If you're the type of display buyer that only wants things small and preferably thin, then the Philips 190G6FB/97 isn't the monitor for you. By comparison to most other 19" display panels, the 190G6FB/97 is pretty chunky, thanks to the multimedia functions of its support base and the embedded speaker array that frames the left and right hand sides of the monitor display itself. Measuring in at 590 x 457 x 262.5mm, this is a computer display that you'll have to dedicate a lot of desk space to. The LCD panel itself sits in a black frame with the speakers offset at a slight angle to accentuate the audio positioning, which also makes this a curved LCD monitor, taking up slightly more desktop airspace as well. You'll also need a fair bit of footspace near the 190G6FB/97, as it comes with a large 4kg 20W subwoofer that also requires its own power supply.
The front of the display base houses the audio controls, including a four-way selector for some simple graphic equaliser presets -- Classic, Jazz, Rock and Neutral -- as well as a matching four way selector for source input selection. The 190G6FB/97 supports composite, component, DVI and D-Sub connections, as well as a standard defintion coaxial TV input. There's also a pair of USB 2.0 ports for use in a hub capacity.
The display that the 190G6FB/97 ships with is a 19" LCD panel with a claimed response time of 8ms, brightness of 420 nits and contrast ratio of 700:1. It's a 1280 x1024 pixel panel that's also capable of high definition video playback, with 1080i the top supported resolution. On the audio side, it has inputs for either USB or standard analog mini-jack control, with two stereo pairs of 5W speakers on the sides of the panel and a 20W subwoofer.
Using the 190G6FB/97 as a regular display panel was extremely easy during our test period; if you're using it as a regular PC monitor the controls for audio and source selection quickly become second nature, and from further afield the supplied remote control worked well for basic AV functions.
Philips touts the 190G6FB/97 as being capable of 3D surround sound from its front-mounted speakers, and in our testing we could discern something of a surround effect, although we've certainly hit better than from the rather low powered 5W speakers that the 190G6FB/97 sports. It's presumably a play for the gaming monitor market, but it's fair to argue that most gamers will probably want a genuine surround experience rather than a faux one in any case.
We tested the 190G6FB/97 with a variety of display inputs, including testing it with Displaymate. Performance for regular PC tasks was generally good, and our Displaymate tests revealed good colour reproduction. Testing with non-PC sources showed the 190G6FB/97 off well, and it's easy to see its appeal as a multi-use display solution; we can't quite see the argument for spending just short of a thousand bucks on just a 19" PC monitor, but if you're struggling to connect up your PC, Xbox 360 and perhaps an older composite solution but don't want a thousand screens staring out at you -- not to mention taking up precious space -- then the 190G6FB/97 is a good, albeit somewhat costly, all-in-one solution.