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Philips Brilliance 234CL2SB review

Philips Brilliance 234CL2SB


A sexy, slimline figure can't disguise the shaky construction, and the price is too high for the image quality

Review Date: 11 Mar 2011

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £147 (£176 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
3 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Image Quality
4 stars out of 6

Finished top-to-toe in gloss black and measuring just 12mm thick, the Philips Brilliance 234CL2SB looks far dearer than its price tag would suggest.

Philips has even squeezed in some touch-sensitive controls; stroke a finger along the monitor's base and the backlit buttons glow into view. Admired from afar, it's every inch the style icon.

Up close, however, the veneer wears thin. The build of the frame is insubstantial; grab the flimsy plastic housing and it flexes with barely any effort.

Although the stand has only a few degrees of forward and back tilt adjustment, it doesn't so much glide back and forth as flop to and fro.

The Philips does do a lot right. The TN panel and LED backlight deliver brightness and contrast that matches the monitor's claimed specifications, and good black levels lend images plenty of solidity and punch. Unfortunately, further testing revealed some ugly traits.

There was noticeable banding in colour and greyscale transitions, not to mention some murky whites, and the Philips struggled to deliver neutral colours and tint-free skintones. There was some backlight leakage, too, with a distracting halo running around the panel's edge.

Philips Brilliance 234CL2SB

Then we uninstalled Philips' supplied monitor driver. The difference it made was monumental: whites became white again and skintones regained their natural hue.

Measuring the difference before and after gives some dramatic figures: the average Delta E dropped from 8.6 to 4.9, and the maximum Delta E from 18.9 to 11.9; colour temperature now measured at an almost perfect 6,369k; and only gamma remained less than ideal at 1.89.

That was easily remedied, however, by upping the Gamma setting in the onscreen menu to 2.4; a change that improved the average Delta E to 3.8.

Stay well clear of the supplied driver, then (which, to be fair, few people ever install with a new TFT) and the Philips isn't a bad monitor.

Its bigger problem is that price, which is too high for the budget crowd yet also sits only £30 or so below far superior IPS monitors such as ViewSonic's VP2365wb and the Dell UltraSharp U2311H. The three-year warranty might come as some recompense, particularly given the wobbly build, but at this level we'd spend the extra every time.

Author: Sasha Muller

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