Philips 248X3LFH LightFrame Monitor Review

Today we are looking at the Philips 248X3LFH, a beautifully styled 23.6 inch LightFrame monitor. Philips claim that the LightFrame not only looks great, but will help to reduce eye strain. At around £230 inc vat it won’t hurt the bank balance too badly, but is it actually any good?
Getting a good monitor today is not difficult, however there are so many models under £300 that it can be difficult to prune a shortlist down to a couple of high performing models.
The Philips 248X3LFH is built around a 23.6 inch LED panel with a ‘smartimage’ option. Philips have basically pre-programmed the panel with a handful of modes to suit your working environment.
The 248X3LFH is a Mercury free design which is built around 100 percent recyclable components. The main talking point however will be the LightFrame 2-enabled front bezel which helps make the display stand out in such a crowded marketplace.
Product Highlights:
  • Innovative LightFrame™ technology relaxes your eyes
  • LED technology for brilliant images
  • SmartImage optimised for ease of use
  • SmartKolor for rich vibrant images
  • SmartTxt for an optimised reading experience
  • HDMI-ready for 16:9 Full HD entertainment
  • Cool blue lighted bezel helps improve concentration
Philips box art tends to focus on a ‘real world’ situation and the 248X3LFH packaging follows their guidelines. A designer is using a CAD program with graphics tablet to design a car.
The box is surprisingly light, and Philips include an easy carry handle on the top of the box.
Inside the box is a power adapter with power plug, stand, HDMI and VGA cable. Philips also include a thin ‘start’ guide which may be useful for inexperienced users.
The stand is very well designed, constructed from an aluminium die cast base. This connects directly into the monitor arm and can be screwed into place without the need for any tools.
We really do like the appearance of this screen, the base is nicely sculpted and when attached gives the appearance of an ‘all in one’ design. There is allowance for vertical tilt.
The Philips 248X3LFH really is beautifully designed and it looks great from all angles. The rear of the chassis is curved, yet very thin thanks to the LED panel inside.
There are three display outputs on the back of the 248X3LFH. Instead of a DVI port, Philips have included an analog VGA port, alongside two HDMI ports. This panel can output audio via an HDMI cable using the analog connector on the back I/O panel. There is no VESA mount, which might alienate a portion of the audience.
This back panel is finished in glossy black and subsequently attracts dust and fingerprints easily. By the time we had the protective film removed from the surfaces we had to use a polishing cloth before photography.
From the front, the Philips 248X3LFH is very attractively curved, with a touch sensitive panel underneath the company logo. This can control the onscreen menu system and turn the monitor on and off, with full support for standby mode.
Philips have made a claim that the soft blue glow can help reduce eyestrain, which sounded a little far fetched when I first read it. There are three brightness settings given via the onscreen menu system, and it can also be disabled completely.
I used the monitor over the full course of a week, while working and found myself adapting to the relaxing blue light. I wouldn’t say it completely transformed the experience, but I think Philips deserve a little credit for the implementation.
The blue light glows very softly from the translucent material, although I found Setting 3 to be a little intense. Setting 1 is very weak and barely noticeable. I used the middle Setting 2 and I found that it wasn’t distracting at all, making me feel as if I was working with natural sun glow around me. I never thought I would say this, but I really did end up enjoying the lighting implementation, as corny as it may sound.
On this page we present some super high resolution images of the product taken with the 24.5MP Nikon D3X camera and 24-70mm ED lens. These will take much longer to open due to the dimensions, especially on slower connections. If you use these pictures on another site or publication, please credit as the owner/source.
Above, LightFrame set to ‘off’. You will notice how the translucent material looks almost black in a dimly lit room. The button to control this is second from the right.
Above, LightFrame set to setting ’3′ (brightest).
The input button switches between the three output connectors on the rear, VGA and the two HDMI ports.
The onscreen menus are very easy to read, with white text placed on black panels. The SmartImage panel is a quick way to switch between various pre configured settings.
There are also picture options to help enhance and tune the image.
I found the best image was when all of these were disabled, but more on that later.
LightFrame settings can also be controlled from the main menu system, although it is slightly more clunky to control here. Input options can also be configured in this menu system.
The Audio settings can be controlled here, if you have a pair of powered external speakers hooked into the Philips 248X3LFH. Color temperature settings are also available within a dedicated menu panel.
Multi languages options are available. OSD settings can be fine tuned, including time out and transparency options.
To test today, we are using a LaCie calibration gun along with specific software to measure the readings.
