- Great display with very few issues, Good subwoofer, Many input options.
- Vibration in speakers, Not very sturdy.
Whether you are in the market for a monitor or a TV Philips has this 19" combination and while the speakers aren't the best, the package is still rather good nonetheless.
Price$ 1,199.00 (AUD)
In an attempt to lure in gamers Philips have released a 19" monitor with a snazzy design and some impressive specifications, designed to appeal to the geek in us all. While it is definitely appealing, and works fairly well, it seems like the magicians at Philips are trying a little misdirection, showing you fancy design in one hand while trying to pass off an LCD TV as a monitor in the other.
The line between LCD monitors and LCD television sets has become so blurred over the last year or so that most are labeled as display panels to avoid confusion. The Philips nestles very comfortably into this label. It has a built in TV tuner which dominates the primary functions of the panel. The menus act very much like a conventional television set, cycling through channels sequentially with the AV input options occupying a single channel per input. Most monitors that have TV functionality tend to have a separate TV button which then has channel selection in isolation of the other AV inputs. This panel also has component input which is rare for monitors (although not unheard of) and is another point in favour of it being classified as a TV. In the monitor camp however, it has a low response rate of only 8ms which we tested playing Quake 3 Arena without any ghosting on a Geforce 6600 graphics card. The panel also has D-Sub input as well for the connection to the PC but this isn't a monitor specific feature.
No matter what you choose to call this device, the multitude of inputs adds up to more options for the consumer. Thankfully, in pretty much every mode the Philips performs well although the built-in speakers aren't as brilliant as they could be.
The display is bright with a 700:1 contrast ratio and handled both DVDs through component and games via D-sub with very few problems. There is a little backlight bleeding but nothing too noticeable and the viewing angle is more than adequate. Apart from the very edges of the screen, the colour reproduction is consistent throughout the monitor and in our tests we had no excess noise on the image. We used DisplayMate Video Edition and assaulted the monitor with full screens of harsh reds, blues, greens and pure black and white and in each case the display performed well, standing up to the challenge and accurately reproducing the colour evenly and consistently. In the gradient tests we found that in very dark gradients there was a little information loss but that is to be expected as it is a common limitation of LCD technology. On the whole, the panel itself impressed us quite a bit and if it were a display unto itself, it would have earned a much higher score than the overall package ended up receiving.
The monitor also has 4 speakers built-in which can reproduce sound at rather loud volumes (with supplied drivers installed) but tends to vibrate at anything over the midway point. This means that violent changes in pitch or low bass rumbles make the back of each speaker vibrate with a distracting buzz that quickly becomes annoying. The supplied subwoofer does a good job with the bass and cannot be faulted but whatever quality it adds to the audio is immediately demoralised by the audio quality of the speakers.
The design of the system is reaching for a "wow" factor which it obtains easily, on an aesthetic level. Its clean lines and sexy curves scream sophistication and futuristic sensibility while also looking high-tech and desirable. However, the panel isn't as sturdy as it appears. The volume control knob is just about the cheapest and most poorly constructed knob we have seen on a display panel and not only has a horrible scraping sound as it turns but also pops off rather easily and even at random times when using it. Also, the volume knob doesn't seem to ever stop turning with no discernable marker to let the user know they have reached full volume. This same knob also seems to move faster than the display can cope with as when you first turn it, it doesn't quite work and even when the display recognizes that the knob has been turned, it then only increases intermittently and inconsistently in a very disjointed and bizarre fashion.
Overall, this is a reasonably good package with a high quality display panel/monitor/TV that has been bundled with some speakers and a subwoofer to appeal to gamers. For the price, it's not the greatest package available on the market but it is also not totally unreasonable.
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