Gaming monitors are often talked about in extreme terms. Speed is mainly an issue these days, as screens hit the 500 Hz mark. High performance comes at a price, which is also extreme. But what about the other end of the spectrum? How many gaming monitors can you buy for $70?
The V-Line 221V8LN is a 22 inch VA panel with FHD resolution and very high native contrast. In addition, wide color gamut, 75 Hz, free sink. Yes, as you read, it’s only $70. Let’s see.
Philips 221V8LN specifications
|Panel type / backlight||VA/W-LED, edge array|
|Screen size/aspect ratio||22″ / 16:9|
|Maximum resolution and refresh rate||1920×1080 @ 75Hz|
|Free Sync: 48-75Hz|
|Native color depth and color gamut||8-bit / DCI-P3|
|Response time (GTG)||4 ms|
|brightness (manufacturer)||250 nits|
|video input||1x HDMI 1.4, VGA|
|audio||3.5mm headphone output|
|power consumption||14w, brightness @ 200 nits|
|panel dimensions||19.4 x 14.8 x 8.7 inches|
|Width x Height x Depth (including base)||(493×376×220mm)|
|panel thickness||1.8 inch (45mm)|
|bezel width||Top/Side: 6mm|
|weight||5.7 lbs (2.6 kg)|
Despite the high price tag for high-end monitors, the only thing the 221V8LN beats many monitors is native contrast. Philips always succeeds in creating more contrast. Virginia This is no exception. Out of the box, I measured it to over 4,200:1.it beats everyone easily IPS panel, and nearly every VA monitor I’ve tested. And that’s a clear difference in a side-by-side comparison.
Philips doesn’t stop there. I expected maybe a little more gamut volume, but the 221V8LN he covers over 85%. DCI-P3This is average among all the wide gamut displays I’ve tested. HDR isn’t supported, but honestly, how much does it matter when the native contrast is over 4,200:1?
The 221V8LN isn’t super fast, but it hits 75 Hz without a problem.sports Full HD It means you don’t need an expensive video card to maximize resolution. The 21.5-inch display has a pixel density of 102ppi, which means it’s not much lower than the 27-inch. QHD screen. Also, Adaptive-Sync is available in the form of FreeSync. Unfortunately for me here, G-Sync Because there is no DisplayPort and HDMI version is 1.4. But if you have a vintage PC or laptop in your office, it should have a VGA port. This is something I haven’t seen in a long time.
Of course, the 221V8LN is relatively barebones when it comes to useful features. It doesn’t have USB ports, built-in speakers, or RGB lighting, but it does have a 3.5mm audio port. And the stand is minimalist. In fact, the entire package weighs less than a Chihuahua.
But don’t be fooled. The 221V8LN is capable of stable performance and has excellent image quality. Not only is the contrast high, but the colors are also accurate. You can enjoy it without calibration, but it has all the adjustments like color temperature and gamma.
A lot of this review says things like “but it’s only $70”. And let’s be honest, the 221V8LN far exceeds expectations, so it’s hard to find fault with it.
Assemblies and accessories
A slim carton includes panels, uprights and bases, ready to assemble. Everything clicks into place and feels lightweight yet solid. The power supply is internal, which is a definite plus at this price point and size. In addition to the power cord, Philips also includes an HDMI cable.
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The 221V8LN is a simple and functional design with a thin flush bezel, a slightly raised Philips logo at the bottom center and a series of control keys on the bottom right. These have small white labels that give you access to all monitor features. A small white LED indicates power status.
The uprights are mounted low on the back of the panel, too low for vertical use. I had to tilt it up to match the eyepoint. It has 20 degrees of adjustment. The tilt function is the only ergonomic feature. It cannot be rotated or adjusted in height. A 100mm VESA mount is included if you prefer an aftermarket solution.
The input panel only has three ports: VGA, HDMI 1.4, and a 3.5mm audio jack that can be used with either headphones or powered speakers. There are no built-in speakers, but the OSD includes volume controls. It doesn’t even have a USB port.
The 221V8LN’s OSD will be familiar to any Philips user, and includes almost everything you’ll find on the company’s more expensive displays.
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As an advantage, this menu has precise and accurate gamma presets. Setting 2.2 gives 2.2. In fact, the 221V8LN has a nearly perfect gamma response. If you want higher contrast, there’s the SmartContrast dynamic feature, but it cuts out too much detail in shadows and highlights. Five image quality modes are available. Standard is the default and best choice.[カラー]The menu has color temperature in Kelvin values, or user-defined options using RGB sliders. These are very accurate and can be used to dial in grayscales accurately. An sRGB option is also included, but the color gamut was not significantly reduced.
Philips 221V8LN calibration settings
I doubt many people who buy a $70 monitor will run a calibration, and the 221V8LN doesn’t strictly require calibration. However, some tweaks can provide some improvement. We left it in standard mode and adjusted the RGB sliders for excellent color accuracy and near-perfect gamma. The 221V8LN is much better than the $70 monitor. My recommended settings are:
|Brightness 200 nits||96|
|Brightness 120 nits||62|
|Brightness 100 nits||44|
|Brightness 80 nits||24 (minimum 55 nits)|
|color temperature user||Red 100, Green 95, Blue 90|
games and practice
I spent a few afternoons playing games and working with the 221V8LN, but all I wanted was a bigger screen. I’m happy with his BenQ Daily Driver at 32 inches, but most monitors I review are at least 27 inches. Of course, don’t expect $70 to get you a giant screen, but get past that, the 221V8LN is a very capable display.
I have no complaints about the image. A great photo with deep contrast and saturated colors. The wide color gamut and 4,200:1 equivalent dynamic range go a long way in making you forget how much money you spent to buy the 221V8LN. It’s hard to imagine better pictures for this price. And I quickly forgot about FHD resolution. At 102ppi, it’s only a fraction of a 27″ QHD panel.
I worked with the 221V8LN for a while before doing any tuning as I expect only some users will do it. That’s fine. Even in this state, it can be used without any problems. Thanks to the near-perfect gamma, you get maximum contrast potential and color saturation. After calibration you will see less detail than before. I made a change for testing and the improvement was small. If you’re reading this, scroll up a bit and notice the RGB settings. Then you will see the same image as mine.
Gaming is a decent experience, even for someone like me who is spoiled by a fast monitor. 75fps is fast enough for smooth movement and good control response. I used the BlurBusters test pattern to dial the overdrive into the fast setting. The sedation was blurry and my aim was good, but not great. After a while, I adapted to what I was seeing and improved the gameplay. A relatively high pixel density keeps details reasonably sharp. I saw some frame tearing when playing without FreeSync. G-Sync is not available on his 221V8LN when using an Nvidia-powered PC. But for me the game was perfectly playable either way.
It took me a while to get used to the smaller screen for my weekday tasks, but with 100% font scaling I was able to read small text. The 221V8LN’s high contrast certainly helps. Great color accuracy makes working with photos and graphics easy and results in fatigue-free images. A low blue light mode is available for reading, but I didn’t need it. I was most comfortable setting the output to 200 nits and the screen size to 22 inches.
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