Philips 180P2   











18" TFT LCD Monitor

Before you read this review, just take a quick look at your desktop. What kind of monitor do you have? Most likely if you are a mainstream user you would have a 17-19” CRT display (if you own a LCD monitor, these next few sentences doesn’t apply to you). If so, how much space does it take up? An average sized CRT display will usually take up about half the width of a table. Now, how much room does that leave for your keyboard, mouse, speakers or any other desk accessories? If the answer is not much, you are not alone.

Consumers worldwide are using bulky CRT monitors which take up precious desk space and reduce space management efficiency. However technology, as it always does, has found a solution for all your problems. Introducing the LCD technology displays of today, flat panel monitors with excellent crispness, superb colors, and unrivaled contrast--compared to LCD monitors of the past and to even CRT monitors of today. Imagine your desk with a monitor taking up a little more than 18 cm of your space. This is the beauty of LCD monitors: A superior display coupled with unrivaled space management. With an LCD display you can have an excellent performing monitor with enough room left on your desk for any other items that you can think of (be it photos of your kids or a synchronization cradle for your Palm).

Today we take a look at a high end LCD monitor from Philips. Promising performance for office/home users and gaming users alike, the Philips 180P2 is really in the next generation of LCD displays. As customary, let’s take a look at a quick stats sheet from Philips’ site.


Viewable Area 18.1"
Pixel Pitch 0.280 mm
Brightness 250cd/m2
Contrast Ratio 350:1
Viewing Angle (h/v) 170/170
Interface Analog (Analog RGB)/Digital (DVI Digital Link)
Video Level Analog: 0.7Vp-p, Digital: TMDS
Input Connectors 15 pin D-SUB, DVI-I
Horizontal Frequency (Max.) 82KHz
Vertical Frequency 30Hz-82Hz
Maximum/Optimum Resolution 1280x1024
Power Consumption 50W (Max)
Power Management Energy Star / NUTEK
Special Features Optional multimedia base (w/ speaker and microphone) or USB base
USB Powered Hub Option Yes
Dimensions (mm) 399 x 424 x 184
Net Weight 8 kg

A first glance at the stats sheet tells us that the 180P2 has a .280mm dot pitch. Comparing this dot pitch to the dot pitch of the Samsung SyncMaster 180T, reviewed earlier, you will notice that the 180P2 beats the 180T a .001 mm. Obviously this won’t make a huge improvement, but you can see that Philips put a lot of work into this monitor. Similar to the 180T and most other 18” LCD monitors, however, is the recommended and max resolution of 1280x1024@75Hz. The next spec to take a look at is the 250 cd/m2 brightness rating. This again beats the Samsung 180T monitor, in terms of specs, by about 30 cd/m2. Finally, the last spec we will take a look at is the contrast ratio. Identical to the Samsung 180T, the Philips 180P2 monitor has a contrast ratio of 350:1. As you can see, the stats sheet is definitely impressive, beating the 180T specs in quite a few areas. Also impressive are the large screen, the minimum size “footprint,” and the optional bases. Before we continue, it will be productive to understand a little bit more about LCDs and the LCD monitor market.

LCD Technology and Market
Just like any new technology, overtime prices start falling and people start buying. With the ever decreasing prices of technology, a flat panel display these days is hot on the market. An affordable LCD can now cost just a hundred or two hundred more dollars than a good CRT monitor. With a price gap like this, more and more people are willing to pay the bit more for increased performance; furthermore, as the demand for LCD’s go up, the quality of LCD monitors is getting better as well. These newer and more improved LCD’s make up the top end of the price line.

A top of the line LCD can run you up a bill into the thousands of dollars. Obviously most people wouldn’t be willing to purchase one of these monitors due to price constraints, but those that do get extreme satisfaction through productivity, performance, and sheer beauty. Another advantage with newer displays is that they have a wide range of mounting options, from many different stands, to walls and desks (almost any LCD looks elegant on a desk, or a wall!). As you can see the LCD market is extremely versatile, capable of suiting all of your monitor needs. LCD’s, however and like most other technologies, have a disadvantage of their own.

LCD’s, unlike CRT monitors don’t have an instant response. They can take a few milliseconds to display new information and refresh whatever is on your screen. Because of this delayed reaction, some quick motions can be displayed with a faint “trail.” Obviously this would be a disadvantage for any serious gaming user, but fortunately, modern LCD’s are better (faster) in this aspect and reduce the blurring quite noticeably. This is the case with the 180P2. You can notice a slight blurring when playing games such as Counter-Strike, but after the first day you can’t notice the blurring anymore. Just measured by a matter of opinion, the 180P2 is significantly faster than other LCD displays I have seen on the market, so the blurring is not much of a factor at all on this display.

The next big factor affecting LCD and CRT monitors alike is the size of the display. Now the current standard for a display size is about 15”-16” viewable; however, more and more people these days are stepping it up to 18” viewable monitors too. The Philips 180P2 monitor, which we are looking at today, 18” of viewable space.

