The design of the Philips 200W6 is utilitarian rather than flash, and workaday aspects include a SmartManage facility for LAN-based asset management, which might please network administrators but will leave the rest of us cold. Typically, the Philips' menu system is a lesson in intuitive interface design, making it supremely easy to get at and adjust all the monitor's controls.

Our review sample made a dreadful job of lining itself up correctly using the auto-tune feature, frequently losing the right hand side of the picture altogether. Further, manual coaxing was needed to override phase and clock settings in the pursuit of a stable picture for high-frequency test charts but, even then, there was a little ghosting when displaying fine text edges.

On paper, the maximum contrast ratio and brightness of 800:1 and 300 cd/m2 look healthy enough, but we had to set the contrast to 60% and the brightness right up at maximum for the best picture on our review sample. At these settings, however, the tonal separation was actually very good across the whole range from black to white and colour rendition was very natural in the 6500K colour temperature mode.

Niceties include the now almost ubiquitous provision of both D-Sub and DVI-D connectors for analogue and digital video sources and the 200W6 also includes a USB loop-through connector. However, since they've gone to the trouble to put in USB, we wish they'd gone the distance and built a full USB hub into the monitor instead. At least the stand unit is better than most, offering full tilt, swivel and height adjustment flexibility.

Speed looks impressive on the spec list at 8ms, although closer inspection reveals that this is a bit of a cheat, as Philips quote the 'grey to grey' value rather than the black to white rise and fall times, which can be twice as long. Even so, the monitor performed well in DVD movie and gameplay tests. Matthew Richards