Philips 200XW 20 inch WSXGA LCD Monitor Reviewhardnrg - September 30, 2007
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LCD Test Script:
DisplayMate comes with many scripts that can be run to test your monitor (CRT, LCD), video boards, projectors and even a setup for printers. My reason for using the LCD script was to check if my settings that I had made while using the Set Up and Tune Up programs had made a difference. I ran the LCD script prior to adjusting the monitor and after adjusting the monitor.
The LCD script test has a timer and I set it to 30 seconds a screen; included in the test are screens from all the other tests. The difference between the default settings and the optimized settings resulting from the calibration software was huge! Before, looking at the display was like staring at the sun first thing in the morning when you step out the door. Ok, not quite that bad, but the "no no, I'm going blind!" reaction was the same for me. After the calibration exercises, the monitor was tamed and the color reproduction far exceeded my expectations of an LCD monitor. Instead of a bright, glaring screen, with washed out colours, the displayed images were rich and wholesome.
- Applications (Adobe Photoshop & MS Word)
I was eager to see how the LCD monitor performed in games, as I am very much a stubborn CRT user, and wondered what would happen to the display when put to the test of high-motion action in first-person shooter games. Throughout the tests, I compared the Philips 200XW to my favorite monitor, the Mitsubishi Diamond Plus 230SB. The Philips used the DVI connection, and the Mitsubishi used its only available connection, VGA.
There are two major things that bother me about most flat-panel displays. The first is the black level being far too high, appearing dark grey instead, and producing inverted images in dark scenes. The second is one linked to response times of the LCD technology, and the resulting ghosting or smearing of images moving across the screen. I was surprised and delighted to see that the Philips 200XW did not have either of these problems. The Splinter Cell series makes use of the dark as an intrinsic part of the game, and often I see LCD displays struggle to show the correct image without inversion anomalies. The Philips 200XW had a slightly higher black level than the Mitsubishi CRT, unavoidable with a backlit display, but the blacks were evenly distributed and were free of inversion or colour tinting. The slightly higher black level was actually an advantage as on many games, it is harder to see in darkness or shadows on the Mitsubishi CRT. Next, I tried a variety of fast-action games and made a sequence of manoeuvres that would make the squeamish barf up their lunch, but there was absolutely no perceptible ghosting or smearing. After playing games for testing, I played the entire demo of Bioshock for fun.
My bedroom is a combined office, recording studio, gaming area, and home cinema. The entire room is optimized for the best possible visual and audio experience whilst sitting at my desk, or relaxing back on my bed. The desk is axially aligned to the bed, with the monitor exactly in the center, and speakers positioned symetrically on either side. I am very particular about the visual and audio experience, and can not stand settling for mediocre quality or performance. So when it comes to movies, I want it to be incredible, not so-so. I usually watch movies on my Mitsubishi CRT or Sharp XG-NV6XE LCD Projector, both of which are 4:3 displays. Of course, I watch these "letterboxed" so that I can see the whole picture of widescreen movies, and I hate it when people set the display to "pan & scan" and cut the sides of the picture off! Anyway, this is the first widescreen computer display that I have personally owned. I have had a widescreen standard definition CRT TV in the past, but the Philips LCD is in an entirely different league.
I decided to watch a 1080p movie, Ice Age 2, to really test the monitors. While the colors were fairly evenly matched, and the brightness not so far off, the sharpness of the Philips LCD was quite noticeable. Everything on the screen just had an extra sense of clarity. The other difference was that the actual size of the movie on the 20" widescreen LCD was a fair bit bigger than the letterboxed movie on the 22" CRT. Another subtle touch is the power LED is very dim, and this is a good thing when watching a movie in the dark, many other brands of monitor have a stupid ultra-bright blue power LED that looks like a small blue searchlight when you turn the lights out. I'm so glad this Philips LCD doesn't have one of those ridiculous blue power LEDs. It really was a pleasure watching a movie on this monitor and my last remnants of doubt about LCDs were quickly dissolving into the ether.
I do a great deal of research and use the internet as a source of information, and I use a variety of 2D and 3D graphics applications like Photoshop, Maya and 3D Studio Max, so being able to read various font sizes and work with fine detailed images and designs is essential to me. One of the first things I noticed, compared to previous CRT displays, was how incredibly sharp the text appears on webpages and documents. Switching back to the Mitsubishi CRT was, and it pains me to admit this, like losing some of my vision, as the text is comparitively blurry on the CRT. Working with design tools was easier when working with fine lines and edges as I could see the boundaries much more clearly. One thing that I noticed after working in Photoshop for a while, was that some images appeared slightly grainy on the LCD compared to the CRT. This is because of the dithering of the 6-bit LCD, and while sometimes not even noticeable, it bothered me a little bit. This is the first time I noticed the limitations of 6-bit TN film LCD technology on the Philips 200XW. While games and movies were fantastic on both the CRT and LCD, scrutinizing technical drawings was easier on the LCD than the CRT, while judging color textures in photographs and graphic design was easier on the CRT than the LCD.