First Impressions

Now as we all know, most monitors don't come with much. You get a driver disk (occasionally), the power cable, and then the monitor itself. Usually the VGA cable is attached to the monitor itself; however the same doesn't apply for the Philips 180P2; no way. The first glimpse I got of the monitor was of the box, and honestly, my first impression of the box was "it’s HUGE!" My thoughts were perhaps misguided a little bit however, as when I opened up the box I saw the Styrofoam packaging that obviously comes with any monitor for shipping.

Besides the actual monitor, quite a few accessories were included, and that was surprising. Included was: the monitor itself with the multimedia base (contains speakers and a mic), a driver/utility/online CD, the Pivot Power software (for rotating the LCD), 2 display cables (one analog D-Sub to D-Sub and 1 digital DVI to analog D-Sub) and a PC to Mac display adapter (obviously Philips intends for this monitor to be used with any platform). A hard copy manual was also included. The manual was quite thoroughly written; however, when you are dealing with such things as a monitor, you rarely need to refer to this.


Enough with the included items you say? Wish to hear about the actual monitor? Well, as soon as I laid my eyes on this beautiful monitor, I fell in love with it. As you can see in the photos, the Philips 180P2G (which is the model I received) has a stealth black color with silvery/grayish buttons (the 180P2 is in a white color). It also features a power button with a dual color light (when the monitor is active, the light is green; when the monitor is "asleep" then the light is orange). This doesn't really affect the performance of this monitor, but it’s just another small detail that shows Philips really did pay attention to detail in the construction of this sleek monitor.

When taking a quick look at the back of the 180P2, the first thing you notice is the arched design. The way that the design is made is so that you can pick up the monitor under your arm and use the arch as a "handle" of sorters. I frequently used this feature and it is strange how your hand sort of seems to just drift towards this opening when lifting it. Next to be inspected are the connectors at the back of the monitor. There are 2 signal input connectors: one DVI connector (you can use the included DVI to D-Sub cable here for connecting this monitor to a second analog source, but mostly this is in case you have a digital-only DVI to DVI cable, which is not included), and one D-Sub connector (you can use the standard D-Sub to D-Sub cable or the D-Sub to DVI cable here). Moving along you can see the power connector and the connector for the power supply to the multimedia base. Nothing fancy here, but I do like the way you can use two inputs as well as how you can use DVI and D-Sub inputs depending on your preference.

(If you wish to use two analog D-Sub sources at one time, then you can use the included DVI to D-Sub cable. You would connect the DVI end to the monitor’s DVI input and the D-Sub end to a second computer or video card.).


There are two features left on the rear of the monitor to note: the mounting system and the optional bases. Regarding the mounting system, Philips has designed the 180P2 to be used in conjunction with an optional wall mount to mount the monitor on your wall. Philips made a special effort to accommodate this feature by placing the power supply directly in the LCD itself making the mount so much easier (many other LCD monitors use external power supplies which increased the amount of cabling and hassle). If you were to use the optional wall mounting, make sure that you use the proper Philips mount and make sure to unscrew the base before applying the mount as well. Unfortunately I was unable to get my hands on a wall mount so that feature cannot be covered in today's review.

Finishing of our review's first impression section, let’s look at the base of the LCD. Now Philips has created quite a product line for LCD bases. There are a variety of options, but the one that is included with the 180P2 is probably the best: the multimedia stand. It contains two speakers (stereo of course), and a mike. On the side of the base are two connectors for an external mike as well as for external headphones. The headphone jack really came into great use as connecting headphones to the rear of your case is quite impractical and for me impossible as the headphone cable wasn't long enough to reach that far. This was quite an innovation by Philips. [Ed: I need one of these bases…]

Powering Up

Before we continue onto the tests, there is one feature left to inspect: the rotation feature. Philips, like many other LCD manufacturers, has included a rotate feature on the 180P2 LCD for convenience. It allows for much easier reading and editing of documents, and allows you to re-orientate the display to a vertical position. I tested this feature quite extensively, and finally concluded that it was an interesting and fun feature, but for the average user, it won’t be too useful. In fact, since the display rotation feature was linked to a software utility and cannot be automatically set, I found it to be a somewhat of a hassle to rotate the display. Regarding the feature itself; it’s great if you will mostly be reading or designing documents, but other than that this is just another “cool” feature which has more of a wow factor than practical application.


The Tests
The evaluation of a LCD monitor is very tough because many of the results are qualitative, rather than the easier to measure quantitative type. Thus, though we aim to be as fair as possible, one must keep in mind that many of these assessments are of the subjective nature; others might have a different opinion of what is found below.

