Philips Brilliance LCD Monitor with USB-C Dock (329P9H), hands on: 32-inch 4K display with unmatched connectivity

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It's quite common for modern office monitors to include a built-in USB hub, so you can leave peripherals such as a mouse, keyboard or printer connected to the monitor. That's convenient for business users, as it allows you to quickly connect a desktop or laptop PC to the monitor and peripherals with a single USB cable, or to switch between the two as required. However, Philips has gone quite a bit further with its new Brilliance LCD Monitor With USB-C Dock -- also known as the 329P9H.

With a screen size of 31.5 inches (80cm), and a price of £809 (ex. VAT; £970.80 inc. VAT, or $780), the 329P9H is perhaps a little large and expensive for office workers who simply want to run Microsoft Office. However, its 4K display (3840 x 2160 resolution, 140dpi) provides a bright, attractive image that will work well for presentations, conference rooms and point-of-sale locations. The monitor's stand is rather bulky, but it allows you to tilt and swivel the screen, adjust its height and also rotate it into upright 'portrait' mode.

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The Brilliance 329P9H has a 31.5-inch IPS LCD screen with 3820 by 2160 (4K, 140ppi) resolution and 5ms pixel response time. Brightness goes up to 350 cd/m², and the typical contrast ratio is 1300:1.

Images: Philips
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You can pivot the Brilliance 329P9H from landscape to portrait mode, and vice versa.

Image: Philips

And, of course, a large, high-resolution display such as this will also be useful for design, photography and graphics work. It should be noted, though, that while the 329P9H provides impressive image quality, and supports 100% of the sRGB colour space, it only supports 87% of Adobe RGB, so it may not be ideal for professional print and publishing work.

The real strength of the 329P9H, though, lies in its versatile connectivity features. As the name suggests, the 329P9H is specifically designed for newer PCs that are equipped with USB-C ports. The monitor does include a hub that provides four conventional USB-A ports for your office peripherals, with two of those ports providing a fast-charge option for mobile devices, but the 'upstream' connection that links your PC to the monitor's hub requires a USB-C interface. That USB-C connection can be used to charge a laptop and transfer data, and the USB-C cable that's included with the 329P9H also supports DisplayPort, so your laptop or desktop PC can output video to the monitor via USB-C as well. 

There's even a Gigabit Ethernet port built into the monitor, allowing the 329P9H to simultaneously act as an external display for our Dell Latitude laptop, while also charging the laptop, connecting a USB mouse and keyboard, and providing a wired network connection -- all via a single USB-C cable.

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The key feature of the Brilliance 329P9H is the number and variety of connections at the back.

Images: Philips

That's just the start, though, as the 329P9H also includes two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort interface for video input, as well as a DisplayPort output for connecting an additional display. This allows you to connect multiple devices to the display -- perhaps a desktop PC and a laptop at the same time -- and switch between them as required. You can even work with two devices at once, as the monitor includes both PiP (picture-in-picture) and a PbP (picture-by-picture) option that uses the large screen to display video images from two computers side-by-side at the same time.

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Philips doesn't stop there either. The built-in webcam on the top edge of the screen supports Windows Hello facial recognition for extra security, and there's an infrared sensor that can tell when you move away from the monitor and automatically lowers the brightness to save energy. The only minor disappointment is the rather feeble sound that emanates from the built-in stereo speakers, although the 329P9H does include a standard 3.5mm audio output so you can use headphones or a set of external speakers if required.

Conclusions

It's expensive for an office monitor, but the large 4K display of the Brilliance 329P9H is well suited for presentations, video editing and graphics work. However, its greatest strength is the versatility of its built-in USB-C dock, which will appeal to any business user who works with both a desktop and laptop PC in their office.

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