I’ve been curious about the 21:9 display format since it started to creep into mainstream displays last year. Originally developed to display cinema grade movies natively, computer users are now snapping these up to give themselves a sort of wide ‘Bloomberg terminal’ without the break (and the swivel between displays).

I received the Philips 298P4 29-inch 21:9 display a few weeks ago and have set it up as my display at my desk.  It has an unusual 2560×1080 pixel display which is the same amount of pixels across as traditional 30 inch 16:10 displays or 27-inch 16:9 displays (like Apple’s 27-inch iMac or Thunderbolt Display). The 1080 pixels high however matches up with a typical 1080P display. I didn’t use it like a traditional desktop computer or with a laptop off to the side.

For me, I saw an opportunity to add a display on top of my Retina MacBook Pro whose keyboard/trackpad layout I find more usable than anything else out there including Apple’s Wireless Keyboard/Trackpad combo. The Philips’ stand (and this is the key part) allows the display to grow over the top of even the 15′inch Retina MacBook Pro so that I can continue to use the MBP keyboard and display even while looking up (for much improved posture) at the Philips display. It is also great for watching movies while working :D, unless productivity is a priority.

For this it was great, but how was the quality of the display?

In the world of Retina Displays, it is hard to go back to being able to see pixels in fonts and anti-aliasing for what it is. The PPI of this display, over its large 29-inches wasn’t fantastic, especially as it became closer to my eyes than the much better Retina display on my laptop below. That said, this is a bright IPS display which, after doing a little color correction, showed a great palette of colors and had impressive viewing angles. It is very nice looking, overall with thin bezels and attractive styling but not in the same realm as Apple’s Thunderbolt Display. Around back are DisplayPort (not Mini display port, you’ll need an adapter), HDMI, DVI inputs as well as a convenient 4-port USB 3 hub.

The stand, which allows it to rise above a 15-inch MBP, can get slightly wobbly at that height but not so much that it will bother you unless you work on a wobbly table. You can swing the display in 65 degree angles in either direction which of course is very nice and the base is heavy and keeps t from shifting during movement.

Overall, I can certainly recommend this display for folks looking for a setup like mine. I know it is going to be hard to go back to my previous side by side setup with External Keyboard and mouse.

Philips 21:9 inch displays are available at a number of retailers and starts at around $640