So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Basic entry-level monitor with widescreen resolution
- Good black levels, minimal ghosting
- Some minor aliasing of text, contrast could be better in movies
Philip's 190SW is a solid entry-level display
Price$ 369.00 (AUD)
The Philips 190SW is a no-fuss, 19in LCD display. It isn't suitable for hardcore gamers or people wanting an entertainment-focused screen, but as a basic upgrade for office work and desktop publishing it is a solid choice.
With a resolution of 1440x900 this panel definitely offers a step-up in terms of real estate. Even users upgrading from an older 4:3 19in panel will notice the extra space. You can have two Web sites visible side by side, or one browser window and another document.
It was a fairly good performer in our tests, with no glaring weaknesses. When running DisplayMate it rendered edges sharply and cleanly. There was some minor aliasing and distortion when rendering text, but it wasn't too problematic. Noise was kept to a minimum in the moire pattern tests and there was no backlight bleeding or darkening towards the corners of the frame.
There were a few minor contrast issues towards both the dark and light ends of the spectrum, but on the whole there was fairly good distinction between blocks. Black levels were also relatively impressive considering this isn't an entertainment-oriented product. Colours were fairly neutral and lacked the extremely strong levels of over-saturation you find on some competing units. However, reds were quite vivid; we found whites a little dull.
During our film tests the 190SW was adequate without being outstanding. It has a 5ms response time, which is relatively quick; while there was some ghosting evident in our tests, it wasn't too problematic. The contrast could have been better — some detail was obscured in dark areas — but flesh tones were well-rendered and everything looked sharp and crisp. Viewing angles were also good, with minimal colour shift when watching from off-centre.
Most of the basic calibration options are included, such as the ability to alter individual colour levels as well as contrast and brightness. There are also several viewing modes such as Office Work and Entertainment, but we found these caused more problems than they fixed. We'd have liked to see some more advanced options such as sharpness and some more colour-space settings, but on an entry-level unit such as this their absence is not surprising.
Aesthetically everything is pretty basic, with a matte charcoal bezel that looks plain and not particularly inspiring. There is a small string of buttons along the base takes care of the menus. Both DVI and D-Sub ports are offered on the rear for connectivity.
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