The Sony SDM-S205FB is a superior 20-inch LCD made for high-end business users. We were impressed by the display's near-flawless performance, though for its $599 price (Sony originally released this monitor with a $699 price), we're disappointed at the lack of landscape/portrait pivoting abilities and the basic assortment of inputs. Though there's a lot to like about the Sony SDM-S205FB, the Dell UltraSharp 2007FP provides similar performance for about $50 less and adds a USB hub and a speaker option. For top-of-the-line performance, consider the LaCie 120, which costs about $100 more than the Sony.
Boxy black designs are typical of modern business displays but unlike the bulky Lenovo ThinkVision L201P, the Sony SDM-S205FB injects the basic-black look with class. With a thin, 0.5-inch bezel and nearly invisible buttons, there's little to distract from the viewable panel. The large, eminently stable, circular base runs 11 inches in diameter and sits upon a lazy Susan that gives you an impressive 350 degrees of rotation. The panel tilts 20 degrees back and 5 degrees forward and features a telescoping neck with 4.3 inches of vertical adjustability. Unlike most other high-end business monitors, including the LaCie 120 and the ThinkVision L201P, the SDM-S205FB's panel cannot pivot between portrait and landscape orientations--an especially disappointing omission, as the display is otherwise perfect for design and layout work.
Placed in the back of the monitor panel are DVI-D and D-Sub ports, and Sony includes cables for each. The SDM-S205FB includes a barrette clip to corral its cables, unlike the LaCie 120 and ThinkVision L201P, which lack any cable management. Still, we prefer the more elegant arrangement found on the HP LP2065, which actually hides the cords in the neck.
The SDM-S205FB's onscreen menu (OSM) is fairly easy to navigate despite the extremely small, poorly labeled control panel buttons. A helpful legend on the bottom of the OSM indicates each button's function in that menu. In addition to typical brightness and contrast settings, you can apply gamma correction and adjust the gain and bias in the color temperature settings, a useful feature for designers or anyone who needs to calibrate color settings. There's a dedicated button for toggling between the DVI and D-Sub inputs, which is useful if you work frequently with two computers; a button labeled Eco rotates through high, middle, low, and user-defined brightness settings.