Philips 234E5QHAW review

If you want a monitor that offers IPS quality, but you really don’t want to pay a premium then something has to give somewhere. We look at Philips’ cheap IPS screen to find out where.

The Philips 234E5QHAW is based on one of LG’s new AH-IPS panels, 23 inches on the diagonal and with full-HD resolution, which sells for under £140. In fact, you may even find it at around £125, which makes it a real budget option.

We tested the white version, although it also comes in black which would probably hide the wide 25 mm bezel better. The screen image doesn’t go right to the edge of the screen – it stops around a centimetre short, but it’s still thin looking. At the bottom is a panel with controls to the right side that protrudes a little. This has a bizarre, and entire superfluous, plastic tongue sticking out under the Philips logo.

Build quality is a little suspect. There’s some light bleed evident on a black screen and the bottom panel flexes more than we’d like. The tilt-only stand is also a cheap plastic stick. While it feels fairly rigid, it may not be particularly strong.

See also: Display reviews

It’s slim, very neat and tidy around the back thanks to the PSU being separate and there only being three input interfaces.

The power supply is external, plugging into the back alongside the interfaces and typically drawing 29W with the screen running, and 0.5W in standby.

For video input, there is D-Sub VGA, HDMI, and another HDMI with added MHL (Mobile High-definition Link) which also supplies power for charging a mobile devices connected to it. At present, MHL is only used by some Google Android devices.

The monitor has audio capability with twin-speakers driven by a 5W amp, and there’s also a headphone socket and an audio input jack.

On some Philips monitors there have been issues with fonts being over-sharpened but there’s no problem here. They look fine straight out of the box, the only thing that didn’t was that the display was distinctly warm with very muddy whites until it was calibrated.

Philips 234E5QHAW review: Performance

For colour gamut, we saw 98% sRGB coverage and 74% on AdobeRGB. The Tone Response test was okay, showing some variation in the middle brightness settings and giving a result of Gamma 2.3 when set to a value of 2.2.

On the brightness front, there was a decent maximum level of 269 cd/m^2 at 100% setting, slightly more than the claimed 250 cd/m^2. Contrast ratio was up to 770:1, a good result that’s better than average.

Given that there was some visible light leak in the bottom corners, measured screen uniformity was not too bad, with 10% darker areas on the right side and lower right corner at 100% brightness. At a more usable 50% brightness this was still no worse than 10% and 11%. Elsewhere was much lower, suggesting reasonable consistency here.

Colours were accurate with only light grey and dark cyan being some way from exact, as is often the case, at Delta-E 5.59 and 5.77 respectively. All the main colours were at Delta-E of 1.21 or under, resulting in a decent average of Delta-E 1.88.

On colour uniformity the top right corner at 100% brightness wasn’t great at Delta-E 4.0, with the rest under 3.0; but with brightness reduced down to 50% this dropped to 2.7 with everywhere else 2.2 and much lower. Overall, very good consistency, apart from that corner.

OUR VERDICT

The Philips 234E5QHAW is a good value IPS panel at the popular 23in size. It should have reasonable luminance consistency but good colour coverage and accuracy. There’s some penny-pinching on the frame and the stand is weak, but this monitor offers good quality and modestly stylish looks.

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