Philips 221V8LN Review: Budget 1080p 75Hz FreeSync Monitor

The Philips 221V8LN is an excellent 22" 1080p budget monitor thanks to its VA panel with a high contrast ratio and FreeSync up to 75Hz.

Bottom Line

The Philips 221V8LN is a budget 22″ monitor with excellent value for the price thanks to its high contrast ratio, 75Hz refresh rate, FreeSync and VESA mount compatibility.

Design:
(3.5)
Display:
(4.0)
Performance:
(4.3)
Price/Value:
(4.0)
4

If you’re just looking for the cheapest monitor that’s actually good, the Philips 221V8LN offers plenty of features for a low price.

For instance, it has a VESA mount compatible design and support for FreeSync up to 75Hz, which many more expensive models lack!

Let’s see what else the Philips 221V8 offers!

Image Quality

Based on a 21.5″ VA (Vertical Alignment) panel with a 1920×1080 Full HD resolution, the monitor has an excellent pixel density of 102.56 PPI (pixels per inch), resulting in sharp text and a decent amount of available screen real estate.

So, you get the same amount of screen space as you would on larger 1080p monitors, but text clarity will be noticeably better in comparison to 24″ and especially 27″ monitors with the same resolution.

Further, the VA panel provides you with a high contrast ratio of 3,000:1 for deep blacks which makes blacks on IPS monitors with a 1,000:1 contrast ratio appear grayish in comparison. There’s also no IPS glow, which along with the high contrast makes for an immersive viewing experience in dark rooms.

While VA monitors have the same 178° viewing angles specification as IPS monitors, there’s actually some gamma and saturation shift when viewing the screen at certain angles. However, it’s not noticeable in everyday use, so unless you plan on doing professional color-critical work, this won’t be an issue.

The Philips 221V8LN has a peak brightness of 250-nits. This is the minimum as far as modern LED-backlit displays go, but it’s also standard for budget monitors.

Overall, the screen can get more than bright enough under normal lighting conditions, but if you plan on using the monitor in a particularly bright room, you’ll need to get a brighter (and more expensive) model instead in order to mitigate glare.

Next, the monitor has true 8-bit color depth support, so you won’t run into any flickering issues related to 6-bit + 2-bit dithered panels.

It covers ~95% of the sRGB color space – as expected from a display in this price range since you’d need to spend at least $120 for something with a noticeably wider color gamut, such as the AOC G2490VX.

Performance

amd freesync logo

The Philips 221V8LN has four response time overdrive modes under the SmartResponse setting: Off, Fast, Faster and Fastest. The Faster and Fastest modes can introduce pixel overshoot, so we recommend sticking with the Fast option.

Further, the pixel response time speed is fast enough to keep up with the 75Hz refresh rate, so there’s no prominent smearing behind fast-moving objects.

The 75Hz refresh rate also provides you with a small but noticeable boost in motion clarity in comparison to the standard 60Hz displays.

Additionally, input lag is low at ~9ms of delay, which is imperceptible.

The backlight of the monitor is flicker-free and there’s an integrated low-blue light filter mode.

Features

Philips 221V8LN OSD Menu

On the bottom bezel of the screen, there are four hotkeys for navigation through the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu, as well as a power button.

Besides the standard image adjustments (brightness, contrast, color temperature, input source selection, etc.), the Philips 221V8LN also has a few advanced settings, including five gamma presets (from 1.8 to 2.6), sharpness, aspect ratio (4:3 and 16:9) and various picture presets (including low-blue light modes and sRGB mode).

The monitor supports AMD FreeSync over HDMI with a 48-75Hz variable refresh rate range. So, as long as your frame rate is within this range, there will be no screen tearing. You can try using CRU (Custom Resolution Utility) to extend that range a bit, but the results will vary across different units.

Note that FreeSync doesn’t work with NVIDIA GPUs on this monitor since there are no DisplayPort or HDMI 2.1 inputs.

For optimal image quality, we recommend leaving the SmartContrast feature disabled.

Design & Connectivity

Philips 221V8LN Design

The stand of the monitor is sturdy, but it’s tilt-only by -5°/20°. Luckily, unlike most monitors in this price range, the Philips 221V8LN is VESA mount compatible via the 100x100mm pattern.

The screen has ultra-thin bezels at the sides and at the top, as well as a 25% low-haze matte anti-glare coating that prevents reflections without making the image too grainy.

Connectivity options include one VGA port, one HDMI 1.4 input and a headphone jack.

Price & Similar Monitors

The Philips 221V8LN can be found for as low as $70. It’s the cheapest 1080p monitor with FreeSync up to 75Hz and VESA mount compatibility.

For most people, we recommend spending ~$20 more for a 24″ 1080p model, such as the Philips 241E1S, the Aopen Acer 24SA2Y, the Acer R240HY or the ASUS VA24DQ.

Gamers should definitely invest in a high refresh rate model, which can be found for ~$150, such as the Gigabyte G24F-2.

Conclusion

All in all, if you’re looking for a cheap 22″ monitor, the Philips 221V8LN is the most cost-effective model available.

Specifications

Screen Size21.5-inch
Resolution1920×1080 (Full HD)
Panel TypeVA
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate75Hz
Response Time4ms (GtG)
Adaptive-SyncFreeSync (48-75Hz)
PortsVGA, HDMI 1.4
Other PortsHeadphone Jack
Brightness250 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio3000:1 (static)
Colors16.7 million (true 8-bit)
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Decent pixel density
  • High contrast ratio
  • VESA mount compatible

The Cons:

  • Tilt-only stand
  • Narrow FreeSync range

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Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.