The new Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 is impressive. It’s a relief to say that. Over the past few months, we’ve covered several new monitors based on cutting-edge mini-LED and OLED panel technology. But all have disappointed to some degree, including Philips’ mini-LED monitor, the Philips Evnia 34M2C7600MV. (opens in a new tab).
It’s not the new Evnia OLED from Philips, though. This thing is cool. By most measures, this new OLED monitor isn’t particularly new. It’s based on the same Samsung QD-OLED panel that we first saw on Alienware’s 34-inch OLED model. You know, the one that went straight to the top of our list of favorite gaming monitors.
So, it’s a 3440 by 1440 pixel element with that immersive 21:9 aspect ratio and smooth 1800R curve. Philips claims the same 250 nit full screen SDR brightness and 1000 nit peak HDR brightness, the latter in a tiny 3% window. Likewise, both monitors promise response times of 0.1 ms and are capable of 175 Hz refresh.
Both brands even claim the exact same 99.3% coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut and in each case get VESA DisplayHDR True Black certification. So yeah, on paper there’s basically nothing to choose between them. In practice? Well, in practice it turns out that this new panel from Philips has a decisive advantage.
Evnia 34M2C8600 specifications
Screen size: 34 inches
Glow: 1000 nits peak HDR 3% APL, 250 nits full screen SDR
Response time: 0.1ms
Update frequency: 175hz
Vision angle: 178° H&V
Contrast Ratio: 1M:1
Characteristics: OLED panel, 99.3% DCI-P3, adaptive sync, 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0, USB Type-C with 90W PD, USB hub, 1800R curve
Price: $1,200 | £1,150 (opens in a new tab)
No, it’s not the Philips Ambiglow RGB lighting on the rear of the chassis. That’s fun, but it doesn’t really move the needle materially. Nor is it the absence of an Nvidia G-Sync module. The Philips only has adaptive sync with standard VESA specs, but it’s not cheaper than the Alienware despite that.
The fact that this Philips has USB-C with Power Delivery, which the Alienware lacks, probably isn’t much of a factor in what is primarily a gaming display, either. Although it should be noted that you have to use either that USB-C interface or the DisplayPort connection to get the full 175Hz refresh.
Interestingly, the important difference isn’t anything high-tech. But it does address one of the Alienware’s few drawbacks, namely its anti-glare matte coating, which slightly robs the screen of its perceived contrast and makes black tones look a little gray.
Philips has opted for a glossy coating and it makes a difference. This thing looks stellar. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 impresses as soon as it is turned on. That’s not because it immediately does something amazing.
Instead, it’s because it doesn’t look broken immediately on the Windows desktop. It just works normally and without any clumsiness or weirdness. You can’t say that any OLED monitor we’ve reviewed is based on an LG OLED panel, like the flexible Corsair Flex. (opens in a new tab). They all have obvious brightness issues and tend to do annoying and distracting things like adjusting the overall panel brightness automatically if you have the temerity to resize a browser window. It’s so annoying.
Not so, the new Evnia OLED. Like its Alienware cousin, it doesn’t run problematic ABL or auto-brightness limiter in SDR mode. Plus, it’s reasonably punchy at 250 nits for full-screen brightness. LG-based OLED monitors come in at less than 200 nits for full-screen brightness and that means they look simply lackluster and boring on your Windows desktop.
Yes, mini-LED monitors work best at basic brightness. But with that comes all the LCD downsides, like lackluster pixel response, plus the many new issues that come with local dimming, including blooming and crushing of shadow detail. A lot depends on exactly how the dimming algorithm has been coded with mini-LED monitors.
Even better, the new Philips is very well calibrated in HDR True Black mode. Specifically, the SDR color balance is amazing in that mode. If that sounds like an esoteric concern, it actually matters. Because it means you can run this monitor in HDR True Black mode all the time.
The small drawback is that there is a visible brightness limiter that works in HDR mode. So you can see the entire panel by adjusting its brightness while doing things like opening and closing browser tabs or adjusting the size of the application window. It’s quite apparent in some of the punchier HDR modes, but in our preferred HDR True Black mode it’s barely visible, especially compared to the big changes in brightness we’ve seen with monitors running LG panels.
