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Philips Gioco preview: Ambiglow on your desk and much more

The monitor market is like any other segment in the world of electronics. There are plenty of things happening, but you can also see consolidation taking place, where products begin to look like each other. We're always happy to see when a brand innovates, even if a particular feature has been applied to another type of product in the past. When Philips announced it was integrating Ambilight in its computer monitors, our curiosity was piqued.

There are significantly cheaper 27in displays, so the question is whether the expensive models are worth the money. The Gioco 278G4DHSD definitely falls into the more expensive category, costing an average of £289. Especially if you feel Full HD resolution isn't enough for such a big screen you might say no.

There are definite quality differences between the affordable 27-inch displays and the high-end ones like the 278G4DHSD. The new Philips display is based on the latest generation AH-IPS panel from LG Display, and Philips made a number of its own additions. If those features don't interest you, you could better off with a LG IPS277L-BN, ASUS Designo MX279 or an Acer S275HLbmii.

The more desktop space on a monitor, the more it will cost you - there's no way around that. The WQHD (2560x1440) monitors are still not very affordable, like the £311 Dell UltraSharp U2713HM for example. We're still of the option that a Full HD resolution on a 27in monitor looks fine from a normal distance, but it's a matter of personal preference of course.

And as a 27in Full HD display the Gioco 278DHSD is something special indeed. Philips has equipped the monitor with a polarisation layer for passive 3D, a USB 3.0 hub, and Ambiglow. You might know the last feature from Philips TVs, and they're basically light on the back of the screen that shine colored lights on the wall.

The Philips Gioco 278G4DHSD is a 27-inch monitor, which is equal to about 68.5 cm diagonally, with a 16:9 Full HD resolution. That's 82 ppi, but you have to sit real close to actually see the individual pixels. The extra, dark and glossy layer on top of the screen probably helps here.

The main new feature on the Gioco 278G4DHSD is Ambiglow. If you will never use 3D or the USB 3.0 hub, there is a more affordable model without those features, the Gioco 278C4QHSN. Both have the same Ambiglow LEDs, five on each side of the screen that can light up in every color of the rainbow.

The monitor analyzes the colors in the incoming signal and adjust the 10 LEDs accordingly. Ideally it gives the impression that the picture on the screen radiates onto the wall behind it. It makes the transition between light and dark smoother, possibly preventing your eyes from getting too tired of a bright screen in dark surroundings. There's also a setting that just shines a neutral, white light with a 6500 K color temperature.

The Ambiglow effect is best visible in a dark environment when the screen is close to the wall. It works best with slow-moving images, if colors change to rapidly you will notice a slight delay. The brightness can be adjusted in a number of increments with the onscreen menu. The rest of this review you can read on Hardware.Info.