Philips Brilliance 234CL review

Barry de la Rosa
17 May 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

This monitor is amazingly thin, but it also feels quite fragile, and has washed-out images, poor contrast and dull colours


Philips' Brilliance 234CL is a slimline LED-backlit display that's only 9mm thick. It saves space by moving most of the electronics for the monitor, including the inputs and power socket, to the base. This makes the 234CL incredibly slim but also means that it can't be wall-mounted. You get an HDMI input as well as the standard analogue VGA socket, and there's also a headphone socket.

Philips Brilliance 234CL rear ports

LED-backlit screens still command a price premium, but sadly that means corners have been cut elsewhere. While the thin screen might make the 234CL seem like a luxury item, its cheap plastic construction feels tacky as soon as you touch it, and build quality is worrying. The screen itself flexes under pressure, and the whole thing wobbles alarmingly if you push it slightly. If you hold the top edge of the screen to tilt it back, the screen pulls away from the lower bezel.

The base is also made from plastic, and for some reason has sharp edges. Touch-sensitive blue LED controls are built into the base, so if you grab it to move the screen you might find yourself changing settings inadvertently. Touch-sensitive controls are a pain at the best of times, but when your menu system is controlled by two buttons either side of a power button, frustration and annoyance are bound to follow.

Picture quality is controlled either manually or by choosing between five SmartImage presets, none of which offered a good balance. The Office and Economy modes seemed simply to darken the image to save power, while Photo, Movie and Game presets added unnatural effects such as edge sharpening and colour boosting, none of which we found made the picture any more pleasing.