We measured the Gamut out of the box and the 248X3LFH returned a reading of 2.12, a good default setting. When manually tweaking to 1.8, the panel returned a 1.85 result, which is quite good.
Colour response was very positive, measuring a very minor pink cast across the image area. We could remove this with some tweaking, although panel linearity wasn’t perfect. We measured 97% coverage of sRGB.
The colour accuracy is good for a TN panel, although the off axis performance was a little lacking on both vertical and horizontal lines. Philips rate viewing angles as 170° horizontally and 160° vertically although our sample seemed a little worse.
Black Definition was average at best, and we recorded a deviance around 10% in the center of the panel, rising to 25% at the extreme edges and 30% in the corners. Most of the time this isn’t too noticeable, although we have seen more consistent coverage in the last year.
Watching the bluray copy of sci-fi space film SunShine highlighted the inconsistent black variance. Our sample had a patch around half way down the screen, just off center to the left. Not really noticeable to the naked eye in the majority of situations, but with specific material I could see it.
In real world terms, I would have liked the blacks to be deeper. SmartContrast helped to negate this a little, although it could exacerbate low level noise with specific video content.
White purity was average at best, measuring around 10 percent in the middle of the screen. Our equipment recorded a slightly darker patch off center to the left, although this was not really noticeable to the naked eye, even with bright, outdoor scenes. I could notice a little ‘pooling’ with some images on bright media content however, especially in the corners. Uniformity of the panel was above average although I noticed some bleed close to the corners. Colour fluctuation is held well across the panel, and we recorded around 1.5 percent variance via the R channel.
For gaming, the screen is measured at 2ms. I didnt notice any motion blur or artifacting and tested the SmartResponse setting. This seemed to have a slightly negative effect on the image to my naked eye, so I left it disabled.
SmartKolor (yes, with a ‘K’) artificially boosts colour saturation which can give flat images a better contrast ration. I have to admit that I preferred the image with this disabled.
SmartTxt can improve the quality and sharpness of on screen text if you are having problems with fine type. I found this setting didn’t really work great, sometimes lowering the quality of colour images next to the text.
SmartContrast (no ‘K’ on the C with this one) will enable a 20,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio which is said to enhance video content. To my eyes the images appeared very artificial when this was enabled.
I didn’t like any of the Philips ‘tweaks’ with this panel, so I would leave them all disabled.
We measured a maximum contrast ratio of around 800:1 with a maximum brightness setting of 332 cd/m2. Native white point was measured slightly higher than 7000K.
Power consumption is better than the industry standard, taking only 17 watts at the socket when we calibrated the settings. With all options maximised, the 248X3LFH demands 22 watts.
The Philips 248X3LFH LightFrame is a very attractively designed monitor which would look fantastic in a modern office environment.
The main talking point is the Lightframe bezel which emits a soft, relaxing glow when turned on. While many may consider it a gimmick, it is actually a very welcome addition to such a stylish panel design.
We wouldn’t say it transformed the experience of using the monitor over the last week, but it did generate a soft ambient light which left me with only positive feelings. For those people who may find the lighting offensive, Philips do give the option to disable this completely.
Philips supply a decent bundle with the monitor, including a VGA and HDMI cable, removable stand and quick start guide. The monitor ships with protective plastic covers on all the panels however when these are removed, the glossy back panel attracts dust and fingerprints very easily. If you are a clean freak like myself, then the constant need to clean will become a little irritating.
Technically, and most importantly, the 248X3LFH is a little disappointing. We wouldn’t say the overall image quality is poor, but it is definitely distinctly average when compared against other leading monitors available under £250. Viewing angles are slightly worse than we would have liked, even from a TN panel.
There are also some lighting inconsistencies which ruin the overall image a little, and I found the black definition could have been improved for viewing video content. White purity was also no better than average, meaning that bright white images could appear to have a slight, yet noticeable colour offset. Using the built in enhancement settings such as SmartKolor and SmartContrast would help rectify these problems, at the expense of either creating more noise or delivering a slightly artificial looking image.
Pricing in the United Kingdom is around the £230 inc vat mark from ARIA.
The 248X3LFH is a very attractive design and the Lightframe glow really appealed to me. Unfortunately, technically it falls short. I would love to see this chassis used when paired with a high grade IPS panel, it would be a joy to use.
  • Beautiful styling.
  • Lightframe is a great addition.
  • Good colour saturation.
  • Great stand system.
  • Image is sharp.
  • Very low power draw.
  • Technically, there are panel inconsistencies.
  • Price is too high.
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About Yomal Malinda

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