Sony Multiscan SDM-HS73
Here’s the typical design of all monitors belonging to the new HS series: an elegant base, rounded support, dark-gray shiny framing. As I have already said about Sony HS-93 in our roundup called Closer Look at 19” Monitors Features: Pixel Response Time and More!, its design is beautiful, but not very functional. The plastic reflects what’s going on behind your back, distracting you from what’s going on in the screen. The base allows changing the screen tilt.
Multiscan SDM-HS73 features an analog input only. Although the price of the monitor is high enough, the manufacturer doesn’t think it necessary to equip the product with a digital interface.
The menu interface is traditional for a Sony monitor. Like other models from the company, this one allows controlling the brightness of the matrix and of the backlight lamp independently. The color temperature settings include: 9300K (corresponds to 6780K for white and 8880K for gray), 6500K (5710K white, 7180K gray), and user-defined setting (by default, it is the same as “6500K”). Another tradition of Sony monitors is the default setting of the color temperature equal to 9300K.
The viewing angles are average; they are no match to the above-discussed Samsung solution. There appears a dark stripe when you look at the screen from above. When viewed from below, the upper part of the screen becomes dark. If viewed sideways, at an angle of 45 degrees, the onscreen image becomes yellowish. I should acknowledge that Multiscan SDM-HS73 has better vertical viewing angles than fast 16msec matrixes, but it is anyway far from the ideal.
The backlight brightness control originally stood at 100%, contrast – at 70%, brightness – at 50%. There are three presets to quickly change the screen brightness (like the LightView feature in monitors from LG): High, Middle, Low. You switch between the modes using the ECO button. User-defined settings of brightness, backlight brightness and contrast ratio are blocked when you work with these presets and you cannot change the presets themselves. The High mode is a full copy of the default monitor settings, the Middle mode means a brightness of 120nit (that’s nice for processing text with a good ambient lighting), the Low mode is 73nit (this is good for working with the same text in a dimly lit room when too bright screen would be dazzling).
I got the screen shine with a brightness of 100nit by dragging down the backlight brightness control to 65%. By the way, this is the most efficient way for reducing the screen brightness of this monitor. It doesn’t produce a negative impact on the response time, as controlling the brightness with the matrix does, and it also reduces the level of black proportionally.
The color curves look good enough, only the level of blue is somewhat high.
The manufacturer’s website claims the response time of 16msec, while the documentation included with the monitor claimed it to be 20msec. In fact, the full response time with the maximum settings was 32msec, and 30msec with slightly reduced settings. Note also that it takes the same time to turn the pixel on and off at high brightness and contrast, but with reduced settings we have the pixel rise time much higher than the pixel fall time. The pixel response time changed very little on black-gray transitions (from 18msec to 25msec), which is even better than with “true” 16msec matrixes.
The contrast ratio is below the specs (500:1), notching only 200:1 at 100nit screen brightness. When the screen brightness grew up (again, I controlled it using the backlight), the level of black grew, too, so that the contrast ratio went down to 150:1. Anyway, SDM-HS73 has a better level of black than most of monitors on fast matrixes.
I can’t say this Sony monitor surprised me in any way. It is a solid mainstream product, differing from the competitor offers by its nice design. The well-chosen matrix provides nice speed, acceptable viewing angles, and a good level of black. The color reproduction is well set up, but I think the model with such a price might have a DVI interface.