Originally created 09/08/01

A good flat screen monitor for $500



What would you pay for the "perfect" monitor for your PC?

$1,500?

$1,000?

The folks at Philips Electronics are letting me play with their Brilliance 150B1C flat panel monitor ($549) and, for the price, it's probably as close to perfection as I'm going to get.

There are better monitors out there, some of which I've lusted after when I've seen them at trade shows, but they are double to triple the price of this one.

So, you ask, "why should I spend $549 for a flat panel when I can replace my old CRT for less than $300?"

The answers are simple:

- A flat panel monitor takes up less space on your desk.

- A 15-inch model gives you a full 15 inches of viewable area instead of the 13.5 to 14 inches you get with the equivalent CRTs.

- It runs cooler than a CRT.

- The LCD resolution is a lot brighter and truer than with a CRT.

I haven't seen very much written about this monitor, probably because it's the basic version of its multimedia siblings, which boast built-in speakers and microphones, that retail for about $100 more. In fact, it was tough to find data on this model. But I persevered.

Although I did find a couple of "hot spots" (at the bottom center and top center of the screen) where type became a bit hard to read, I was able to resolve the problem by adjusting the angle of the monitor. Try that with your old CRT!

Also, the monitor automatically adjusts to its position by giving you what Philips considers to be its "optimal" settings at the push of a button. That means you don't have to go through a menu of options to adjust screen size, brightness, color, etc - although that is available for those who want to have more control over such things.

For those that need to know, here are the rest of the details:

- It's VESA compliant with standard VESA mounting holes and can be used with an optional wall-mounting kit.

- It has the smallest footprint in its class: 15.2 inches wide by 14.8 inches high by 6.5 inches deep.

- Maximum resolution is 1024 by 768 at 75 hertz and 16.7 million colors.

- It has 14 user-definable and 14 factory preset modes.

- It's plug and play to adjust to any video card.

- It's available with either an analog or digital (DVI) cable.

- It includes FPAdjust Panel Adjustment Software for Windows.

- It supports MS-DOS, Windows, Macintosh and OS/2 operating systems.

- The three-year warrantee includes a 48-hour replacement guarantee for the first year.

- The LCD screen is Active Matrix TFT.

You can probably find the 150B1C on the Internet for less than $500, which makes it a real bargain.

Mike Berman can be contacted at mberman@jocgeek.com or through his website at www.jocgeek.com.