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Philips Moda 2 23.8” LED Monitor Review

The Philips Brilliance 245C5 23.8″ 1920 x 1080 LED IPS Monitor, better known as the Moda 2, takes a different sort of approach to make a name for itself in the crowded monitor market. Instead of going all-in on display quality, Philips is angling for enterprise attention by adding a Bluetooth speaker to the base of the monitor. It’s a cool idea, but it also necessitates some limitations that might turn potential customers off.

Design

The Moda 2 has a sleek 23.8″ display set on top of a circular base that contains the speaker unit. That speaker base is about 9.4″ in diameter, with the entire monitor’s dimensions, including the base, being 21.3″ W x 16.5″ H x 9.4″ D. The base doesn’t end up being too much larger than the base of most other displays of this size, so we’re immediately fans of a company making use of that space instead of just keeping it as dead plastic.

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The bezels around the display are very thin at 3.5 mm (physical plus matrix border), giving the monitor a more premium appearance. The bottom strip of the monitor has touch controls for power, menu, volume, input, Bluetooth connectivity, and the SmartImage feature, which automatically changes the display settings to suit what you’re doing (e.g. gaming, working, or watching a movie). There’s also an economy setting to focus on minimizing power consumption, if you’re working in an energy-conscious office or want to cut down on your own energy bill any way you can. A small lip at the center of that bottom strip has an LED light indicating that the monitor is on. The lip doesn’t seem useful for adjusting the angle of the display, though — the plastic starts to come away from the screen if you apply any downward pressure.

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The display can be adjusted vertically between -5 degrees and 20 degrees. It’s not a huge range, but it’s enough to get the tilt adjusted to suit you. There’s no horizontal swivel, though, so you’ll have to move the whole base to turn the display from side to side. Also, it’s worth noting that because of the speaker base, there are no mounting options for this monitor.

Connectivity

You’ll find all of the connectivity ports on one strip on the back of the monitor. The Moda 2 has two HDMI ports, an MHL-HDMI port, a VGA port, audio in, and audio out. There’s also Bluetooth connectivity for use with the speaker in the base. That makes the Moda 2 pretty great for use with mobile devices as well as desktops — with Bluetooth connectivity for audio and MHL-HDMI for video, putting your mobile display up on the big screen is pretty easy.

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That said, it’s clear that despite appearances, this isn’t a premium display. There are no DisplayPorts, nor is there any wireless docking or connectivity features aside from Bluetooth. That’s not exactly a problem, though — the Moda 2 isn’t priced like a premium monitor, so we expect a lot of these features to be left off.

Performance

The Moda 2 that we reviewed has a 23.8″ display (a 27″ monitor is also available) with an AH-IPS LCD display and a W-LED backlight. The display tops out at 1920 x 1080 resolution, with a 16:9 aspect ratio, a 60 Hz refresh rate, and a 5 ms GtG time (the time it takes for a gray pixel to change to white, then back to gray). The 178 degree viewing angle is pretty standard. According to Philips, the contrast ratio is 1000:1 and the display is capable of reproducing 16.7 million colors. Using Philips’ SmartContrast technology, the contrast ratio goes up to 20,000,000:1. Brightness tops out at 250 cd/m², which is likely much brighter than you’ll ever want to go up to.

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Using PassMark MonitorTest, performance was mostly pretty good aside from a few hitches. Color contrast on brighter reds was almost imperceptible past 80%, which was a big disappointment. It’s not great for bright blues, either, although there’s still some noticeable contrast at the highest levels of brightness. Otherwise, color contrast was solid for this price point. The test also revealed noticeable ghosting effects at 800 pixels/s and 600 pixels/s movement, and slight effects at 400 pixels/s. This is still in line with the price point, but with the 60 Hz refresh rate and the noticeable ghosting effects at high speeds, I would recommend that gamers who have spent a lot of money on a quality rig should look for a more expensive monitor. Otherwise, I think none of these issues detract from image quality too much for the average user, although the ghosting effects might negatively affect some action movies.

One strange thing to watch out for is the matte anti-glare layer. Usually, this is sprayed on, but on the Moda 2, it’s a removable film. It’s easy to remove by accident if you don’t realize what it is, so that’s something to watch out for.

Audio

Inside the base of the Moda 2 are dual 7-Watt speakers, which ends up providing quite a bit of punch from an integrated sound system. The speakers can get very loud, much louder than I expect most users would ever want out of this kind of a speaker — even if you’re using it to watch movies with friends or family, you’re almost certainly not going to want to crank this thing up to 100. That’s pretty impressive for a built-in speaker, especially when the addition of the speaker doesn’t seem to have affected the price of the Moda 2 too much.

Audio quality isn’t all that great — there’s significant amounts of tinniness at higher volumes and frequencies, and on the other side, bass response is unsurprisingly weak considering the lack of a bass radiator. It’s hard to be too disappointed, though — ultimately, it’s a cheap integrated speaker, and it does the job. I suspect the speaker on this monitor will be used most often for conference calls made in the office, and for that purpose, it’ll do nicely. One thing that is pretty impressive is the imaging effect. Using SRS WOW HD tuning, the audio coming from these speakers gets much closer to surround sound than you’d expect — virtual 5.1 sound, according to Philips. We think that’s accurate.

Read on for the verdict…

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