The Philips 248X3LFHSB/00 is a stylish, slimline and decidedly home-friendly 23.6in display. It is a premium model aimed at those who value graceful design and are prepared to pay a little bit more for their metallic trim and gently sweeping curves.
Featuring a design aesthetic dubbed “Moda”, it’s a great-looking monitor from all angles. The black rear panel is finished to a high gloss and apparently deemed too beautiful to sully with an ugly VESA mount.
It incorporates a stick-thin aluminium stand which arcs into a circular die-cast base unit. However, it’s the Lightframe 2-enabled front bezel which really makes this display stand out.
Lightframe technology is exactly what it sounds like: by replacing the usual bezel with an illuminated translucent material, Philips has surrounded the display with a frame of soft, blue light. It’s no coincidence that this particular blue is a pretty good match for the default Windows 7 wallpaper, effectively extending its reach right to the very edge of the monitor – thereby fooling some gullible part of the brain into thinking there is no bezel at all.
It’s hard to describe the psychological effect of using the monitor, but using the Lightframe does indeed make the experience somewhat more relaxing. It’s as though it’s bringing a little blue sky and sunshine to your desk – not in a harsh, squinty way which would have you reaching for your Ray-Bans, but there’s a definite ‘outdoor’ feel to being bathed in light in this way. See also: Group test: What's the best flat-panel display?
Three levels of intensity are available, so you can tune the effect to your preference.
Three display inputs are provided, but the monitor does away with the familiar DVI port, instead teaming up the old-school VGA connector with a pair of the more-useful HDMI sockets. No speakers are built in, but there’s an analogue audio output which enables you to pass on the sound from our HDMI source to a pair of external speakers.
The display is controlled and configured by a row of not-quite-touch-sensitive control switches situated centrally below the screen. Hidden behind a flush metallic covering there are no ugly buttons to break up the display’s sleek lines. Visit Group test: What's the best 19 to 24-inch LCD monitor?
The on-screen menus are large and easy to read and the usual basic brightness and colour controls are supplemented by a selection of custom image enhancements including SmartKolor, which artificially boosts colour saturation to enhance dull images; SmartTxt, which improves the clarity of on-screen text when mainly working with written content; SmartResponse, which boosts the clarity of fast-moving on-screen objects and SmartContrast, which enables a “20,000,000:1” dynamic contrast ratio suitable for use when viewing movies and video.
In general, we would suggest leaving these enhancements switched off as they often boost one aspect of display quality at the expense of another. For example, SmartTxt makes black-on-white text easier to read, but simultaneously makes coloured text worse. Other combinations such as white-on-grey become really quite unpleasant to look at.
Philips 248X3LFHSB/00: Performance results
When configured to operate without such enhancements, the 248X3LFH performs much as you would expect from a decent TN-based monitor. It’s colour accuracy and viewing angles won’t rival an MVA or IPS display, but it’s high brightness (measured at 326cd/m2) and good contrast (measured 800:1) make it pleasant to use and powerful enough for watching video at some distance from the screen.
During calibration, the display required a little adjustment to bring the colour temperature in line with the sRGB standard, but overall it was very consistent and could be relied upon to reproduce colours correctly. We measured 98% of sRGB and 76% of Adobe RGB colour gamut.
Although rated with viewing angles of 170° horizontally and 160° vertically, which is standard if entirely improbable for a TN display, we noticed viewing angle issues a little more on this display than on some competing products with a similar specification.
We’re being quite picky here, but if poor off-axis performance bothers you then you may notice it a more than you’d like on this monitor.
Power consumption was especially low, just 21W at full brightness and a mere 12W at 120cd/m2.
Philips 248X3LFHSB/00: Lab results
Measured Black point luminance (calibrated): 0.41 cd/m2
Maximum measured brightness (calibrated): 325.6 cd/m2
Maximum checkerboard contrast: 800:1
Percentage of Adobe gamut: 76%
Percentage of sRGB gamut: 98%
Measured native white point: 7000K
Colour error (min/avg/max) 0.23 / 0.99 / 5.03 deltaE
Power consumption at maximum brightness: 21W
Power consumption at 120 cd/ m2 : 12W