Philips 242G5DJEB 24″ 144Hz Gaming Monitor Review
I’ve already stated in my previous reviews that I have never been a gamer to be chasing the highest frame rates and the most impressive graphics, rather enjoying a game for the gameplay. This with the proviso of course that the graphics do look half decent and the frame rates are high enough to play a smooth game! With this in mind it was interesting to be offered a Philips 242G5DJEB 24″ 144Hz Gaming monitor to review. This monitor is all about getting the most out of a high end graphics card’s high frame rates, and is a monitor aimed directly at the dedicated high end gamer. This review is going to be interesting!
Philips themselves describe this monitor in the following way…
‘You play intense, competitive games. You demand a display with lag-free, ultra-smooth images. This Philips display redraws the screen image up to 144 times per second, effectively 2.4 x faster than a standard display.’
The Philips monitor arrived in a rather large box (deeper then I would have expected), with a straight on picture of the monitor on the front and the key “144Hz Gaming” key words in large enough lettering that you can’t help but notice them, the box also shows an interesting remote button pad (but more on that later).
- 144 Hz refresh rates for ultra-smooth, brilliant images
- FPS, RTS, Racing pre-sets intensify gaming experience
- SmartFrame highlights areas for spotting your opponents easily
- SmartKeypad enables quick access to your gaming pre-sets
- Gamer modes enable you to save your preferences
- SmartSize allows you to play on different screen sizes
Entertainment with Mobile HD Link (MHL)
- MHL technology for enjoying mobile content on a big screen
- Optional MHL cable allows for HD video audio playback
- USB 3.0 enables fast data transfers and smart phone charging
- SmartConnect with HDMI, Display port and Dual link DVI
- SmartImage game mode optimised for gamers
- SmartResponse 1 ms refresh for fast gaming
Opening the box was simply achieved by slicing (carefully) through packing tape down the middle of the box and opening the two flaps on the front of the box. Opening the box revealed a polystyrene “lid” that could be removed to give access to the panel, the stand and cabling were all located on the other side of the packaging as was easily accessed by also opening the other side of the box (two more centre parted flaps!).
The contents of the box are listed and shown above:
- Philips 242G5DJEB – Panel
- Philips 242G5DJEB – Stand
- Power Cable (Europe)
- USB Cable
- Dual Link DVI Cable (Optional – but included)
- VGA Cable
- Drivers and Documentation CD (not included)
At the time of writing the Philips 242G5DJEB is available from Amazon at approximately £311 and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of Philips
Assembling the Philips 242G5DJEB is a very simple task and mainly involves laying the panel on its front (on something soft obviously) and clipping the already assembled stand into the back via the slotted VESA mount hole. The stand slots into the mount hole and is held in place by a sprung loaded clip. Should the panel need to be removed from the stand in the future for any reason the clip can be actuated with a convenient button just under the VESA mount hole. This whole process took literally seconds to achieve.
The Philips 242G5DJEB’s stand is adjustable in all orientations and offers tilt forwards and backwards, swivel left and right and even offers height adjustment. As an added bonus the monitor can also be raised to its maximum height and then rotated from a Landscape to a Portrait.
The front of the panel itself is very pleasing to the eye, with a nice “racy” red inlay that runs along the bottom edge which features the Philips name badge. There is a subtle 144Hz label in the bottom left corner (picked out in red to continue the theme) and labels for the button functions in the bottom right hand corner (although the buttons are on the bottom edge), there is also a Power LED. The bezel surrounding the monitor panel is not especially thin, and stands proud of the front of the panel, this in contrast to the smooth surface offered by the other Philips Monitor I reviewed, the 298P4QJEB.
On the back of the monitor is the 100mm VESA mount, which is covered by the stand arm when it is slotted into place.
Below that is the power cable socket and the five connectivity ports.
IO Panel (underside)
Panel sides (left and right)
On the left hand side of the panel we find a 4 port USB 3.0 hub, with an input connector and 4 output ports, one port is marked by a lightning strike designating it as a “fast charge” port. A very useful addition for charging all those power hungry devices.
The front of the panel is completely devoid of any buttons as they are found on the bottom edge of the right side of the panel (see above).
