At a Glance
A full range of physical adjustments is unusual at this price, and a little tweaking makes the display quality pretty good.
The Philips 200WB7 includes a number of features to help you customize the screen and monitor to your needs. Given its low price--$469 on 5/18/06--and generally good screen quality, this 20-inch wide-screen monitor could be a good deal for many users.
Compared to other 20-inch wide-screens tested, the Philips stands out as one of the few with a full range of physical adjustments. (Others boasting these features include the Asus PW201 and the Dell UltraSharp 2007WFP.) Tilt adjustment is de rigueur for LCDs, but comfort-enhancing height adjustment remains all too uncommon. Swivel--useful for sharing your screen with a nearby colleague--and landscape-to-portrait screen pivot are welcome features in the 200WB7 as well. All these adjustments work smoothly.
At defaults, our test jury found the 200WB7's performance generally acceptable, but not great. It received high scores--even relative to the fierce competition--on our important real-life test screens of a Microsoft Word document and an Excel spreadsheet. On graphics, however, it often lost detail in very dark and very light areas; this was especially obvious on our grayscale test screen. Though we found the 200WB7's color pleasing at defaults, that same lack of detail hurt it on our group-portrait test. That said, it was simple to tweak the monitor for better performance. Philips's SmartControl screen adjustment software, included with the monitor, uses slider bars to make fine-tuning images easy.
It takes a little fussing to get optimal performance from the 200WB7. However, since it's also more physically adjustable than most monitors of its screen size, spending a few extra minutes could give you an all-around more comfortable monitor than you'd typically find elsewhere. And since it's very economically priced, spending those extra few minutes may be a fair trade for the money you save.