HDR Performance

Aside from the size, the other key reason to buy the Momentum 43 is its HDR capabilities, in particular DisplayHDR 1000 certification. What we’re getting here on the spec sheet is actually pretty good as far as monitors are concerned, we often see companies slapping “HDR” onto their monitor boxes without tackling even one of the three key HDR pillars, but in this case Philips has made an effort to provide an HDR experience that exceeds SDR, and that shows with DisplayHDR 1000 certification.

We get over 700 nits of sustained brightness and 1000 nits peak, so Philips has smashed that target. We also see an increased color space of 145% sRGB, a 10-bit panel through FRC, and local dimming. However the big omission here is an FALD or full array local dimming backlight; the Momentum 43 only features edge lit dimming in 32 zones. So unfortunately this panel doesn’t meet everything in my HDR checklist.

And let’s talk about the edge lit dimming for a moment here. 32 zones is larger than what you see with Samsung’s HDR panels, for example, but it’s still nowhere near the level of the 384-zone FALD backlight you get with Asus and Acer’s G-Sync HDR monitors. The big issue with edge lit dimming is it can’t show bright objects in the center of the display without producing a noticeable glow that extends from the edges of the display, to the bright object. VA’s excellent native contrast helps mitigate this issue somewhat compared to IPS, but the glow is still present and in a dark viewing environment, it’s noticeable. Each lighting zone also appears a little slow to respond compared to other HDR displays I’ve used.

While I could slam Philips more for using edge lit local dimming, the reality is this monitor’s HDR mode does provide an improvement over SDR because it comfortably provides two of the three key HDR pillars in brightness and color space. And in a lot of situations, the edge lit backlight does help improve the dynamic range and contrast of scenes. So it’s not like the HDR experience is awful because it lacks an FALD backlight, it’s definitely better than SDR. But the experience isn’t as good as with a proper HDR display that ticks every box, so I’d class the Momentum 43 as an HDR-lite display or something along those lines.

The good news is that the areas of HDR that the Momentum 43 does support, like brightness and color space, it supports really well. The panel can comfortably sustain over 900 nits of brightness regardless of the window size, and while peak brightness doesn’t quite hit 1000 nits, the 935 nits my unit can produce is absolutely blinding at a desk viewing distance. When you’re not experiencing the glow issues from the edge lit backlight, we’re also getting a contrast ratio over 40,000:1 in a best case scenario, which is great. And as for color space, 97% DCI-P3 coverage means the display can show a significantly higher number of colors than basic sRGB, which leads to more vibrant imagery in the HDR mode.

Also, there are several different HDR modes, I recommend using the DisplayHDR 1000 mode for the best performance.