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Philips Brilliance 200P4SS

Regardless of what anyone says, branding is a powerful thing, and it carries with it the weight of certain expectations. With this in mind it’s fair to say that we expect good things from Philips monitors when they appear in the labs. Philips is always at the forefront of display technology, and this usually equates to a pretty good monitor range. Of course high expectations can lead to disappointment instead of affirmation sometimes, and unfortunately that is the case with the Brilliance 200P.

But let’s not start this review off being too negative, because in some areas this Philips is truly exceptional. Many of the TFT monitors that we’ve looked at have had serious problems producing a smooth greyscale graduation, but using the 256 level greyscale intensity ramp in DisplayMate, the Philips produced a truly smooth graduation. There was also no hint of colour in the mid range, which is another issue that affects some screens. The 256 level colour intensity ramp produced equally excellent results and the red, green and blue bars were as smooth as the greyscale ramp. The colour scales also faded uniformly, all dropping off at the same point with only the final block being too dark to make out.

It’s fair to say that DisplayMate failed to trip the Philips up, regardless of what test screen we threw at it, but sometimes you need to look at a monitor in the environment that it will be used to judge its limitations. All the monitors in this group test were used as desktop displays in the office for several weeks to gauge how they performed in a real world environment, and it was here that the Philips fell down, and fell down hard.

Running a normal Windows environment soon shows up a rather alarming colour anomaly – the Brilliance 200P has a disturbing bias towards green. Just looking at a Windows desktop will highlight this problem where the Windows folders, which should be yellow, look a sickly green. When you fire up Photoshop and start editing some images (something that you’re probably going to do with a 20.1in monitor) the colour accuracy becomes a real issue. Skin tones have a definite green tinge to them, making the subjects look somewhat ill. Manually adjusting the colour temperature did improve things, but didn’t completely solve the problem.

The other area where the 200P disappoints is design and this is not what we’d expect from a digital lifestyle company like Philips. Looking at the Brilliance 200P face on, it just appears blocky and dull. The bezel surrounding the screen isn’t too thick, but it’s also far from slim. The completely silver finish also doesn’t quite sit right, although this might be because of the extended front fascia which houses a set of integrated stereo speakers. The speakers aren’t the worst we’ve ever heard, but they exhibit the usual lack of bass that affects most in-built speakers.

There’s no height adjustment in the stand, which means that getting a comfortable viewing angle can be difficult, although the screen will tilt forwards and backwards. You can pan the screen around 360 degrees which is good, but there’s no pivot option for those that like to work in portrait mode.

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