a pair of 5W speakers that support DTS surround sound.

The stand provides 130mm of height adjustment, 35 degrees of pivot left and right and 20 degrees of backwards tilt (it cannot be rotated into a portrait orientation). The box contains DP 1.4, HDMI 2.1 and USB-C to USB-C cables alongside a power cable with a large power brick and an instruction manual.

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Philips Momentum 279M1RV review: What do we like about it?

It might not seem like it but the price tag is a huge selling point. At £720, the 279M1RV sits between the similarly specified Samsung Odyssey G70A (£700) and Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A (£750), both of which have inferior HDR certifications and fewer ports. It also has a marginally better feature set than the Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ (£850), although the PG32UQ is five inches larger across the diagonal.

So, while it may not be cheap, the Philips Momentum 279M1RV offers better bang for your buck than most. This is clearly evidenced in the generous selection of physical connections. Gaming monitors are notorious for skipping USB-C so the presence of it here gives the 279M1RV a palpable advantage over its competitors. The surplus of HDMI 2.1 and USB-A ports is a nice bonus, too.

I’m also fond of the built-in Ambiglow lighting, which pushes RGB to the next level by projecting colours onto the surface behind your desk to vaguely match what’s on the screen. Better yet, the 279M1RV possesses a surprisingly good pair of speakers: there’s plenty of volume and even a modicum of bass, which is unusual for a monitor. Throw in solid HDR capabilities and a high resolution and you have a monitor that’s as good for watching movies as it is for gaming on.

While the design of the Momentum 279M1RV might not win any awards, I do like the fact that the bezels are almost the same width on all four edges; it lends the panel an elegant, TV-like appearance. The stand, meanwhile, provides adequate adjustment options, particularly if you’re planning on spending most of your time gaming.

And that’s certainly what Philips hopes you’ll be doing. The 279M1RV leverages HDMI 2.1 to unlock 4K gaming at 120Hz on your PS5 or Xbox Series X, and it does so with pizzazz. This monitor is sublime to game on. Input lag is low, and Philips’ proprietary overdrive technology produces virtually no noticeable ghosting until you push it to its fourth and fastest setting.

Moreover, cramming a 4K resolution into a 27in panel produces pin-sharp visuals. I'd take issue with a 27in 4K office monitor, since the benefit of 4K for office work is the increased screen real estate, which at 27in requires a bit too much squinting. For gaming, however, the benefits are more straightforward: more pixels equals a better image. 

Borderlands 3, my test game of choice, is a perfect pick for this monitor: frenetic gunfights and vibrant colours are a treat, especially in HDR. With HDR engaged this monitor topped out at 650 nits in a 10% white window, passing the entry requirements for DisplayHDR 600. Like its competitors, the 279M1RV uses a backlight with local dimming zones arranged around the edge of the panel; and, where others in this price bracket tend to settle for eight such zones, the Philips has 16, like the more expensive Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ.

The result of these additional zones is that the Momentum 279M1RV can produce HDR with more nuance than its rivals, darkening shadowy corners and highlighting bright/colourful patches to good effect. Sure, it’s not a patch on an HDR TV with full-array local dimming (or an OLED screen for that matter) but, by the standards of most gaming monitors, it’s impressive.

It helps that the Momentum 279M1RV is capable of producing a wide gamut of colours. Out of the box, in default settings, the 279M1RV produced 136% of the sRGB colour gamut, 96% of the DCI-P3 gamut and 94% of the Adobe RGB gamut. Delta E in sRGB and DCI-P3 never exceeded 2 so, although this monitor isn’t pinpoint accurate, it’s certainly no slouch. In short, colours are definitely on the vibrant side, but they don’t appear oversaturated.

Philips Momentum 279M1RV review: What could be better?

If there’s one thing the Philips Momentum 279M1RV isn’t, it’s good-looking. The stand is an eyesore, a mass of light grey trapezoid struts that wouldn’t look out of place on a construction site. The sad truth is that the monitor looks a bit cheap – although, thankfully, that doesn’t carry across to the build quality, which is generally rock solid.

As it uses an IPS panel, the Philips Momentum 279M1RV cannot produce particularly mind-blowing contrast, even when the 16-zone backlight is working up a sweat. With HDR enabled and local dimming engaged it reached 1,497:1. Ultimately, this is still better than the rival IPS panels from Asus or Samsung that I’ve tested, and I don’t feel that it had a noticeably negative impact on HDR performance, but it’s worth noting if only to temper your expectations.

My final complaint is a small one: like Philips’ office monitors, the Momentum 279M1RV has only one colour preset in SDR mode (misleadingly entitled “sRGB”). This feels like a missed opportunity given the monitor’s excellent wide gamut coverage.

Engaging HDR opens up several more colour presets, but for the sake of your eyes, you won’t want to leave HDR on all the time. It would simply have been nice to be able to switch into a dedicated DCI-P3 “Movie” mode or Adobe RGB for photo editing, for example, without having to manually calibrate the panel.

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Philips Momentum 279M1RV review: Should you buy it?

So far, I haven’t been disappointed by any of the HDMI 2.1-compliant monitors that have landed on my desk. The Philips Momentum 279M1RV is therefore in vaunted company, but it does more than enough to secure its place at the very top of the pile. It’s a strong performer with a fantastic feature set.

It isn’t the perfect gaming monitor, but Philips has successfully chosen the right places to nip and tuck in order to keep the price within the bounds of reason. If you have the budget for it and you’re in the market for a do-it-all gaming monitor, the Philips Momentum 279M1RV is an excellent choice.

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