Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Rich colours, very good contrast and brightness
- USB port didn't detect all our USB sticks, poor viewing angles
While this screen suffers from colour-shift when viewed from the sides, it's actually quite vibrant and has good contrast and brightness levels. It's also not a bad unit for gaming and watching a few flicks.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
Designed primarily for home and office use, this Philips monitor has some useful features -- a widescreen 16:10 aspect ratio being one, and a built-in USB port being another. It's also a dual-input monitor with both analogue and digital inputs, and it's adequate for viewing movies and photos.
A native resolution of 1680x1050 makes the monitor enjoyable to use in an office environment where multitasking is the norm, yet it'll also do nicely when DVDs are played. While its resolution isn't high enough for high-definition movies to be played back in all their splendour, they'll still look crystal clear. The monitor wasn't without its problems though.
When trying to calibrate it, we came across a very quirky OSD menu, which would only appear for a second and then disappear. We couldn't get it to stay on the screen at all, suggesting that the time delay for its disappearance had been set way too low from the factory. This is most likely an anomaly due to it being a review unit, but it means that we had to test the monitor with its default luminance and colour settings. Thankfully, we were able to change the monitor's SmartImage setting, which is a one-touch control for luminance, colour and sharpness adjustments, but the SmartImage modes tend to over-sharpen the image, so we tested with it off.
In DisplayMate, the monitor produced indifferent results, which were mainly due to its viewing angles. Unless positioned directly in front and at eye-level, its greyscale would show slight hints of pink and green colouring. Colour shift was also very noticeable when moving even slightly towards the left or right of the screen.
Its luminance, however, was very good. Dark grey tones were visible on a black background, and light grey tones were visible on a white background. Its black and white levels were excellent, but its colours were a little over-saturated. That said, our test photos looked vibrant and warm so for photo viewing at least, this monitor is well suited. Dark areas of photographs were rendered well, which again is due to the monitor's good luminance levels, but we did notice a little image noise, which manifested as a slight shimmering.
The monitor's colour uniformity was good when viewed from the front, but again, was let down when viewed from the sides due to the narrow viewable angles.
Physically, the monitor doesn't have a glossy screen, but it does have a glossy bezel that can annoyingly reflect room lights. Its stand is basic and only allows for tilting, and its lone USB port is located at the rear of the screen. The USB port didn't work too well; it failed to recognise two out of three USB sticks.
Users who play games and watch a lot of video won't be let down by the screen's response rate -- we didn't notice any problems with blurring -- while users who want a monitor for editing photos will be pleased with the screen's rich output. However, it's a monitor that's best viewed from directly in front as it's prone to too much colour-shift when viewed from the sides.
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