Dysfunctional Pixels
A property of LCD monitors that can be measured quantitatively is the number of broken pixels. LCD monitors are made up of millions of thin-film transistors. Thus, it is very common that, on a TFT LCD display, a few of these transistors might be damaged, where they might be seen as missing, discolored, or as lighted dots. By counting the number of obvious dysfunctional TFT's, it can used to help determine the quality of the manufacturing process of the LCD monitor. It must also be noted that each LCD monitor, even with the same brand and model, are made differently, so, while one may contain many of these dysfunctional TFT's, another might not contain any; therefore, this test is only a rough estimate of the quality of the product line.

Throughout testing of the 180P2, we found ~2 of these dysfunctional pixels, and both were almost impossible to detect except when using an entirely black screen. Just in case you are a demanding user who needs every pixel working to the fullest, Philips offers a "Perfect Pixel Policy." Under this policy, if you were to find a dysfunctional pixel on your LCD, all you have to do is call up Philips and they will exchange your LCD for a new one. Obviously this means that there are only a select few of their LCD's who have dysfunctional pixels, and unfortunately mine was one of them. It is, however, good to see they are making an effort to give the customer piece of mind with their Philips purchase.

Quantative Assessment
In my opinion, the 180P2 has the best display/picture quality out there. Images which looked dull and boring on a CRT would look almost lifelike on this LCD display. I especially enjoyed inspecting images (particularly scenery/wildlife) as it was like I could actually reach out and touch the “image.” A great contrast ratio, adjustable brightness, perfect viewing from almost any angle (this means that you can see the picture clearly from any angle, as well as the fact that no significant color "warping" occurred when it was viewed from a different angle), and crisp clear text and graphics makes for a killer display.

The colors, too, make a big difference, and the 180P again performs excellently in this area. Graphics displayed on this monitor look real both in color and definition. In contrast to earlier "creamy" whites on the 180T, the 180P2G has perfectly clear and pure whites, and nice and sharp blacks. I noticed, however, one strange thing about it when my system boots up: During the black screens at that time there was a noticeable "ghost" of white pixels in a small portion of the bottom of the display. However after the system had booted up, black screens in Windows did not result in that ghost. This was strange to say the least but I believe that this is a one-time occurrence on system boot-ups.

Picture Scaling
The recommended resolution on the 180P2, much like any other 18 inch LCD monitor, is 1280x1024. Much like the 180T, the 180P2 does a good job of stretching the display at lower resolutions; however, the picture begins to get a tad blurrier at lower resolutions with higher refresh rates. Playing games at lower resolution is, however, still worthwhile since not everyone has a powerful enough graphics card to play all games at 1280x1024, but playing games at the recommended resolution will, of course, make for the best experience.

On-Screen Controls
OSD controls have long replaced old fashioned knobs and buttons which can be found on older CRT monitors, such as an NEC Multisync 3V that I have lying around. The down side to OSD controls, however, is it’s kind of a hassle to use 2 or 4 buttons to navigate your way through a menu. The upside of using OSD controls is that there are less buttons on the actual monitor itself, reducing clutter. One really cool function of the OSD on most LCD monitors is a built-in Automatic Adjustment feature. All you have to do is hit the auto button and the LCD will reposition the display, adjust the brightness and contrast, the phase and coarsens of the image and then apply the settings if you wish. This threw a lot of the hassle of adjusting settings for the first time right out of the window.


Motion Blur
Finally, another property of LCD displays is that poor-quality displays tend to blur more as a side effect of rapid movement on the screen, such as mouse movement or turning in Quake III: Arena. This is because most LCD monitors are not able to refresh their screens as fast as an equivalent CRT monitor. This is frequently noticeable in older displays, or even on some newer displays. The 180P2 was extremely good with motion blur, and only the slightest motion blur was noticeable. After continuous use over a period of one month, I no longer notice the motion blur during normal use, even though I can see it and I know that it is there if examined carefully.


Overall the 180P2 monitor is a remarkable LCD display which I have had the pleasure to work with for the past couple months. Throughout my rigorous game usage as well as video editing and viewing, the 180P2 has surpassed all expectations. Great contrast even on the brightest of days was easy on the eyes, and the instant auto adjust feature configures almost all display settings needed. With the included multimedia base you also have the functionality of a built in microphone and speakers to keep that desk even less cluttered. Price-wise, the Philips 180P2 is right in there with other 18” LCD monitors, such as the Samsung SyncMaster 180T.

To those people who are soon looking to buy the 180P2: I recommend it to the fullest--if you are looking for the top of the line solution in 18” LCD monitors.


  • Great looks; sleek design
  • Vertical pivot feature
  • Small footprint
  • Multimedia base (speakers and a microphone) while sacrificing NO space
  • Near perfect image quality
  • Many video signal input options and multiple inputs at once; flexible


  • Price makes this monitor out of the reach of many. (-0.5)
Overal Rating - 9.5/10

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Copyright © 2002 Řyvind Haugland
Sist endret:  13 januar 2019

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