Philips 190X5 review

Price when reviewed

Nothing stays still in the TFT market for long. A year ago, a 19in TFT only had to offer good image quality to be recommended, but now they need something special to stand out from the crowd. The Philips 190X5 makes a fine start with its striking looks and interesting design. We particularly like the small footprint, with the panel needing only 100mm of space at the rear.

Philips 190X5 review

A plastic panel covers all of the unsightly ports, with cable runs keeping everything out of sight. Behind this, you’ll find a D-SUB VGA input and an audio input for the integrated speakers, which will also work when the monitor is off, but no DVI input. A 3.5mm headphone socket is sensibly placed on the left side.

In general use, the Desktop looked slightly garish, regardless of the settings we used. Whites also appeared slightly off-colour. Of greater concern was the low brightness level, even in a moderately lit room. This is helped to an extent by the LightFrame modes, which consist of Internet, Video/TV and Photo settings. But while they improve brightness, particularly on images, they reinforce the impression of overblown colours. We also noticed an unpleasant shimmering effect across the panel.

DVD playback was disappointing too, with dingy colours, poor viewing angles and lacklustre contrast leading to a washed-out experience. There was an impressive lack of motion lag, however, backing up Philips’ claims of a 12ms response time, which also revealed itself when playing games – in fact, this is the panel’s main strength.

Our technical tests revealed an average performance, with a slightly off-kilter colour balance apparent in colour ramps. Our usual test for pixel jitter showed few timing errors, pointing to other causes for the shimmering effect.

We also found the menu system a touch annoying, as it doesn’t disappear of its own accord, even when adjusting the volume using the dedicated button on the panel’s right side.

Physically, Philips has got this panel just about right, and even the lack of a digital input isn’t too much of a problem as it locks onto an analog signal well. But it’s let down by its overall performance, especially at this price.

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