This monitor looks reasonable, and promises lots from a performance point of view. I’m intrigued to see how much I notice a difference in graphical smoothness on this monitor, is this 144Hz stuff all hype? Lets get on with the testing and find out…
The 242G5DJEB was tested using our Intel Test Rig with a fresh installation of Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (service pack 1) installed together with all the latest relevant drivers and software. No screen calibration was carried out via my AMD Catalyst Control centre, instead I relied on the settings available on the Philips to make any adjustments I felt necessary.
I shall be playing some of my usual games of choice during my testing period.
- Battlefield 4
- Survarium (Open Beta)
- Elite Dangerous (Premium Beta)
My machine is all ready (nice clean build), my games are installed and I’m all ready to go, but wait, there are a few things I need to think about before proceeding with the tests, and prospective buyers of this monitor will need to think about these too!
144Hz – Lesson 1
I’m about to test a 144Hz monitor, that essentially equates to 144 refreshes of the screen ever second, okay so far, but what about graphics power. My graphics card (on my usual “almost maximum” settings, produces a game play at around 65/70 FPS, which is very playable, but in no way fast enough to test a 144Hz monitor. What’s the point of the monitor refreshing the screen 144 times a second, if my graphics card is only passing it data 65-70 times a second? None would be my basic answer.
So first point of this review, you need to have a graphics power house that is able to push out 140-150 FPS (on average) to really get everything out of this monitor, much less and well, you’re missing a trick. I wonder how many people have already brought a 144Hz monitor thinking it’s the next greatest thing and are running it on a rig that is pushing out 60 FPS or so, quite a few I bet, and what is 60 FPS? oh that would be 60Hz then!
This posed me a bit of a problem in that my lowly (okay not THAT lowly) 7970 GHz edition, just wouldn’t give the monitor a run for its money in its normal configuration. I had to raise my FPS and to that I had to lower quality… ALOT!
After tweaking with the settings I managed to get:
Battlefield 4 : 80-90 FPS
Survarium : 90-100 FPS
Insurgency : 120-130 FPS
Elite Dangerous : 90-100 FPS (couldn’t drop the graphics too much on this one it would be sacrilege!)
These figures are still not ideal, but they were all I could manage with my kit.
144Hz – Lesson 2
Gamers, and I mean professional games, who enter competitions ALWAYS play at 1920×1080, its just the standard that everyone follows, so larger screens are somewhat pointless to them, hence the resolution that goes with this Hz rate, this monitor is aimed directly at the professional gamer, no point offering Ultrawide monitors to this crowd! 😉
Anyway, lessons over lets get onto some testing. The screen at first look, is lovely, the colours are natural (although possibly not as natural as the 298P4QJEB). The brightness is well, too bright, this seems to be a Philips thing, the brightness as the panel comes out the box seems to be set to 100 (this was the same with the 298P4QJEB) and I immediately needed to turn it down to around the 70 mark, other than that all the other settings were good for my viewing.
All expected configuration options are there, and easily available via the on-screen menus. No PIP on this monitor, or Speakers for that matter (again comparisons to the 298P4QJEB) and no daisy chaining, but we do get a VGA port for my work laptop to plug into! (hurrah!). This monitor is all about the performance rather than the bells and whistles.
|Having said all that there is one specific feature of this monitor that is a bit new and “gadgety” and that is the SmartKeypad.||
This is essentially a remote version of some of the menu buttons found under the front of the monitor, along with two extra buttons for key “Game” profiles. The idea is that you select one of these Game Profiles from the keypad and then configure the screen as you want it for that game. Then when you switch out and back into that profile the screen remembers the settings. All pretty neat. During testing I had a play with the Smartkeypad, but usually found myself access the menus using the main screen buttons instead, it’s a great idea, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not really required.
On to gaming! I fire up my gaming build and load into Survarium for some online rounds with pcG James! I’m monitoring my framerate with Afterburner and my rig is hitting 90’s in the FPS department most of the time. All looks good, the colours are vibrant and the game flows nicely, I end that round with one of my best scores, but was it the monitor or just one good round? I play some more rounds and the more I play the more it seems that I had just happened to have a good round. I’m not sure that this high speed monitor is making that much difference.
