What is it like using a 55” 4K Philips 6103 TV as a monitor?

Philips 6103
Philips 6103 as it should be viewed
SBA

Gamers want more screen real estate.  They are increasingly turning to 4K TVs ‘on their desks’, but there are a few pitfalls for the unwary. We put the 55-inch 4K Philips 6103 through its paces – and depending on what you use it for – you may save motza money.

Gamer GadgetGuy Arjun Krishna Lal selected the Philips 6103 for one reason – its currently on special at the Good Guys for $699 which makes it pretty well the best value in Australia (and Philips was prepared to loan it to him for a warts-and-all assessment).

Not to mention that we have been very impressed with Philips Momentum monitors that cost a good deal more for much smaller screen sizes. But more importantly we could have selected vastly more expensive TVs – we wanted to see how well an affordable one was.

Arjun writes:

For the past one week, the 1000-pound gorilla in my room has been a ‘monitor’ that’s slightly larger than the desk it is sitting on.

Gorilla

 I use the term monitor figuratively – it is a 55-inch, 4K UltraSlim, Smart LED TV 55PUT6103/79 (Philips 6103 website here). I wanted to explore the pros and cons of using a TV as a PC monitor – especially for games.


It took me some time to figure out just where to put the damn thing. You have no idea what it is like to replace a 27-inch monitor with something 2.04 times its size!

Pro:

  • An incredible gaming and media experience
  • Super-charged productivity
  • It’ll light up your room at night

Con:

  • It completely takes over your desk
  • Input lag not good for high-speed gaming
  • Eye strain when used for long stretches
  • Did I mention it’ll light up your room at night?

That was the short version. If you want a more detailed account of the supersized monitor experience, that’s what this deep-dive is all about. This will take a bit of time, so strap in.

A quick overview of the Philips 6103 TV

It is one of Philip’s budget 4K sets, a solid performer. You get a straightforward design with moderate, 1cm bezels. It has 2 x 8W (16W RMS) 2.0 speakers delivering ‘decent’ TV audio quality with a focus on clear voice- it lacks bass response, but that’s what a soundbar is for.

You get a 4K VA (vertical alignment) panel. VA panels usually have better contrast (3000:1 versus IPS at 1500:1), colour accuracy, deeper black levels (as low as .03 nits), uniformity and better image quality than IPS. VA’s even better in a dark room – as most gamers prefer. Samsung is a VA aficionado. 


IPS usually wins on viewing angles (72° versus 40°) and input lag, though LG and Sony like IPS.

What’s the panel like?

It has a decent panel – 4K (3840 x 2160), HDR-400 Plus and edge-lit, ‘micro-dimming’ that Philips claims give them 6400 different dimming zones. It’s a cut above the no-name, el-cheapo TVs out there.

Philips 6103

Hardware-wise it has a quad-core ARM processor; a GPU that supports up to HEVC H.265 decoding; HDMI ARC; Two x HDMI [email protected]; 2 x USB-A 5V/900mA; Wi-Fi N (dual-band 2×2), Wi-Fi Miracast and Ethernet. Its housed in a 1243.2 x 729.6 x 85.9 mm x 13.35kg unit.

Philips 6103 connectors

The V-shaped stands at either end are 241.3mm and elevate the screen by 52.65mm. It is VESA 200 x 200 wall mountable.

Why would you use a TV as a monitor?

There are a ton of good reasons why you’d want to do this. For starters, price and screen real estate.

Even in the entry-level segment, monitors always cost substantially more than TVs of the same size. A 32-inch 4K ‘dumb’ monitor sells for about $500-700, and this smart 55-inch TV is $699. That’s because for every monitor sold there may be a thousand TVs sold. Yes, I made that statistic up, but it’s all about economies of scale.


Both 1980×1080 and 4K monitors need clarity and crisp images to be viewed from about 60-100cm.

A 55-inch TV assumes a viewing distance between 1.5 and 2 metres.

HDR ticks all the boxes

4K TVs are a cheaper route to 4K gaming and for media consumption. HDR or high dynamic range means how much detail you see in the shadows and bright areas.

The Philips 6103 supports HDR400 – that means minimum peak brightness of 400 nits, minimum screen blackness of .4 nits, 8-bit colour for the majority of the sRGB gamut, and a maximum backlight latency of 8 frames.

