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Primary colours are handled fairly well, but I did have a problem when it came to red colour purity. It was a little bit off and there are several dark patches around the right edge of the screen. The colour scaling was again very good but the reds and the oranges didn’t seen quite true.
As for sharpness I am used to seeing very good results with very small text sizes but it wasn’t quite the case here – with the Philips starting to look a little indistinct at 7.5 point with white text on a black background. Text at 6.8 point was appreciably worse.
Photo viewing was a good experience on the panel, with a good natural tone and thanks to the decent contrast ratio, plenty of detail in darker areas. However, my experiences in DisplayMate means I would be loathe to trust it for colour accuracy. It’s not the most vibrant screen in the world either.
The contrast ratio really came into its own in video playback, with the Philips dealing well with those sometimes tricky darker areas. Playback was sufficiently smooth and lag free to my eyes and the same was true for gaming, with some Counter Strike: Source and some old school Serious Sam sessions proving the point.
In terms of viewing angles the Philips is average for a TN based panel. Moving off centre both vertically and horizontally causes the screen to appear very dark, but at least it doesn’t change colour wildly as the Acer AL2216w does.
One aspect that we don't normally talk about is power consumption and it's here that the Philips may appeal, especially for larger businesses. Philips claims that the monitor performs at a full 10 per cent under Energy Star requirements, which may be a factor when making larger purchases.
Certainly it won't be the looks that will sway the decision. The Philips panel then generally impresses more than the design. The latter is something of an issue as the HP can be picked up for only £20 or so more yet outdoes the Philips in every area. It equals it in terms of specification, yet has a far more stylish design in terms of both looks and flexibility with a far funkier stand. It also offers speakers and a USB hub, and overall bests the Philips for image quality. The Samsung 226bw does much the same, although it’s no better featured.
This leaves the Philips 220WS precisely nowhere. It’s not quite good enough to recommend for image quality, has drab design and with this in mind is just too expensive. Philips needs to apply as much effort to its monitors as it does to its TVs if it’s too compete and if it’s unable or unwilling to do so, from this average showing, it might need to reconsider its position in the PC display market.
A decent display in most regards, but there are image quality flaws. These are outweighed though by a drab design and a lack of features. It’s a bit cheaper than the competition but not nearly enough to save this from being an also ran.
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