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Philips 230C1 review

Verdict:

A 23in monitor with Full HD resolution, superb picture quality and a smart, practical design, all for well under £200. It's a brilliant choice.

Review Date: 18 Sep 2009

Price when reviewed: £173

Supplier: http://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop

Reviewed By: Barry de la Rosa

Our Rating 5 stars out of 5

ExpertReviews Award

The 230C1 is towards the top-end of what you'd expect to pay for a 23in monitor, but Philips has put a lot of effort into making an impressive display.

With its full HD 1,920x1,080 resolution and DVI, VGA and HDMI inputs, it's designed for entertainment as much as for PC use.

Picture quality was top-notch, and this monitor produced some of the best images we've seen. Contrast was superb, and colours were deep and vibrant. The gamma control, which many monitors lack, was particularly useful for tweaking the contrast levels, and we found that stepping it down to 2.0 from the default 2.2 helped to brighten the image a bit.

The menu controls are placed conveniently on the side of the monitor and are easy to work out. One button gives access to four preset modes: Office Work and Economy simply dim the screen slightly, but are useful if you want to save energy. The Image Viewing and Entertainment modes ramped up colour and sharpness levels too high, making the picture far too brash.

The SmartContrast mode provides stunning dynamic contrast ratios, greatly improving detail in dark scenes and bringing out the best in almost all source material.

The single-port USB hub is useful for a mouse or USB flash drive. There's a small plastic ring that you can plug into the rear of the stand to act as a basic cable guide. There's no VESA mount, however, so you won't be able to mount the monitor on a wall.

We don't usually think much of speakers that are built into monitors, but the 230C1's aren't bad. While some monitors hide their speakers on the rear, the 230C1's are front-mounted, which makes them clearer. They're surprisingly loud for 2W units, although they still lack bass.

Its excellent image quality, choice of inputs, decent speakers and full HD resolution make the 230C1 a fantastic choice of display. If you're on a tighter budget, BenQ's G2220HD is a good buy.

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