Sony LCD sees the light

Sony's SDM-X93's LCD has amazing adjustability as well as an electric eye to adjust brightness levels.

These days, there are so many good LCD monitors on the market that one seldom warrants a standalone review. But the new Sony SDM-X93 breaks the mold. It thinks for itself.

The 19-inch, black-framed LCD came loaded with extras. It produced excellent images and had a feature the GCN Lab has never before seen in an LCD'an electric eye located at the bottom of the screen.

It looked like a tiny clear button, no bigger than the head of a pin. If you didn't know it was there, you'd probably miss it.

When the monitor was set to automatic mode, the electric eye sensed the room's light level and adjusted contrast and brightness accordingly.

This is dynamic, so if you work in an environment where the lights occasionally dim or morning sun streams through the windows but is gone by afternoon, the SDM-X93 would make a great computing tool.

It compensated for dramatic lighting changes in about three seconds. Not only did this sharpen images, it also cut down on eyestrain by keeping the monitor always bright enough to see, but not overly bright.

Many high-quality LCD monitors we have tested in the lab have scored poorly not because of LCD quality but because of the stand. Users come in all shapes and sizes, and too often they're restricted by the stand's limitations to working in one position.

Also, many federal computer users have disabilities. For optimal viewing from a wheelchair, for example, a monitor should be adjustable to a different position than for an ordinary desk chair.

Twist and slide

The amazing Sony stand could twist and slide along every axis. It could support the monitor resting at desktop level, or higher by four inches. We didn't have to fight the weight of the unit when adjusting it vertically. In fact, we could do so with one hand.

The monitor tilted backward about 30 degrees and came forward a bit, too. And the entire stand was built on a pivot that rotated just a few degrees shy of 360. There weren't many positions this LCD couldn't take.

The back even slid up to expose cable ports for DVI and standard analog inputs. The SDM-X93 was one of the most impressive LCDs we have ever tried in the lab. And for a 19-inch screen, its $799 list price was excellent, considering all the features. We were expecting a price closer to $999.

The SDM-X93 is the flagship of a new line that Sony is marketing to government users; it also comes in 17- and 15-inch models.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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