Review Price £170.17
So far, then, the 220X1 is a pretty average monitor, but we've barely touched upon its stand out feature: the eye strain reducing Lightframe. While it's notionally similar to the Ambilight concept seen on TVs, Lightframe is more limited in purpose - it doesn't change colour at all, nor does it broaden its scope by reflecting light onto a wall. It's purely there to reduce strain on your eyes and add some aesthetic flare if that's your cup of tea. You can't even change the colour from the default blue, though at least that's the most sensible choice due to its soothing, calming effect.
While we did find it distracting at first in a darkened room (like those annoyingly-bright power LEDs on some displays - times ten), after a few minutes of watching video we didn't even notice it anymore, a bit like a constant background noise being blocked out by the brain after a few hours. If you find yourself unable to get used to it, Philips offers three intensity levels, or you can just switch it off altogether, though that kind of defeats the point of getting a Lightframe monitor in the first place.
In use we did find the Lightframe reduced eye strain slightly over prolonged use, which is no surprise as the science behind reducing eye strain using ambient light is well established. However, while effective, it's hard to justify the expense of the 220X1 given the alternatives to this bespoke solution.
Simply putting a soft-diffused lamp behind your monitor, a method that's been recognised for years, would have a similar effect and would obviously cost a lot less. With the money saved you could invest in a far better display, like the excellent Samsung SyncMaster F2080 or its larger 23in cousin, the F2380. Both will give you a far superior cPVA panel (offering better contrast, viewing angles, colour accuracy, etc), a fully adjustable stand, more connectivity, and the F2380 adds a larger, Full HD panel while still leaving you £20 to buy an LED lamp to go behind it. Alternatively you could get the super cheap BenQ G2222HDL, also with a Full HD resolution, and have change from £150.
While the potential of the Philips Brilliance 220X1 and its Lightframe is obvious, it doesn't offer enough to justify the ludicrous price for an otherwise pedestrian monitor.
Scores In Detail
- Image Quality