Philips 20PF8846 review

A 20in screen happy to play second fiddle

TechRadar Verdict

Exactly what we would expect from a Philips of this size and price

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This 20in screen from Philips is clearly aimed at those looking for a second-room set.

And while it doesn't have a PC input - meaning it sadly can't double up as a luxury monitor for the study - its claim to novelty fame lies with a built-in FM radio tuner, which makes it a handy hybrid product for the bedroom or kitchen. Then of course there's the small matter that any new LCD from Philips is cause for excitement - after all, the brand has an intimidating reputation for producing quality screens.

Bedroom buddy

While certainly not as striking as some of the screens sitting higher up the Philips flatscreen range, the 20PF8846 is attractive enough. With a light silver colour scheme and speakers angled up into the extreme corners of each side, it should look right at home in a bedroom.

Connections are mostly just what we'd expect at this size and price, comprising one RGB Scart and the usual S-video and composite video suspects. The lack of component video, and especially a digital input, is par for the course, and the only real cause for complaint is that missing PC connection - we must say Philips has missed a trick by not including one.

Aside from that handy FM radio, extra features are in short supply, with just a contrast booster, Dolby Virtual audio and a mode for viewing anamorphic widescreen footage worth a mention. Still, we're happy to report that the remote control is cute and well laid out, and the on-screen menus are a breeze to navigate.

Ye of little faith

A glance at the 20PF8846's specifications list doesn't inspire confidence. With contrast rated at 350:1 and a native resolution of just 640 x 480 pixels - among the lowest in this roundup - we were fully prepared to be disappointed, but we shouldn't have doubted an LCD veteran like Philips...

That the 20PF8846 doesn't have the fancy processing of some more expensive sets works in its favour, as the naturalism of its pictures was the first thing to strike us. As we enjoyed the umpteenth viewing of our Raiders of the Lost Ark DVD, we really couldn't tell that the film was almost as old as we were - it looked fresher than ever, and we weren't distracted by being able to see processing at work. By this we mean that images were completely free of picture noise, be it grain, dot crawl, blocking or tizzing.

This naturalism was further boosted by the Philips' colour presentation, as it managed to make the rich hues of Raiders' market scenes rich and bright, without being over-ruddy. Even low-lit skin tones, such as those of Indy and Marion when they are trapped in a snake-infested tomb and illuminated only be burning torches, look completely authentic.

Finally, images are surprisingly sharp considering the screen's low resolution - although it was by no means the most detailed presentation we've enjoyed.

Aside from this lack of detail, our other main criticism would be that blacks aren't particularly deep, leaving dark scenes a little greyed over. There's also a bit of smearing during fast scenes - like when Indy races after the Nazi trucks on horseback - but this is not surprising on a low-cost LCD.

Audio, meanwhile, is lively and punchy enough for a pop tune via that FM tuner, but couldn't pass muster with the actionpacked Raiders. But then, we wouldn't expect this of speakers on a 20in screen!

In fact, the 20PF8846 provides exactly what we would expect from a Philips of this size and price. Throw in that FM tuner and it's a handy second-room set. was the former name of Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.