The monitor’s menu should be familiar to you if you’ve ever dealt with Sony’s earlier monitors. It is typical of the firm. I wouldn’t say it is exceptionally user-friendly, yet it provokes no problems at work. Everything is quite logical in there. But still, it might be better.
The monitor has three presets that you can switch through with the ECO button: High, Middle and Low. It’s convenient that all the three modes can be defined by the user and are independent of each other. To my mind, this is better than, for example, in Samsung’s monitors where the MagicBright feature allows the user to define only one mode while the others cannot be changed.
By default, the High mode gives you 100% backlight brightness, 50% matrix brightness and 90% contrast. The Middle mode gives you 50% backlight brightness, 50% matrix brightness and 70% contrast. The backlight brightness is reduced to 15% in the Low mode. The backlight brightness is controlled by means of pulse-width modulation at a frequency of about 200Hz.
Color gradients are reproduced well at 90% contrast, but become striped at lower contrast values (especially below 50%). This effect isn’t too conspicuous, though, at everyday work, yet it is present here.
I measured the response time of the matrix at 50% matrix brightness; the backlight brightness and contrast were set at 100%.
The gamma curves look very well. They are very close to the theoretical ones, and the monitor carefully reproduces the entire color range. This doesn’t change at reduced contrast values, but when you reduce the matrix brightness (the Brightness option in the monitor’s menu), the monitor stops to distinguish between dark tones.
The monitor’s color temperature is set up well. It is a little above the nominal value in the warm modes (ideally, it should be 6500K), but coincides with it quite precisely in the cold mode. The difference between the temperatures of different levels of gray is small.
The monitor uses an ordinary S-IPS matrix without RTC. The full response time on a black-white-black transition is 20.5 milliseconds. The matrix isn’t very fast on average, especially as today’s matrixes go, but will satisfy a user who’s not very fastidious about that parameter. It suits quite well for watching movies and will suit for most games, too.
The contrast ratio is about 250:1 which is quite acceptable for an S-IPS matrix and much better than that of the MFM-HT205. I performed the measurements not by our standard methodology (at a 100nit brightness of white, at the factory settings, and at the max settings) but for the three Eco modes at their defaults. Measuring at the max brightness/contrast makes no sense with Sony monitors, as we’ve seen with the MFM-HT205, because the monitor just cannot be used at such settings.
On one hand, the SDM-S205K left me with nice impressions. It is free from serious defects. It suits well for a work place and is quite acceptable as a home monitor. Moreover, the SDM-S205K will be appreciated by people who work with two system cases at once because it allows doing that without a KVM switch. The only thing that may worry you is the traditionally high price, like that of any Sony monitor. If the price is not a problem, the SDM-S205K will be a good choice.