The technical testing of Philips' Blade 2 AMVA Monitor was completed by my colleague, Zardon.
To test today, we are using a LaCie calibration gun along with specific software to accurately measure the readings. We measured the Gamut out of the box and the Philips Blade 2 Full HD 24″ returned a reading of 2.13 which is a fairly strong default setting. When manually tweaking to 1.8, the panel returned a 1.83 result, which is reasonably good.
Colour response is excellent, measuring only a minor blue cast across the image area. This can be almost removed with some tweaking. Panel linearity is relatively strong although not perfect at the edges.
Colour accuracy is decent and off axis performance is quite strong, measuring around 176 degrees.
Black Definition is above average. We recorded a deviance around 10 percent in the center of the panel and this rose to around 17 percent at the edges. This is significantly better than the Philips 248X3LFH LightFrame which we reviewed in late May this year. It certainly isn't class leading, but in the sub £200 market this is a good result.
We watched the bluray copy of science fiction film SunShine and the minor shift at the edges was only slightly noticeable. The center of the screen is very consistent and delivers good results when watching movies with a lot of dark imagery.
In real world terms, we don't have a problem with consistency of this panel and viewed several movies with SmartContrast enabled and disabled. We actually prefer it enabled on this panel, rather than disabled.
White purity is actually very good, measuring between 4 percent and 8 percent across the central area of the panel. Our equipment recorded several small patches just offset in from the left and right of the screen in a central position. This is not noticeable to the naked eye, even when viewing bright, outdoor scenes. ‘Pooling' was also kept to a minimum although it was more noticeable in the bottom corners, more so than the top corners.
Panel uniformity rates as good although we noticed a little distortion closer to the sides, which is a common failing at this price point. Colour fluctuation is held well across the length of the panel and it one of the Blade 2's strongest facets.
SmartKolor (no, we haven't made a spelling mistake) was a useful setting which helped to improve the vibrancy and brightness of images displayed on the screen. We didn't observe any negative points that would cause a need for concern; SmartKolor is a very convenient and well-designed feature.
SmartTxt picture setting provided disappointing results. It did little more than deepen the black colouring of words. This didn't improve the clarity or readability of large bodies of text; instead it caused a more pixelated and letter-blending appearance which became increasingly irritating to view. Disabling the SmartTxt setting made text easier to read; it also had the benefit of not affecting the surrounding graphics in programs such as MS Word.
SmartContrast dynamically adjusts the Blade 2's contrast ratio dependent upon the source image. A split-second is required for the monitor to process an image, but the results are well-worth the wait; an increased vibrancy, crispness and clarity is produced. Whites appeared to become more vivid and in-your-face – an effect which isn't easy to create, but has an overwhelming outcome.
SmartImage is a handy feature which loads pre-defined picture configurations related to specific usage scenarios. It eliminates the adjustment process that is required to enjoy a specific task at the fullest image quality.
Text, Office, Photo, Movie, Game and Economy form the six SmartImage modes.
I found the Text mode irritating to use when reading large bodies of text. It had a very similar effect to the SmartTxt feature where the letters seemed to be compressed closely together and became more pixelated. Economy mode wasn't impressive either; it decreased the brightness, making the image far duller than I would have liked.
For general reading of web pages or picture-containing documents, the Office mode would be my suggested SmartImage choice. Contrast was maintained at an appropriate level, and pixelation didn't become an issue.
The picture setting tweaks that are employed when selecting the Movie mode were instantly clear. Contrast and brightness levels were sharply increased, resulting in a more vivid image. Motion-blur was eliminated by the preset engaging SmartResponse to its ‘fastest' setting. Game mode was equally as impressive with only a subtle decrease in contrast levels and the omission of SmartTxt separating the two.
Photo was little more than an OK mode. Philips chose to disable the SmartContrast feature with this preset which was a mistake, in my opinion. A lacklustre image is created due to the absence of dynamic contrast manipulation provided by the aforementioned feature.
Power consumption is excellent, and above average for the class. When calibrated it consumes between 25 watts and 30 watts at the socket.