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Philips E-Line 237EQPH review

Barry de la Rosa
20 Mar 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
142
inc VAT

A 23in IPS monitor for under £150 looks like a bargain, but the dim backlight and fiddly touch-sensitive controls make it less impressive

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Philips continues the trend towards mass-market IPS panels with its sub-£150 E-Line 237EQPH. It's a 23in Full HD display with white LED backlighting, two HDMI inputs and a decent two-year collect-and-return warranty.

Philips markets the 237EQPH as an energy-saving screen, and its LED backlight certainly helps, drawing only 30W in use. In standby mode, it draws less than 0.5W. The downside is that the backlight seems underpowered, as it's far too dim.

Philips E-Line 273EQPH

This caused problems when trying to adjust the controls to get the best image quality. We should first explain that the 237EQPH has a set of touch-sensitive buttons under the screen that act as shortcuts for image presets, as well as bringing up the main image settings menu. It's not clear exactly where you should put your fingertip to activate a button as they're incredibly insensitive, and we often had to tap continuously until something happened.

This is very frustrating. The main menu button, for example, first takes you to the Power Sensor control, and if you happen to tap twice when bringing up the menu, you risk changing this setting, which means you have to change it back and then exit out of that setting before you can actually make the changes you wanted to. The Power Sensor setting is turned on by default, and dims the screen to reduce power consumption when the screen detects you're no longer sitting in front of it.

Philips E-Line 273EQPH

Thankfully, there's also a Windows desktop utility, which not only duplicates the controls, but adds both a setup wizard and a colour calibrating utility. When initially calibrating the 237EQPH we found the image came out far too dark; in order to get more accurate colours, the calibration routine had to reduce the brightness. We remedied this by first running the separate wizard, which recommended increasing the Contrast setting from 50 to 72, increasing brightness dramatically.

The calibration tool relies on you dragging a grey square around so that it matches the grey background, which is made up of finely-spaced black and white lines. This made some difference to colour accuracy, but not a huge amount, and as the tool is incredibly slow to load calibration presets once you've created them it isn't easy to compare before and after image quality.

Overall, the IPS panel's image quality is much better than you'll find on the average TN panel, with far deeper colours and improved viewing angles. It's not as good as we'd expected from an IPS panel, however: the dim backlight is partly to blame, but black levels are also poor - night-time scenes in games weren't convincingly dark, and the matt finish on the screen means colours are slightly dulled too.

Philips E-Line 273EQPH

We found the 237EQPH's translucent plastic bezel a bit tacky, but the thin stand and glossy black rear casing are a bit more classy. The 237EQPH doesn't have a VESA mount on the rear so it can't be wall-mounted, and there aren't any speakers. You do get a 3.5mm headphone socket, though.

Although colour reproduction is far better than on most budget TN panels, we were disappointed by the 237EQPH's dim backlight, and its touch-sensitive controls are also a pain to use. It may give you IPS technology for under £150, but compared to the even cheaper AOC i2352Vh it seems like poor value.

Basic Specifications

Rating***

Physical

Viewable size23 in
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Contrast ratio1,000:1 (20,000,000:1 dynamic)
Brightness250cd/m²
Horizontal viewing angle178°
Vertical viewing angle178°
Response time typeblack-to-black
Screen depth47mm
Base (WxD)237x237mm
Screen elevation119mm

Features

Portrait modeno
Wall mount optionno
Height adjustableno
Internal speakersnone
Detachable cablesyes
USB hubnone
Integrated power supplyyes
Kensington lock lugyes
Display extras2x HDMI
VGA inputyes
DVI inputno
S-video inputno
Component inputno
Composite inputno
HDCP supportyes
Audio inputsHDMI

Environmental

Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on30W

Buying Information

Price£142
Supplierhttp://www.pixmania.co.uk
Detailswww.philips.co.uk
Warrantytwo years collect and return