The Philips E-Line 273e3 enters the monitor scene with no great claims. It's not the slimmest monitor in town, not the cheapest and - at 27in - it's not so large as to command a ridiculous premium. Everyday features don't make a monitor an instant also-ran though.
The 27in Philips E-Line 273e3 is not the most style-focused of monitors. It has an unadventurous grey bezel, with a bottom stripe of faux brushed metal running across most of the bottom end of the monitor's front. Next to the much more aggressive stylings of Samsung's TV-like monitors, it looks a little conservative. Not unattractive as such, but it won't command the stage of your home office desk.
On the front lip, there are five touch-sensitive buttons, dealing with navigation through the monitor's on-screen menu and the power toggle. Yet more evidence of the monitor's function-over-style approach, the icons for each - two a piece apart from the power button - are displayed clearly on the Philips 273e3's front. A neat concession to the ergonomics of this touch-sensitive interface is the curve at the bottom of this lip, designed to cup your finger as you press.
The first real disappointment of the monitor's design is its lack of height adjustment. As standard, the screen's bottom sits around 7cm from the surface the 273e3 rests upon, which may feel very low for those used to being able to bump their monitors up above other detritus on their desks. It may also be bad for your neck and overall posture if it's too low. There is some tilt customisation available, five degrees forward and 20 back, but the lack of height adjustment may make this display unsuitable for some home setups.
This is a 1080p (1980x1080) pixel display, the minimum resolution you'd want to use at this level of screen real estate. Philips's SmartContrast engine claims to boost the monitor's contrast ratio up to 500,000:1, but as with any processing of this type, it's much less telling than the bog-standard 1,000:1 - but perfectly respectable - contrast.
There are none of the immersion-boosting ambilight frills you'll find on Philips's high-end televisions here, but other than the lack of adjustability the only other significant disappointment in the 273E3's design is the lack of an HDMI port. Keeping to the basics, there are DVI and VGA ports but nothing else. There are no speakers on the monitor's front either. By the standards of its price point, the Philips is bare-bones - most rivals offer HDMI connectivity at the least.