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Monitors are the sort of thing that people rarely upgrade. Even when people get a new PC, the monitor they plug in to it often stays the same. It can be easy to forget that the world of PC monitors is constantly changing with new technologies and trends, just like any other gadgets. Lately I’ve been playing with an interesting new monitor from Philips. The 272S4 LED-Backlit LCD monitor has some interesting tricks up its sleeve that make it more than just a run of the mill computer screen, and worthy of your attention.

The Screen

The screen itself is nice and large with a 27-inch picture when measured diagonally. They call it a Crystalclear and it delivers Quad HD 2560×1440 pixel images at 60Hz. This uses high performance panels and a high density pixel count to help deliver more lifelike graphics from high bandwidth video sources like HDMI. If you’re a graphics professional, or need a highly detailed and responsive picture for whatever reason, this monitor helps give that extra oomph to whatever you need to display. I tried filling the screen with some very detailed documents and while on some monitors I would have needed to zoom in to read smaller print and make out details, this monitor let me stay zoomed out while everything stayed sharp so I could see everything at once without sacrificing the finer points. The TFT LCD panel with W-LED backlighting has a 5ms typical response time and a 350 cd/m² brightness with Smartimage picture enhancement. Smartimage is a Philips technology that analyses the video to display on screen and optimizes performance dynamically.

one.jpgConnectivity

In terms of connectivity, this monitor has inputs for DVI-D, VGA (analog), Display port, and HDMI as well as PC audio-in and Headphone out. I’m very happy with that as it means I can connect just about anything in to it that I might expect to, from old PCs with analog video, to the latest HDMI gear. One feature I adore in this monitor is the MultiView functionality. It lets you experience dual-connected devices at once with picture in picture or split screen views. That is fantastic if you want to be playing on your game console while working on your PC at the same time on the same screen. Unfortunately, however, it highlights that you only have one of each type of video input so if you want to take advantage of MultiView with two HDMI sources for example, you’re out of luck.

Audio

You may also notice that this monitor has PC audio-in connectivity. That is because the monitor has a pair of high quality 2W stereo speakers built in to the display. That is fairly handy, particularly in a home office where you probably don’t want to have to set up a 4.1 PC speaker system at your desk just for listening to YouTube videos and things like that. In practice the speakers performed fairly well and seem a little better than speakers you might find on a high end laptop. While you’re not going to get thumping bass from them, they do their job well enough for casual users and their inclusion can help you declutter your desk space.

The Base

For me the base was a particularly interesting aspect of the monitor. First of all it looks good. It’s not too flashy or ostentatious, and has a discrete sense of style. What was particularly nice about it, however was all the built in functionality that you might not even know is there at a glance. The monitor stand has some basic cable management via a through-port in the stem where you can feed your cabling to help keep things tidy, particularly if you’re using multiple video sources. You’ll also find that the base can pivot horizontally so you can turn the screen to face another direction without much effort. What’s more, you can raise and lower the height of the screen. While some prefer a screen that is low, nearly touching their desk top similar to a TV, I like to be able to raise mine to eye level. I was pleased to see that this screen stand supported such a big vertical height adjustment range. This means that no matter what you’re using the screen for, you can adjust it to a natural and comfortable height. The base doesn’t stop there either. You can also tilt the screen to better adjust for glare and comfort, or even rotate your screen to a portrait orientation if you so desire, which is wonderful for advanced users who will be working with a lot of text. If you read a lot on your screen, or will be doing much coding then you’ll really want to take advantage of that functionality. Unfortunately, rotating the screen between portrait and landscape is a little clumsy as you have to tilt the screen back in order to do so, which means you won’t find yourself switching back and forth too often. You’ll probably just pick one orientation and stick with it.

Efficiency

Another one of the big features of this screen is Philips’ care for the environment. This display uses 24% recycled materials. PCC, BFR free housing, and even houses some fancy tech to help keep your power consumption down without sacrificing performance. PowerSensor is a built-in sensor that detects people. It uses infrared signals to determine if someone is in front of it and automatically reduces the screen brightness when nobody is around. Phillips says this cuts energy costs by up to 80 percent and prolongs your monitor life. Any gadget that is smart enough to cut down on its power use when it’s not needed is taking a step in the right direction.

Overall this is a great monitor. I love the adjustability which is mostly effortless aside from the clumbsy screen rotation, and the picture quality is fantastic. While you only have one of each input port I found that being able to use multiple inputs at once was of tremendous help and means getting more use out of the screen over time. Even if you just want to be able to switch from TV to PC input devices, the convenience is a marvelous touch by Philips.

This monitor will soon be available at Best Buy. Check out the wide range of Philips monitors available now instore and online.