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Sony SDM-HS73

  • Editors' rating
    7.8 Very good

Pros

  • Attractive styling
  • simple cable tidy
  • easily adjustable brightness
  • fast response time.

Cons

  • Wide bezel is unsuited to multi-monitor setups and can cause unwanted reflections
  • no digital input
  • no height adjustment or swivel base.

Unlike some monitor manufacturers, who joined the LCD market when it became popular, Sony has been involved in flat panel production from the start. The company was also among the first to consider the aesthetic appeal as well as the performance of its LCD monitors, and the results are evident in products like the SDM-HS73. This uses a 17in. panel with a 0.264mm pixel pitch to provide a native resolution of 1,280 by 1,024. It's an analogue-only product, the only ports at the rear being for power and a 15-pin VGA cable, hidden behind a large and easily removable cable-tidy panel.

As is apparent from its appearance, Sony is targeting those who might be looking for something more than a simple beige chassis, but this doesn't mean that the specification has been overlooked. In fact, the SDM-HS73 does pretty well, with a respectable peak brightness of 250cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 500:1. For those interested in using this monitor for games or video, the exceptional pixel response time of 20ms is also an attractive prospect, reducing blur on fast-moving subjects.

However, the attractive appearance doesn't hide the shortfalls of this monitor. Aside from the lack of a digital input, there's no height adjustment to the base, nor does it swivel on its stand -- even though it looks like it should. There's no arm mount option, and the rather wide, glossy bezel is unsuitable for multi-monitor setups as well as being prone to distracting reflections.

A relatively intuitive menu system is controlled by four studs recessed at the bottom right-hand edge of the screen, as well as dedicated brightness button that lets you toggle between three preset brightness settings, or select your own preference. Because this is an analogue-only display, auto-calibration is paramount, and we're pleased to report that we had no complaints with the accuracy of the SDM-HS73's signal lock -- although it could be faster. Rescaling of non-native resolutions is also effective, but there's no 1:1 option for those who require a smaller but sharper display. Nor is there an sRGB colour option as provided by some of the competition; you do get the usual colour temperature and three-channel colour adjustment options, as well as customisable gamma settings.

The viewing angles for this monitor are beaten by other products on the market, but it's fair to say that most of us would be satisfied by the 160 degrees horizontal and 150 degrees vertical that's provided. However, you might note a slight colour shift when viewing at around the 45 degree mark (horizontal). Our high-contrast test patterns revealed almost unnoticeable degree of streaking, screen uniformity was good, if not exceptional, and there were no stuck pixels or screen artefacts.

Although it's certainly not a bad product, there are better LCD monitors on the market in terms of image and colour control options. That said, there's not much to complain about when it comes to image reproduction, making this a good choice whether you need image quality, or just a nice-looking flat-panel monitor.

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