Articles: Monitors

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The monitor’s menu looks good and is handy to deal with. Traditionally for Sony’s monitors, brightness can be regulated with the matrix or the backlight lamps separately, and the color temperature is set at 9300K by default. Take note of this fact if the image on the screen of the MFM-HT205 looks too cold to you in comparison with other monitors standing in a shop window.

The monitor offers four brightness/contrast presets, each of which can be adjusted independently from the others: Game (backlight brightness = 100, contrast = 100, matrix brightness = 60), Movie (this mode is enabled by default; backlight brightness = 100, contrast = 85, matrix brightness = 50), PC (backlight brightness = 70, contrast = 70, matrix brightness = 50), and Auto (backlight brightness is adjusted automatically, contrast = 70, matrix brightness = 50). Gamma compensation settings also vary in the different modes. There are four of them in total, numbered from Gamma1 to Gamma4, without specific values.

When the color temperature option is set at sRGB, the matrix brightness, contrast and gamma settings become disabled.

The monitor supports Picture-in-Picture and Picture-beside-Picture modes. For the former mode you can adjust the size (three variants from a tiny size to a quarter of the screen) and position (four variants in the four corners of the screen) of the additional window.

To achieve a 100nit brightness of white I selected the following settings: backlight brightness = 50, matrix brightness = 25, and contrast ratio = 69.

Color gradients look striped on this monitor, some stripes being quite conspicuous.

It’s all right at the default settings, i.e. in the Movie mode. The curves have a neat shape but deflect somewhat from the theoretical ones. But as soon as you reduce the matrix brightness you’ll see the following:

This diagram was constructed for a matrix brightness of 25 instead of the default 50. It’s not so well now: about a quarter of the dynamic range has been lost in the left part of the diagram. The monitor doesn’t differentiate between dark tones, displaying them all as pure black.

When the matrix brightness is increased, light tones vanish, merging into pure white. This is why I don’t recommend that you try to control the monitor’s brightness with the matrix. You should use the backlight brightness setting instead (it’s called Backlight in the menu).

The different levels of gray have similar color temperatures, but the offered modes are not exactly what most users need. Most of us prefer a color temperature of 6500K or, if possible, a little higher. This generally depends on the lighting in the room. But the MFM-HT205 just doesn’t offer preset modes within a range of 5800-8000K. In its 6500K and sRGB modes (the latter should also set the temperature at 6500K) the real color temperature proves to be below the nominal, less than 6000K. In the 9300K mode the temperature is higher than 8000K. As a result, the onscreen image will look either too warm or too cold, depending on the selected settings, and you can only reach the optimum temperature by manually adjusting the red, blue and green components.

The monitor uses the same matrix as is installed in the NEC 20WGX2, but my measurements yielded somewhat worse results: an average response time of 7.1 milliseconds with a maximum of 10.0 milliseconds. This is a good speed, anyway.

The RTC error is bigger than with the NEC monitor. It is 8.7% on average with a maximum of 66.5%. This error will show up as visual artifacts in certain cases, yet I hold an average error of less than 10% as acceptable and not preventing you from comfortably using the monitor. The MFM-HT205 meets this criterion.

The monitor’s contrast ratio is very low. It is just a little higher than 150:1 at best or by 50% worse than with the 20WGX2. If the matrix brightness is increased, the picture soon becomes whitish, making it impossible to use the monitor normally. So again, you should control the monitor’s brightness with the Backlight setting rather than with the Brightness option.

I can’t say the MFM-HT205 is a very good product. Having a very high price (about $1000 at the moment), it has a bunch of drawbacks, too. Its case would suit a TV-set better than a PC monitor because it is large, occupies a lot of space on the desk, but only allows to adjust the tilt of the screen, and in a very narrow range, too. The adjustment of brightness with the matrix is implemented poorly. The contrast ratio is low.

The MFM-HT205 is not bad, either. But you can spend two thirds of its price to buy a much more interesting model like the NEC 20WGX2 or the Samsung 215TW, taking only those monitors that are described in this review. The TV-tuner these models lack can’t cover the price difference between them and the MFM-HT205.

The new monitor from Sony seems to be more interesting as a TV-set that can occasionally be connected to a computer. But on this field it meets competition with LCD TV-sets that have a similar price, a small resolution, but a 26” screen. Like the Acer Ferrari F-20, the MFM-HT205 will probably find its customer, but I can’t call it a technically optimal solution anyway.

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