Huge Screen Supertest (Part 8) - Philips Brilliance 248C3LHSB & Samsung 5 Series T27A550

5/10/2012 9:17:05 AM

Philips Brilliance 248C3LHSB

There’s a parallel universe where we’re all millionaires, our PCs are hooked up to 30-inch LED-powered beasts with 120Hz refresh. Life is pretty sweet. Back in this universe, compromises must be made. Which is where the Philips Brilliance comes in.


It’s the solution, or so Philips hopes, to the following crucial conundrum: just how much screen can you get for under E200? The real answer begins with 24-inches or more accurately 23.6-inches of corner to corner screen diagonal. Next up is 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. It’s the full HD grid, then. Finally, and rather predictably, you get TN panel technology.

More on that in a moment. Because one thing you might not expect to get at this price point is a really classy chassis and stand. But that’s precisely what Philips has come up with. Granted, the stand is limited to tilt-only adjustment. That aside, it’s a remarkable high quality effort which leverages cast aluminium for the base and both looks and feels positively pukka.

Does this improve the image quality? No. Does it make you feel better about your purchase? Definitely. All Philips therefore needs to do is deliver half decent image quality in the TN idiom and we will have ourselves a deal.

Description: It’s a TN panel

It’s a TN panel, but what you don’t expect at this price is a classy chassis and stand

Steady Scorer

Weighing in on the positive side of the ledger are good black levels and contrast. Panel backlighting is another strong point with very little unwanted bleed at the edges. As TN screens go, the viewing angles are impressive, too, even if the Lagom test suite proves they fall well short of the best IPS and PVA panels.

We’ve no particular bones to pick with the response performance, either. Philips offers two switchable modes. The Smart Response mode clearly involves pixel overdrive and does introduce a little inverse ghosting. But it also delivers super-quick response and, more to the point, it’s your choice — you can always switch it off.

If that’s the good news the bad is that the Brilliance will never let you forget your virtual world of desktop computing is tinged by TN. The give away involves slightly thin and watery colours. This screen simply isn’t as saturated, vibrant or pleasing as more expensive panels. It’s still a great gaming panel thanks to the speed. And we have to admit that 1080p video looks very fine. But you will notice the Lack of depth and vibrancy on the desktop.

If none of that sounds like a deal breaker, there is one further snag. Philips has seen fit to limit video inputs to dual-HDMI and a single VGA port. Problem is, HDMI can be problematical, especially with AMD graphics cards. Be warned.

Vital Statistics

Price $307.2


Size 23.6-inch

Panel type TN

Native resolution 1,920 x 1.200

Pixel response 2ms

Viewing angle 170/1600 H/V

Inputs 2xHDMI,VGA


Samsung 5 Series T27A550

Movies, games. PC and TV — can a single screen really deliver on each and every count? That’s the challenge for the new Samsung Series 5 T27A550 HDTV monitor. It’s a 27-inch beast with an integrated digital TV tuner and enough inputs to soak up everything from desktop PCs to games consoles and set-top boxes. It’s the total video solution.

Description: SAMSUNG 5 SERIES T27A550

That it’s also priced at just $384; looks a little like a miniature high-end HDT; sports a full HD 1,920 x 1,080 pixel grid and comes complete with an IR remote just sweetens the deal. It’s an awful lot of screen, features and technology for your money.

Of course, HDTV prices have been tumbling of late. A 32-inch HDTV can be had for under $318. Likewise, pretty much any HDTV with an HDMI port is capable of doubling as a monitor for a PC or a screen for gaming console and set-top box larks. It’s also worth noting that the panel itself is based on TN technology. At this price that’s inevitable. But it’s worth remembering that large, expensive HDTVs use more sophisticated VA or IPS technology.

Description: The 127A550 tries to be all things video for everyone and just about succeeds

The 127A550 tries to be all things video for everyone and just about succeeds


Still, TN is the fastest responding panel technology and the T27A550 duly delivers blur-free gaming. Elsewhere, the image quality is above average for a TN. Thanks in part to the LED backlight, colours are vibrant and relatively saturated Okay, a VA screen has more visual punch and IPS panels are much more accurate. But for anything less than pro usage, the Samsung monitor’s colours are adequate.

Black levels are good for a TN, too, even if Samsung’s dynamic contrast technology is no substitute for a panel with strong contrast. Then there’s the Magic Angle Vertical technology, which claims to improve viewing angles. First, it’s not dynamic, and second you have to set up and stick to a particular viewing angle.

If you change your viewing position or the height of the screen itself, you’ll have to recalibrate. That said, it does offset much of the colour inversion TN panels suffer when viewing from below horizontal

As for other features, Samsung has included support for direct video, audio and image playback from USB mass storage devices. That includes full HD video files in a wide range of codecs, such as H.264 and XvlD, and containers, including. AVI and .MP4. Images in .JPG format up to 15,360 x 8,640 resolution and non-DRM MP3 files round out the USB playback menu.

On a negative note, the 1.920 x 1,080 resolution is great for games, but it doesn’t deliver any extra desktop space compared to cheaper 22-inch screens, including BenQ.’s RL2240H (reviewed p14.).


Price $520


Size 27-inch

Panel type TN

Native resolution 1,920 x 1,080

Pixel response 5ms

Viewing angle 170/1600 H/V

Inputs 2xHDML,VGA

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