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Philips Brilliance 220X1 review

Verdict:

A pretty-looking 22in monitor that provides only average image quality for a relatively high price.

Review Date: 13 Aug 2009

Price when reviewed: £234

Supplier: http://www.amazon.co.uk

Reviewed By: Jim Martin

Our Rating 3 stars out of 5

We haven't seen a PC monitor from Philips for a while, but the brand is back. The Brilliance range impressed us in the past, so we were intrigued to see if the 220X1, with its unusual LightFrame, could continue the trend.

The glossy white case is certainly a departure from the endless black and silver monitors we see. The translucent white bezel, which glows blue, is certainly different. Philips claims the light reduces eye fatigue, while the blue colour is relaxing to look at. There are three brightness levels to choose from, or you can turn LightFrame off completely. After a week of continuous use, we didn't feel any more relaxed or that our eyes were less tired than if we'd used a traditional monitor.

Considering the price - you can buy a good 24in display for the same money - we were disappointed to find that the 220X1's resolution is lower than those of competing monitors. It has a 16:10 aspect ratio with a resolution of 1,680x1,050; most 22in displays have a 16:9 ratio and a native resolution of 1,920x1,080.

There's no HDMI input, either, and no built-in speakers. The stand isn't particularly sturdy, with the screen wobbling when you push the menu buttons, and there's no height adjustment. It's undoubtedly neater to have the buttons on the side, but it takes a while to learn which does what without looking. Luckily, there's a USB port to connect the 220X1 to your computer, so you can make all the adjustments through its SmartControl II software. This includes wizards to calibrate the monitor for optimum quality, but in a dual-monitor setup it works only if the Brilliance is set to be your primary monitor.

All the settings you'd want are included, and colour temperature is measured in Kelvin. You can save all your settings as a preset in the software but, oddly, there's no control for the LightFrame. A bonus, though, is the ability to set a PIN code, which renders the monitor useless to a thief. There's also a Kensington lock lug to prevent the theft in the first place.

At this price, you'd expect fantastic image quality, so we were somewhat disappointed when we ran our tests. Contrast is poorer than we'd hoped for, which makes it difficult to distinguish between similar colours. Vertical viewing angles aren't good, either; you have to look head-on at the screen. Brightness is impressive, colours are accurate and we had no complaints about response times.

Overall, image quality doesn't match up to the price and with no discernible benefit from the blue glow, we can't recommend the Brilliance 220X1 on practical grounds. That said, it might appeal for more aesthetic reasons. It's not a bad monitor, but BenQ's E2200HD costs much less, and has a 1,920x1,080 resolution and great image quality.

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