 Let’s just say that higher HDR 500/600/1000/1400 refers to more brightness and a lower blackness.

This TV may have a claimed 6400 dimming zones, but the bottom edge-lit backlight is its Achille’s heel.

Philips 6103 pixels

When gaming, the image quality is better with HDR left off. Regrettably, true back-lit screens are several times the price.

What’s it like to use the Philips 6103?

This is a gigantic screen to sit on a typical cubby-hole desk. It barely fits on a 120cm (w) x 60cm (d) desk with just a 1cm clearance on either side. The stand allows a mouse and keyboard fit comfortably under the bottom bezel. Pushed as far back as possible it leaves about 150cm free in front.


Philips 6103

The low pixel density is an issue if you sit very close. A 55-inch 4K,16:9 panel has 8,294,400 pixels to spread over the panel meaning 80ppi. The display was noticeably softer than my 27” 2560×1440, 110ppi, panel at the same distance.

An easy solution? Just a push it a bit further back, OK a lot further back than usual. But then you need a bigger desk.

A real retina-searer

Then there’s the brightness. This is a 400-nit display. A typical monitor will run at 160 nits or more depending on room lighting.

At night, you don’t even need to turn on the lights. When seated up close, white interfaces like MS Word are retina-searingly-bright. If you use it too long or sit too close, you’ll get eye strain—it simply emits too much light.

retina searing

PWM’s another issue. It’s a technique used on low-cost TVs where the backlight is flashed at very high frequencies (120-360 times a second) to lower overall luminance. It can cause headaches and epileptic fits in some people.

Monitors, on the other hand, are moving to ‘flicker-free’ using direct current switching to modulate light.

To stay safe, use dark mode in Windows and Chrome. Manually turn brightness and contrast as far down as you can and sit as far away as you can when you’re working.


retina searing

Crank it back up when you want to game.

The Productivity Experience: Windows, windows, windows and more windows

The 55-in display gives you four times the usable area of a 27-inch monitor.

When I work, I have four 27-inch windows open – Word, browser, search and email. Having all this onscreen at once, without the need to switch in and out, makes me more productive and simplifies my workflow.

But you need good neck muscles to take it all in – a typical user will have about a 90x50cm field of vision at 60cm – half the 55-inch screen so do your main work on the bottom half.

The Gaming Experience: A Mixed Bag

When 4K works, the experience is incredible. But I’ve found that a considerable amount of setup is required. And even then, the experience is far from perfect.

 For reference, I have an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER graphics card (just under $1000). It’s on par with the NVIDIA 1080 Ti and delivers playable framerates in most games at up to [email protected] Why use a $1000 graphics card to drive a $699 TV? Gamer ego?

If you have anything slower than these cards, you’re not going to get playable framerates at 4K without making a lot of compromises. Because the pixel density is low, lower resolutions like 1440p or 1080p just look horrible onscreen.


It’s a beautiful 4K panel: make full use of those 8 million pixels.

Press X to attack…eventually

Input lag is a problem, too. There’s a noticeable gap between your input and movement onscreen, which throws you off in fast-paced games.

Turn off the TV’s image processing and activate “game mode” to minimise this.

GadgetGuy’s take: I want to go back, but I don’t think I could – Philips 6103

Fact: A 55-inch 4K TV isn’t the ideal monitor you want occupying your entire desk. It has plenty of drawbacks—extreme brightness and input lag to name just two. And did I mention it’s gigantic?

Despite these, it is hard to imagine going back to a smaller screen. The media and gaming experience up close are phenomenal.

But it’s very much a love-it or hate-it experience.

If you’re considering buying a TV as a monitor replacement, give it a trial run first. If you already have an HDTV at home, relocate it to your desk and hook up your computer. You will know very soon if this is an experience you want, or if you’re content to let TVs be TVs.

Philips 6103

Post note: The Philips 6103S is a low-cost screen. At the top end, you have LG OLED, and Nano LED, Sony OLED and Ultra HD, Samsung QLED and more. These will set you back around $3000-5000, and the gaming experience with both consoles (PlayStation or Xbox) and PC is that much better.


So if they want me to review these sets – drop me a line at [email protected] 

Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of Use
Design
Reader Rating0 Votes
An incredible gaming and media experience
Super-charged productivity
It’ll light up your room at night
It completely takes over your desk
Input lag not good for high-speed gaming
Did I mention it’ll light up your room at night?
4.4