The Philips Brilliance 200W6CB is a good performer and will fit well in a business office or at home, but it lacks the features and adjustability we've seen on other similarly priced wide-screen LCDs. To its credit, the Brilliance 200W6CB offers network-management software (though it costs an additional $650) that businesses will appreciate; and home users may benefit from the standalone speakers, which can play music without video input. If you need the network-management software and like the staid look of the monitor, its $699.99 asking price is fair. But for the same price, the HP f2105 offers better-sounding built-in speakers and better performance; for even less money, the Dell 2005FPW provides S-Video ports, a pivoting screen, and picture-in-picture functionality.
In a product category where slick and space-age are the prevailing aesthetics, the Brilliance 200W6CB is a decidedly drab-looking display. Its matte-black bezel runs 0.75 inch wide along the top and sides and 2.5 inches wide along the bottom, where the decent-sounding 2-watt speakers are located. The display has a short, hinged neck and a round base, and its flexibility is fairly limited: you can't pivot it between Portrait and Landscape mode, and you can raise the panel only 2 inches. The hinges are very stiff, so making the few possible adjustments requires two hands and quite a bit of muscle. The display turns easily on a smooth surface thanks to a lazy-Susan-style disc built into the monitor's base. For $60, you can buy a special ergonomic base with a telescoping neck that adds 5 inches of height adjustment and a Landscape-to-Portrait pivot function.
The Brilliance 200W6CB offers an adequate array of ports for a monitor of this category, including digital and analog inputs, an upstream USB 2.0 port, a PC audio jack, and a headphone jack; given that it's a wide-screen monitor, we'd also like to see an S-Video input. Philips generously includes digital, analog, USB, and audio cables, and a Mac adapter is free upon request. On the back of the neck is a plastic panel that snaps off so that you can tuck all the cables neatly out of sight. Along the bezel's left edge sits one downstream USB port; in our opinion, that's at least one too few; most LCDs have at least two downstream ports, if not three or four.
The unobtrusive black onscreen menu-navigation buttons are embedded in the silver stripe on the bottom of the bezel. We experienced a slight lag between pressing a button and getting a response from the menu, but we got used to it after a while. The Brilliance 200W6CB's drab theme extends to the onscreen menu, with dull pigeon grays and tacky turquoise highlights. We found the menu a bit tricky to navigate at first, as it uses two sets of arrow buttons (up/down and left/right) to drill down into submenus and make adjustments. Most LCDs use just one set of arrow keys.
At its native resolution of 1,680x1,050, the Brilliance 200W6CB looked very sharp, especially when displaying text. In CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based tests we noticed very little hue shifting and compression in the grayscales. The Brilliance 200W6CB also displayed good color quality; reds and yellows had more warmth and depth than on the typical LCD. DVD and gaming performance also looked pretty good, with minimal streaking and digital noise. On the downside, the display has a tendency toward ghosting in high-contrast areas.
The Philips Brilliance 200W6CB comes with an industry-standard three-year warranty. Toll-free phone tech support is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. Philips's Web site offers a product-specific page with access to drivers, documentation, troubleshooting, and Philips's SmartControl software.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)