Philips Momentum 43 ships as first DisplayHDR 1000-certified 4K monitor for $1,000

Gamers, boot your consoles.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
2 min read

Announced in April, Philips holds the distinction of being first to ship a DisplayHDR 1000 monitor, the new VESA certification for indicating, well, "this monitor meets some loose criteria for displaying HDR content decently"? But to its credit, the 4K, 43-inch Philips Momentum 43's specs exceed the minimum requirements.

Philips Momentum 43 specs

Price (MSRP) $1,000, £700
Panel type MVA-Quantum Dot
Backlight type WLED
Size (diagonal) 42.5 inches
Resolution 4K UHD, 3,840x2,160 pixels
Aspect ratio 16:9
Pixel pitch (mm) 0.245
Maximum gamut 97.6 percent DCI-P3
Bit depth 8 (10-bit simulation via FRC)
Typical brightness (nits) 720
HDR DisplayHDR 1000
Sync standard Adaptive Sync
Maximum vertical refresh rate (at HD or higher resolution) 80Hz
Gray/gray response time (milliseconds) 4
HDMI 1x 2.0
USB-C (out) Yes
USB-C (in) Yes
USB Type-A (out) 2x USB 2.0
USB 3.0 (in) 1
Thunderbolt Yes
DisplayPort 1x 1.2
Mini DisplayPort 1x 1.2
Built-in speakers 2x 7 watts
Headphone jack Yes
Release date July 2018

The "1000" refers to its ability to sustain 1,000 nits of brightness for brief intervals -- one of the most important characteristics of a real HDR display. The certification calls for a typical brightness of 600 nits and at least 100 percent of the BT.709 color space (similar to sRGB). But the Momentum claims 720 nits and almost 98 percent DCI-P3, the biggest space currently practical. 

It also has an 80Hz refresh rate plus adaptive sync and a 4-millisecond gray-to-gray response time, which gives it decent gaming cred, especially for consoles .

While it's the first monitor to bear the DisplayHDR 1000 imprimatur, it's not the first 1,000-nit HDR monitor. For instance, there's the Acer Predator X27, which supports G-Sync HDR. Hitting those better, more stringent requirements, plus G-Sync, make it more expensive at $2,000. But Philips' is certainly the biggest monitor with reasonable HDR and is half the price.

Keep in mind that the three DisplayHDR certifications don't cover color accuracy or white point. It defines the gamuts by testing the three primaries (red, green and blue) at full saturation. But, for example, cyan (blue-green) is hard for displays to hit properly and likely to be wrong. Gamuts aren't polygons. 

The certification also requires 10-bit processing, but not a 10-bit panel; the Momentum 43 uses an 8-bit panel and dithers out to 10 bits. As long as someone eyeballing a test screen can't see issues with the gradients, it's considered certifiable.