Time was when the Sony logo was a sign that a product would have visual flair to knock you backwards – and a price tag to match. Today Sony adopts a rather more sober, functional approach to technology.
Which isn't to say the SDM-G96D's physical build is dull. But this particular TFT is more accurately described as discreetly professional than flamboyant.
The design takes up very little space. Sony has done away with the stand typical of most flat-panels, and instead provides a fold-out rear flap to provide balance. This makes the model surprisingly stable, although you have to do without certain features: you can't adjust the height or tilt the screen much, and it obviously won't pivot.
The rear of the screen is also quite minimalist. You get a DVI (digital visual interface) but no HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface), and the SDM-G96D doesn’t offer USB hubs or on-board sound. An enhanced version, the SDM-G96X, will offer integrated speakers.
But if the Sony seems relatively modest on the outside, its specifications reveal more substance within. The screen’s 700:1 contrast ratio isn’t out of the ordinary, but a 2ms response rate is excellent. Perhaps even unnecessarily so, although gamers will still appreciate the guarantee of smoothly rendered fast-moving graphics.
The Sony's 420 cd/m2 brightness rating is very impressive – none of the screens in our Top 10 chart (see November issue, page 195) get near this. Indeed, there may be some users who think the Sony is just a touch too bright. However, those who prefer colour palettes that are light and airy rather than dark and intense will love the image quality.