Philips Brilliance 200W6CB
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, theoffers better-sounding built-in speakers and better performance; for even less money, the 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.