Review Price £170.17
Philips Brilliance 220X1 - 22in Lightframe Monitor - Philips Brilliance 220X1
Though not very visually attractive, the 220X1's OSD is logically laid out and easy to use. It offers all the options you could want, and many of these already have dedicated buttons along the monitor's side; without entering the menu system you can alter the aspect ratio, input, picture preset or light frame intensity. The only direct option we would have liked is the ability to alter brightness/contrast.
Other adjustments unique to the OSD include gamma and colour temperature, which can be set to sRGB, User Defined or anywhere between 5000 and 11500K. Response time overdrive, which Philips calls SmartResponse, and the monitor's dynamic contrast system - predictably called SmartContrast – can also be turned on or off, which is always welcome. Even the power LED, integrated seamlessly with the Lightframe bezel, can be turned off or set to match the frame in intensity.
Getting to the TN panel at the heart of this 22in monitor, as already noted it sports an 1,680 x 1,050 native resolution, which considering that you can get a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display for half the price these days is very disappointing. Nor does the panel's performance inspire much confidence.
It suffers noticeably from all the inherent flaws of TN technology, including very poor viewing angles with strong contrast shift if deviating even slightly from the central viewing position, and an inability to show black or white gradations at both ends of the greyscale. This means you'll be missing out on shadow detail in dark games and films especially, and viewing with a few friends is far from ideal. We also discovered a stuck pixel, the first we've encountered on a monitor in quite some time.
However, there is good news too. Aside from some dithering artefacts there is little to no sign of banding and not even a hint of backlight bleed, with backlighting overall very consistent – in fact in this regard the 220X1 is superior to many other TN monitors we've looked at. Sharpness is also excellent, ensuring even the smallest fonts are perfectly legible. Last of all its matt coating means there's a minimum of distracting reflections, and colours are fairly accurate.
A quick word of warning though: whatever you do, do not use the Image Viewing or Entertainment presets, as these result in the worst image quality we have ever come across: radioactive colours, blurry and blocky edges, and hideously unbalanced brightness and contrast settings (doubtless to give some semblance of believability to the ludicrous 30,000:1 claimed dynamic contrast ratio) are just some of the results.