capsule review

Sony monitors

At a Glance
  • Sony SDM-HS74P

  • Sony SDM-HS94P

These two Sony LCD displays may differ in price and sizes, but they still have many things in common. Both offer dual-mode (digital and analog) connectivity, both share a native resolution of 1,280 by 1,024 pixels, and both buck the trend towards narrow bezel designs. They each sport a wide (2 inches on the sides, 1.5 on top and bottom), shiny, black picture frame design; the 17-inch SDM-HS74P is actually wider than most of 19-inch displays we’ve reviewed. (See our October 2004 round-up ). The hinged base allows you to adjust the screen forward to back and left to right; you can’t pivot the monitors or change their height.

As for on-screen performance, both screens are quite bright: at 400 candelas per square meter, they’re 33 percent brighter than the highest-rated displays from our October round-up. Credit Sony’s Xbrite technology, which gives both higher brightness and easy adjustability: Press the lightbulb button, and you can change the brightness from the default High setting to Medium, Low or User. I actually had to turn down the brightness on the SDM-HS94P, to compensate for overblown highlights and faint text. The 17-incher didn’t appear so bright, though the settings were exactly the same.

From a normal viewing angle, colors were vivid and saturated. Though they used the same settings, the 17-incher had warmer colors, while the 19-inch took on a cooler, bluer tinge. That blue became more pronounced at the lower brightness settings. Both monitors had image problems when viewed from extreme angles: whites took on a yellowish, tobacco-stained cast and, on the 19-incher, reds turned purple and color saturation was lost.

Macworld’s Buying Advice

Though they share many of the same features and specifications, the smaller 17-inch SDM-HS74P would be our choice of the two. Despite the difference in physical size, both displays can show the same amount of data. The 17-incher had less of a color cast and didn’t require any adjustments to the brightness to improve text legibility.

At a Glance
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