Ultimately, you don’t need to constantly toggle between HDR True Black and SDR mode depending on the type of content. This is certainly much closer to the way HDR is meant to be. Speaking of this being the way HDR is meant to be, that goes for actual HDR performance as well. Run an HDR video and oh my gosh, the Evnia looks great. The glossy coating really accentuates the contrast between those inky OLED blacks and the sizzling reflections.
Of course, the HDR True Black mode is only calibrated for a maximum brightness of 400 nits. But perfect black levels mean that’s enough for a really punchy overall feel. Really striking wicks, even limited to 400 nits.
Step into an HDR-capable game like Cyberpunk 2077 and with this monitor you really get what all the HDR hype is about. Running Cyberpunk in HDR unambiguously looks better than SDR mode in Evnia. It’s amazing how many HDR monitors you can say that about, even those with ridiculous peak luminance levels.
More to the point, Evnia absolutely sizzles in Cyberpunk. Outside, there’s immense shadow detail as well as fabulous pop where rays of sunlight hit objects or characters. Inside, the neon lights really hit you on the retina. But right next to it you can see details in the dark that you have never seen before. It’s a bit of a revelation.
In fact, to see this monitor do its HDR job is to experience something of an epiphany. Suddenly, HDR makes rather frustrating sense. If there’s a problem, it’s that none of the alternative HDR modes that Philips has included have hit the nail on the head.
Yes, they allow access to higher HDR brightness levels and thus hit that claimed 1000 nit peak. The problem is that they are all a bit oversaturated and unbalanced. If all you care about is pure visual impact, then that’s fine. But color balance and saturation only look good in the slightly more restrained HDR True Black mode.
In other words, you can’t have the full 1000 nit experience and accurate colors at the same time, which is a small shame. Us? We would stay with the HDR True Black mode. It’s got plenty of pop, a true HDR experience, and compelling, natural colors. it’s great
There is more good news elsewhere. The pixel response is, of course, outrageously fast. It’s better than any IPS monitor. Combine that with the 175Hz refresh rate, which is enough for all but the most lag-sensitive esports addicts, and you have a very fast overall experience.
If you’re looking for downsides beyond the slight trade-offs of the various HDR modes and remaining marginal brightness limitations, well, there’s an obvious problem right from the start. Its pixel density. 3440 by 1440 pixels on a 34-inch ultrawide monitor yields a pedestrian pixel density of 110 DPI.
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Of course, higher resolution and higher pixel density would have implications for frame rates. Let’s say this was a 34-inch 5K2K panel with 5120 by 2160 pixels. That’s your resolved pixel density right there. But then you would immediately have a new frame rate problem. Even an Nvidia RTX 4090 (opens in a new tab) you’ll struggle to hit triple-digit frame rates in the most demanding games at that kind of resolution.
Still, like its Alienware cousin, the Philips Evnia OLED lacks the retina-cut sharpness and graphic detail of, say, a 27-inch 4K monitor. There is no way around that. But in a pure gaming context, it’s still a huge compromise between visual detail and frame rate.
It’s more for general computing and productivity that the resolution and pixel density just don’t get the job done, especially given the price. In that sense, the triangular rather than striped sub-pixel structure of Samsung’s OLED panel is also slightly less than optimal for rendering fonts.
He also has doubts about the longevity of OLED. Will this Philips eventually get burned? That’s hard to predict. So far its Alienware cousin using the same Samsung QD-OLED panel seems to be doing just fine in the wild.
All of which means you may have guessed what’s coming. Yes, the Philips Philips Evnia 34M2C8600 is our new favorite gaming monitor. It matches the Alienware OLED at every significant turn and then adds a glossy layer that really makes the Samsung QD-OLED panel sing.
Alienware offers the full functionality of G-Sync for almost the same money. so from an objective scoring perspective, it’s a tie. But the moral victory goes to Philips. This is the OLED monitor, heck, the monitor of anything we’d pick.
There are no backlight oddities you have to put up with on mini-LED monitors. Similarly, full screen brightness is much better than LG-based OLED monitors. Instead, this is the virtually no-compromise OLED experience we’ve been waiting for. It’s really that good.