The Philips Brilliance 230WP7 sports a fairly basic design, with an inch-thick bezel, a prominent control panel, and a large, stable base. The buttons are almost artistic in their layout, and subtle flourishes such as inlaid plastic on the bottom front bezel and a two-toned, black-and-silver color scheme add interest to the otherwise plain design. The Brilliance 230WP7 offers all the adjustability we could ask for in a big, 23-inch monitor, including 45 degrees of swivel to the left and right and more than 7 inches of height adjustment. The panel also tilts back 25 degrees and forward 5 degrees and can pivot from portrait to landscape mode--a feature left off of many larger monitors such as the BenQ FP231W. The large, two-pronged base keeps the monitor stable through most adjustments, but it tends to move around while the screen is pivoted. A handle atop the monitor's neck makes height adjustments easier, which we appreciate since monitors this large can be a bear to adjust.
Connectivity options are limited. Standard DVI-I and VGA ports are lined up on the monitor's back, and one upstream and two downstream USB 2.0 ports are set apart in the lower-right corner of the back panel. Two more upstream USB 2.0 ports are embedded in the monitor's left side. Though Philips has the basic connections covered, the lack of video ports is disappointing, especially considering the monitor's large size and expensive price. Philips includes digital and analog cables as well as a USB cord.
The 230WP7's seven-key control panel has large, well-labeled buttons, and the intuitive onscreen menu navigation makes image adjustments easy. If using the buttons seems like too much of a chore, Philips includes Smart Control, a software utility that allows you to adjust image settings with your keyboard and mouse. And for business users, Philips includes Smart Manage, a remote network asset-management tool that allows administrators to track, adjust, control, and support whole fleets of Philips displays over a network.
Tested at its 1,900x1,200 native resolution, the Philips Brilliance 230WP7 received an excellent score on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests. The 230WP7 displayed clear, distinct text even in the notoriously difficult small-size sans serif fonts. Only a few faint blue and green off-color tints blemished the 230WFP's grayscales. Colors weren't as vibrant as we typically like to see, but they were spot-on, with only red showing a slightly orange hue at its very lightest shades.
Though it boasts an 8-millisecond gray-to-gray response time, which is relatively fast for a monitor this size, DVD playback was unimpressive. We noticed a fair amount of noise in backgrounds and a lack of sharp details. Still, on our gaming tests, colors were accurate and images were sharp, showing detail in both bright and dark scenes, though we noticed slight streaking and ghosting.
Philips backs the Brilliance 230WP7 with an industry-standard three-year warranty that includes free parts and labor. If your 230WP7 fails during the first year of the warranty, Philips will replace it within 48 hours. If you have problems with your 230WP7 during the second and third years, you can ship it to the service provider on your dime, and Philips will repair and return it without charge. Tech support calls to Philips are toll-free from Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. The company's support site offers a comprehensive troubleshooting section as well as links to drivers, manuals, and product information.