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Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 review: A faultless ultrawide OLED gaming monitor

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 1,150
(Inc VAT)

Price aside,the Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 is a superb package for gamers and general users alike

Pros

  • Bright and colourful display
  • Loud sound system
  • Great HDR performance

Cons

  • OLED = expensive
  • Low PPI per pound ratio
  • HDMI ports are v2.0

Make no mistake: OLED gaming monitors such as the Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 are in a different league. Indeed, newcomers to the industry would be forgiven for wondering why OLED isn’t the standard for all gaming monitors: after all, they exclusively offer superior contrast, better viewing angles and far faster response times than IPS or VA panels.

The biggest limiting factor is price. Most OLED gaming monitors are going to set you back £1,000 or more, while a roughly equivalent IPS or VA model such as Huawei’s MateView GT can be had for half as much. You’ll also have to learn to live with the automatic brightness systems that are used to prevent burn-in when running in HDR mode – this won’t bother everyone but it can leave OLED panels looking dimmer than other varieties.

If these things are of no concern to you, however, the Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 is an astonishing monitor that leads its class in performance and design.

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Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 review: What do you get for your money?

The Evnia will set you back £1,150 at the time of writing. It’s built around an ultrawide Quad HD (3,440 x 1,440 OLED) panel with a 1800R curvature, a 165Hz refresh rate and a quoted response time of 0.1ms G2G. Also part of the package are a comprehensive USB hub, the always impressive Philips Ambiglow ambient lighting system and a VESA DisplayHDR True Black 400 certification. This is a standard DisplayHDR 400 certification with one additional requirement: that the monitor in question produces black levels of 0.0005cd/m² (the lowest level measurable by ordinary colorimeters).

Physically the 34M2C8600 is one of the smarter gaming monitors on the market, thanks to its white casing and silver brightwork below the panel and on the stand. It feels well made, too, with no creaks or squeaks evident during setup.

The stand itself is a slender and pretty unobtrusive affair with a cable-tidy at the back. It offers a basic range of adjustment with 150mm of height, 20° of swivel to the left and right and tilts between -5 and +20°. There’s no pivot, let alone rotating 90 degrees into portrait, but that is hardly unexpected with a 34in curved display.

 

The stand is fixed to the back of the monitor with a quick-release mechanism. Philips bundles in a 100 x 100mm VESA adapter that slots into the same mechanism, which is a useful feature in that it lets you use a VESA mount without having to screw anything into the monitor case itself.

READ NEXT: Huawei MateView GT review: Ultrawide gaming for less


Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 review: What type of connections does it have?

There’s nothing revolutionary about the range of I/O ports on the Evnia, with two HDMI 2.0 and one DisplayPort 1.4 port doing the heavy lifting on the video front. There’s also an all-singing, all-dancing Type-C port, as well as an upstream USB-B and four downstream Type-A USB ports. A 3.5mm audio jack rounds out the selection.

Most of the ports are positioned on the back, facing downwards in a typical hard-to-access fashion, but thankfully two of the USB-A ports are located under the left edge of the monitor, making them much easier to access.

I was rather disappointed to discover that the two HDMI connectors are only v2.0, which will deny owners of the latest-generation gaming consoles the full benefits of HDMI 2.1, such as VRR – although given that neither the PlayStation 5 nor the Xbox Series X supports ultrawide aspect ratios, it’s not a huge loss.

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Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 review: How good is the image quality?

Before I start pointing my colorimeter at the monitors I’m testing, it’s become one of my habits to run a selection of HDR video files to make an unscientific Mark 1 Eyeball evaluation. On the basis of my first subjective take, I would say that the Evnia 34M2C8600 has the best display of any gaming monitor I’ve encountered to date. It really does look quite superb.

The most obvious reason is that the Samsung-sourced QD-OLED panel is housed behind gloss-finish glass, which gives the Evnia an out-of-the-block advantage over gaming monitors with matte finish screens, be they IPS, VA or OLED.

