Philips 170B7 review

Price when reviewed
Philips’ TFTs have a good reputation at PC Pro, with the widescreen 200W6 occupying a spot on the A List for many months. The 170B7 continues the rich vein of form, with excellent image quality and a decent array of features all contributing to its Labs Winner award.

Available in white or grey, the 170B7 is reasonably stylish, with a solid and flexible stand supporting it. It can easily be tilted, swivelled and even raised by 60mm. There’s a loop on the back to keep the cables tidy, a Kensington lock slot for security and holes for a standard VESA wall-mount. On the front is a decent pair of 2W speakers for audio.

The front-mounted controls are clear and easy to use; the OSD is intuitive and well laid out. Upon first connection, you can install the FPAdjust utility, which uses a wizard to guide you through the setup. After that, the SmartControl software can be used to tweak more advanced settings. Like the NEC, no DVI cable is included, but you’ll hardly notice the difference between this interface and the VGA connection.

The OSD offers a selection of colour temperatures, but as with many of the other TFTs here we found none could match the default Original Colour for daily use. It results in a bright display with decent colour accuracy throughout.

We saw smooth colour transitions in our colour ramps and the white level was uniform. The 300cd/m2 brightness leaves the black level a little light, but it’s the only real complaint we had in our technical tests. The real-world tests saw similarly impressive results, with our DVD movie appearing sharp and with good detail in dark areas. It excelled in our gaming tests, and the Windows Desktop, in particular, is clear and bright; the 170B7 is almost a match for the NEC for overall quality.

Importantly, the 170B7 is a Class I display, which means it won’t have full- or sub-pixel faults. No other TFT here guarantees a perfect panel, although complete pixel faults are uncommon.

Plus, the 170B7 has SmartManage, which means it can be controlled remotely using the optional SmartManage software – a useful feature for sysadmins.

Overall, the NEC boasts a slightly more vibrant image, but with SmartManage and the perfect panel guarantee the Philips is more than worth the extra £5.

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