Philips E-line 237E3QPHSU review
A bargain price for a 23in IPS monitor, but poor backlighting undermines its appeal
It isn’t often at PC Pro that we become excited about a budget monitor. Unless, that is, the monitor in question manages to pack in an IPS panel for less than £200. Philips’ snazzily named 237E3QPHSU does just that, packing in a Full HD IPS panel and LED backlighting at an unusually affordable price.
Given the budget, it’s nice to see that Philips has made an effort with the styling. A strip of blue transparent plastic runs around the monitor’s edge and a hidden LED gently lights up a lip of blue beneath the Philips logo. It makes for a very attractive monitor. Get up close, however, and the construction is a little plastic. The stand wobbles to and fro at the slightest provocation, and adjustment is limited to a few degrees of forwards and backwards tilt.
Still, there are plenty of features here. Philips has managed to squeeze an internal power supply into the Philips’ slender frame, and the single D-SUB socket is accompanied by two HDMI inputs. There’s also a presence sensor, which dims the backlight and subsequently turns off the display if you’re away from your desk for any length of time.
This monitor is all about the panel, however. IPS technology delivers more vivid colour reproduction, and wider viewing angles with less off-axis colour shift than the TN-based monitors typically found at this price point.
Initially, the Philips doesn’t disappoint. Viewing angles aren’t quite as wide as pricier models, but they’re still wide enough and, aside from a slight bluish tint to whites, colours and skin tones look natural. Don’t install the supplied monitor driver, however; inexplicably, doing so ruins the colour accuracy.
Without the driver, the budget Philips achieves some great figures. Colour accuracy fares particularly well, with an average Delta E of 3.1 and a maximum deviation of 6.3 in the greens and blues. For a budget monitor, this is rather impressive.
Further examination reveals some flaws. The colour temperature of 7,227k explains the bluish tint, and while the supplied SmartResponse software makes it possible to get closer to 6,500k (there are adjustments for colour temperature, black point, contrast and brightness controls, as well as small onscreen images for guiding any adjustments), we found any amount of fine-tuning caused colour accuracy to suffer negatively as a result.
Worse still, the LED backlighting doesn’t only exhibit leakage around the panel’s edges, but it also fails to deliver much in the way of brightness. Even with the brightness control set to maximum it reaches a luminance of only 184cd/m[sup]2[/sup]; unusually dim, even by budget standards. Upping the contrast to 60 improves matters, the brightness nudging upwards to 226cd/m[sup]2[/sup], but even this does little for the Philips’ poor contrast. The low brightness and greyish blacks conspire to produce a contrast ratio of only 448:1; the stark monochromatic opening scenes of Black Swan looked unusually washed out and are lacking in detail. After a strong start, it’s a disappointing finale.
On paper, the E-line 237E3QPHSU looks like an absolute bargain. Unfortunately, despite the appealing price, its flaws are too serious to forgive. With ViewSonic’s VP2365-LED delivering an adjustable stand and far better image quality for £50 more, those in the market for an affordable IPS display would be wise to set their sights, and their budget, a little higher.
|Price ex VAT||£125|
|Price inc VAT||£150|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||3|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Pixel response time||7ms|
|Dynamic contrast ratio||20,000,000:1|
|Horizontal viewing angle||178 degrees|
|Vertical viewing angle||178 degrees|
|Speaker power ouput||N/A|
|TV tuner type||N/A|
|Upstream USB ports||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||0|
|3.5mm audio input jacks||0|
|Other audio connectors||none|
|Other cables supplied||N/A|
|Internal power supply||yes|
|Peak power consumption||26W|
|Idle power consumption||1W|
|Forward tilt angle||-5 degrees|
|Backward tilt angle||20 degrees|
|Swivel angle||0 degrees|
|Pivot (portrait) mode?||no|
|Dimensions||568 x 238 x 435mm (WDH)|