This article first appeared in HWM Mar 2012.
For professionals in digital photography, graphic design, video editing, prepress, and the likes, their monitor of choice is usually a screen using in-plane switching (IPS) technology. An IPS panel offers better color resolution and wider viewing angles, compared to the much more common and inexpensive TN (twisted nematic) panel. However, prices of IPS monitors have come down quite a bit, and the Philips 237E3QPH is one example. Priced at S$279, this 23-inch, white LED-backlit monitor has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, and sports a VGA port along with two HDMI inputs.
Like most 23-inchers we’ve handled, the panel and the base of the 237E3QPH needs to be put together first out of the box. It’s a simple matter of inserting the base to the column and tightening the screw at the bottom, so we had the monitor up and running in less than a couple of minutes. Upon closer inspection, we noticed that this monitor has a translucent blue bezel that juts out at the sides. With a table lamp behind it, the glow looks pretty cool; however, the extra width of the bezel may put off those looking to place two monitors side by side. Five touch controls (which we found to be quite insensitive) line up along the bottom right; a status LED is placed in the middle, right where the Philips logo is. If you find the latter distracting, the intensity can be changed, or it can be turned off completely.
The monitor has a PowerSensor feature that’s aimed to reduce power consumption. Infrared signals are transmitted to detect the proximity of the user; if the user leaves his seat, the monitor would lower the power consumption by dimming the screen to a good degree. Five settings (for varying detection distances) are available, and can be quickly adjusted via one of the touch controls. The monitor will also detect the displayed content and alter the contrast ratio dynamically by tweaking colors and backlight.
Out of the box, color accuracy was good, though nothing to shout about. Blue was the main culprit here, coming in a bit too strong. After calibration, color fidelity was very good; the delta-E dropped to 1.9. There are no user-selectable gamma settings; it’s fixed at 2.2. Three image presets are given: Standard, Internet, and Game. For most tasks, Standard should suffice, as it strikes a good balance between brightness and contrast. Game will turn on the overdrive circuit (Philips calls it SmartResponse) to reduce the ghosting effect during games or movies. Philips claims a 7ms response time with SmartResponse, and 14ms without. In the Color sub-menu, you can alternate color temperature between 6500K and 9300K; a standalone sRGB mode can also be found.
All in all, we recommend the Philips 237E3QPH to anyone looking for a good yet affordable IPS monitor, and who are willing to forgo things like a USB hub or DisplayPort connection. The lack of a DVI-D connection may bother some, but that’s easily remedied by an adapter.