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Sony Multiscan SDM-S81R

Although the name of this model differs from the previous one by one letter only, it has a new matrix with much better characteristics. Otherwise, this display is similar to SDM-S81 – both in the exterior, the menu controls and the functions.

The default values are 50% brightness and 70% contrast. The color temperature is 9300K. I should note that the color temperatures are set up with high precision in this model; the deviation doesn’t exceed 500K. This makes the default setting of 9300K even more strange. With such temperature, the onscreen image has a characteristic bluish tint, which may not suit many users who are accustomed to work at about 6500K. When set to 6500K in the menu, the temperature was in fact 6030K on white and 6040K on gray.

To get a screen brightness of 100nit, I set 30% brightness and 36% contrast. Just like with the previous display, we have an option of setting the brightness of the backlight lamp (the lamp is modulated with a frequency of 180Hz, which is rather low), but it doesn’t affect the level of black too much.

Color curves look well-shaped; only the green color is somewhat higher than necessary.

The situation doesn’t get any worse when the screen brightness is reduced:

Things were more complicated with the response time. At the maximum screen brightness, it was higher than both: the specified value and the showings of the previous model. However, the response time improved readily when the brightness and contrast settings were down. Thus, it was 39ms at 100nit screen brightness, which is a little better than SDM-S81 showed.

Pixel rise time

Pixel fall time

It was better with the contrast ratio. When I increased the brightness above the default, the level of black went up, but not as dramatically as by SDM-S81. At the default brightness, the contrast ratio didn’t meet the specs (400:1), but anyway equaled 250:1, which is quite acceptable.

This model seems to be the “result of troubleshooting” on the SDM-S81 model. All the characteristics have been notably improved, and the display is quite competitive, although it costs more than the LG model, similar in characteristics. On the other hand, this display is no record-breaker. For those who are sensitive to the modulation of the backlight lamp, I’d advise to be careful. The frequency is rather low in this model, but it is the backlight lamp brightness that suits better for adjusting the screen brightness as it also reduces the response time. The lack of a digital input is yet another shortcoming of this display.

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