I try some more radical ways to assess the smoothness which resulted in me heading into an empty server on BF4 and spinning around wildly looking at the graphics flash past, trying to see if I can see the smoothness. This also involved me dropping the FPS (raising the quality) to see if that makes things more stuttery (not sure it that’s a word). I can’t help but think that even if the monitor is outputting all these extra screen refreshes are my eyes even able to pick them up, I mean after all, films must be shown at 24 FPS for a reason right? (ED: Yes, they are; they are also shot in a way (using motion blur) that’s very different from a Game! In the Game YOU are in control of the camera, in a movie you are not!). Ever noticed while watching something like Transformers, how during those fight scenes you can’t actually see what’s going on… 😉
During my testing this thought occurred over and over again. Could I see a difference? I didn’t think so, was my gaming improving? Not really. It all left me feeling that for all the hype I was missing something. I carried on my testing on all the games listed and enjoyed my time with the monitor, but I never really felt that I had anything that special.
I dabbled with some of the other features of the monitor and looked at SmartImage (changes the colour ranges of the screen to optimise what’s being displayed) and SmartFrame (enhances an area of the screen). SmartImage kind of goes against my mantra of “I want to configure the colours of the monitor myself”, and although looking okay, was a bit disconcerting to me as I could see colour changes happening on the fly and I personally found that off putting. SmartFrame is a nice idea, but I’m not sure just how much games might use it. I guess for RTS games where certain actions happen in the same area of the screen all the time, it might be useful, but for First Person Shooters, it just seemed like nonsense to turn it on as the areas you want to enhance are everywhere (player can appear from all sides and at all heights). So yes I looked at these features, but could never see myself using them, even if I owned the monitor.
Don’t get me wrong as a 24″ monitor the Philips 242G5DJEB 24″ 144Hz Gaming is a very nice piece of kit and has lots going for it. On a more basic note, these Philips monitor stands are awesome, the screen can be placed where you want it, raised, lowered, tilted. There are no positions that it wouldn’t move to, it’s just fantastic. Add to this the option to rotate the screen to Portrait orientation, and it’s a very comprehensive stand configuration. The panel quality is great (but maybe not as great as the 298P4QJEB) and the monitor was very easy to look at for extended periods of time.
The Philips 242G5DJEB 24″ 144Hz Gaming monitor was simple to set up and position, thanks to that fantastic stand. The excitement of having a super fast 144Hz refresh rate was short lived when (to me at least) I couldn’t really discern any difference from my normal 60Hz monitor.
The design and layout of the monitor is good, and the configuration options in the menus are comprehensive, although I didn’t need to play with them too much as the screen came set very close to how I wanted it, apart from that Brightness of 100%!?
There are no physical bells and whistles on this monitor (other than the nice to have but somewhat redundant SmartKeypad), no PIP or PBP, no Display Port daisy chaining, and no speakers, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, this monitor isn’t pitched at those people that want these kinds of features, it’s pitched more at the out and out gamer who wants performance.
For games the monitor is great, there are the game specific features of SmartImage and SmartFrame to look at, although I’m not so sure of their actual usefulness in an actual game, and the panel itself is very clear and vibrant. It’s a pleasure to sit in front of even for extended periods.
At the time of review, the Philips 242G5DJEB can be bought for £311 via Amazon. If you compare this price with other 24″ 144Hz monitors in the marketplace (an ASUS at £268 and an AOC at (get this) £186), then the Philips is overpriced (this was the case with the 298P4QJEB as well), this without taking into account (that to me anyway), it would be more appropriate to buy a very good 60Hz monitor, that of course could potentially be even cheaper! It really seems that the Philips name carries a premium. With their other monitors marketed in the Business arena, they might have got away with it, with this monitor aimed directly at the Gamer, they probably won’t.
Overall the Philips monitor performed well, but in my opinion no better than my 24″ 60Hz monitor. I guess you could look at the 242G5DJEB as a very expensive 24″ monitor, with added bragging rights of that 144Hz label in the bottom left corner, but in all reality, IMHO you’d be better spending your money on a nice 29″ Ultrawide and improve your Gaming immersion , that is of course assuming you aren’t a competitive Gamer and therefore stuck at 1920×1080. And maybe, you just might benefit from that 144Hz Refresh Rate…
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Many thanks to Philips for providing this sample for review