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Sony SDM-HX73

Let me introduce to you the top model from the 17” LCD monitor series manufactured by Sony. It is beautiful, but large. The screen is rather high, and the framing might have been narrower. The base allows changing the screen tilt and rotating it along the vertical axis.

There are three video inputs available: two analog and one digital, you switch between them using a single button. Regrettably, there is a small hitch in the monitor firmware. When you switch between the inputs, the color temperature settings get reset to the default 9300K.

Every video input is paired with an audio input, so you switch the audio source along with the video source. I don’t think this approach is useful in all situations. It’s often the computer alone that serves as the audio signal source, so it could be better to offer the user the choice: whether the audio inputs should be switched together with the video ones, or independently.

The technology of adding the third dimension to the stereo sound, SRS WOW, is emphasized in the user manual, on the box and the monitor itself. The speakers are quite ordinary, 1” tweeters, and they can’t possibly reproduce any sound with an acceptable quality and volume, so I doubt the efficiency of SRS WOW. If you prefer headphones, there is an appropriate connector on the left panel of the monitor.

The monitor comes with all the necessary cables (power, D-Sub, DVI, and audio) and with three CDs: a disc from Sony with the driver and user manual (you don’t receive a hard copy), a disc with the video-editing program called Pinnacle Studio 8 SE, and a disc with Pinnacle Instant CD/DVD 7 SE for burning CD and DVD discs (I am really at a loss thinking of a reason for Sony to include the second program with a monitor!).

The menu is the same as you see in every Sony monitor, but now it is not divided into two submenus – they expanded the structure of each item instead. You can quickly access the volume setting and switch between the inputs and between the brightness presets. Thanks to the presets you don’t need access to brightness and contrast controls.

So, SDM-HX73 offers four presets (Game, Movie, PC and Auto), for each of which you can set up the backlight brightness, matrix brightness and contrast, gamma correction, color temperature and even the sound parameters. The remarkable thing about the Auto mode is the brightness of the backlight lamp, which is set up automatically. By default, the Game preset corresponds to the maximum screen brightness, the Movie mode – to a slightly darker screen, while PC and Auto presets are close to each other and correspond to the minimum brightness, for working with text. Once again, you can change each preset manually, which makes the user’s life much easier.

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