For a well-rounded 24in monitor with good colour and contrast, the Philips Brilliance 240PW9EB is a great choice. Colours aren't overly vivid nor are they highly accurate but the balance is acceptable. Additionally, the dynamic contrast ratio technology used — SmartContrast — works better than most.
Like most 24in LCD monitors, the Philips Brilliance 240PW9EB has a maximum resolution of 1920x1200, a response time of 5ms and can display 16.7 million colours. The 1000:1 contrast ratio is also standard, though SmartContrast provides a dynamic contrast ratio of 3000:1. (The Samsung 2493HM provides a dynamic contrast ratio of 10,000:1.)
Philips has opted for an understated design with the Brilliance 240PW9EB. The monitor has a thin matte black bezel, with a soft blue power light. At the back, the Philips Brilliance 240PW9EB provides DVI and VGA connectivity; it doesn't have an HDMI connection or a DisplayPort.
The stand is quite chunky, but it is also flexible. Its height can be changed and the monitor can be rotated into portrait mode, with the onscreen display automatically reorienting. The Philips Brilliance 240PW9EB can only be tilted a few degrees vertically, however.
The panel has a matte finish, which allows the monitor to be used in a well-lit room without suffering from glare or reflections.
Viewing angles are some of the best we've seen. Viewing the monitor from a horizontal angle does not cause any problems (up to the quoted 178 degrees), while vertical angles are only problematic if the monitor is tilted beyond the stand's limits.
Four buttons can be used to adjust settings, with a fifth providing four different SmartImage presets with differing contrast, brightness and colour settings. Like most presets on monitors, however, we found the SmartImage options to be largely useless.
Using the onscreen display, you'll find a basic array of options, including brightness, contrast and colour temperature. The onscreen display also allows you to switch on SmartContrast, change gamma, and configure a user-defined colour palette. Colour temperature controls are measured in industry standard settings, from 5000K to 11500K, with sRGB also provided as an option.
Philips' SmartContrast technology is implemented well. Monitors like the AOC Zifas 2218Ph suffer from noticeable gradations between backlight settings when using dynamic contrast, but SmartContrast allows for fluid changes, and the end result is a more vivid picture with darker blacks.
The monitor's colour palette isn't entirely neutral, particularly when it comes to red and green shades, which both appeared vivid to the point of over-saturation. Adjusting the user-defined colour palette can remedy this somewhat. The Philips Brilliance 240PW9EB provides a good compromise between the vivid colour palette of glossy monitors and the accurate colour balance of monitors targeted at professionals.
Motion is handled well; there was no evident ghosting during movies or fast-paced games. Slight blurring did occur during fast motion, though there was no evidence of tearing or lagging as a result of the response time. Though 5ms isn't the fastest on the market, the Philips Brilliance 240PW9EB coped with most motion.