This OLED Evnia certainly doesn’t want for colour, with 100% of the sRGB gamut accounted for, from a 159.6% volume along with 99.6% DCI-P3 and 93.1% Adobe RGB. It’s colour accurate, too, registering a Delta E variance of just 1.01 against sRGB (the only industry-standard colour profile available on the Evnia), which is excellent.

The Evnia’s OLED panel reached a very impressive full-screen brightness of 263cd/m² in SDR, jumping to 562cd/m² in HDR Vivid mode. Philips claims an HDR peak of 1,000cd/m² in a 3% window, but 943cd/m² was the best I managed to record, which is still very healthy for an OLED panel. Being an OLED panel the contrast ratio is either infinite or incalculable depending on your preferred nomenclature, but no matter how you describe it, black areas are truly, deeply, inkily, black.

HDR performance is very good. Select the HDR True Black mode and you can leave Windows in HDR mode permanently without turning your desktop into an overbright colour-crazy bin fire. True Black mode does peg the brightness back a bit compared to Vivid mode (by around 100cd/m²), but HDR content still looks absolutely tip-top and colour accuracy doesn’t suffer too much. For fun, I measured the Delta E in True Black HDR and got a figure of 3.4 which, while not good enough for colour-critical work, is fine for everyday use.

The screen refreshes at a middling 165Hz, but only if you’re plugged in using DisplayPort. Use HDMI and you’re limited to a less impressive 100Hz. Of course, running games at 165Hz 3,440 x 1,440 is beyond many GPUs so this could be a moot issue. In my opinion, it’s certainly a compromise worth making for the excellent 0.1ms G2G response time, which effectively eliminates motion blur or ghosting.

Running a uniformity test on the Evnia proved it to be a superb performer. Each of the 25 swatches fell within the recommended limits for luminescence and ISO 14861. That’s a level of performance that can only be described as outstanding.

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Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 review: Are there any other features I should know about?

Buried inside the monitor housing are two 5W loudspeakers that produce a surprising amount of volume: 82dB(A) measured against a pink noise source at 1m. The speakers come with DTS Sound audio processing, but that doesn’t prevent them from sounding just a bit raucous and aggressive when you push the volume past the 80% mark, though you shouldn’t ever really need to. At medium volume settings, the soundscape is more composed with enough bass, treble and space in evidence to make for a very agreeable listening experience.

The Evnia’s USB hub is a very well-specified affair. All five of the USB ports run at 5Gbits/sec and one supports 7W fast charging, though oddly it’s one of the ports on the back rather than one of the more easily accessible ports at the bottom of the unit. The Type-C port can also support 90W PD charging. The KVM switch worked perfectly, automatically swapping between the Type-C or Type-B data stream depending on video input.

The back of the Evnia is home to 25 individual LEDs and an LED strip that runs centrally from top to bottom breaking only where the stand is attached. The RGB light show is not only surprisingly bright at its highest setting, but can also be set to work in harmony with what the display is showing or put on a show independently. Some people regard these light shows as mere gimmickry, but I don’t. I think they add a genuine extra dimension to gaming or watching videos and further, I think Philips’ Ambiglow is the best system of its type. Ambiglow is certainly a reason to buy the 34M2C8600 in my book.

Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 review: Should I buy it?

Assuming you can live with the price and the rather vin ordinaire refresh rate, there’s really no reason not to. Picture quality is superb, especially in HDR, as is gaming performance thanks to that super-fast response time. Mention must also be made of the comprehensive USB hub, surprisingly loud sound system and the fact that it’s a genuinely nice-looking bit of kit. Some PS5 and Xbox Series X owners may raise an eyebrow at the HDMI spec and accompanying reduced 100Hz refresh rate, but I’m not going to let that get in the way of a Best Buy award.

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Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 – Key specs
Screen34in, 3,440 x 1,440 OLED display
Refresh rate165Hz
Response rate0.1ms GTG
PortsHDMI 2.0 x 2, DisplayPort 1.4, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 x 4, USB-B 3.2 Gen 1 x 1, USB-C x 1 (DP Alt mode, Data and 90W Power Delivery) 3.5mm audio
SpeakersBuilt-in 2 x 5W DTS
Unit size813 x 553 x 295mm
Unit weight8.7kg