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Although the $250 Sony CPD-E240/B doesn't comes with a quick-start poster or a setup diagram, the monitor is easy to set up. Just take it out of the box, plug in the power cord, and attach the signal cable to the back of your PC (you may need an adapter to connect it to a Mac). The monitor itself is a standard size and weight for a 17-inch CRT, but it has a stylish black case and a streamlined, bullet-shaped rear. In the box, you'll find a brief but adequate user manual with four pages explaining how to navigate the onscreen-display (OSD) menu and what the OSD icons stand for, plus some basic specifications and troubleshooting tips.
The OSD is refreshingly easy to navigate. The single Menu button calls up the OSD and accepts adjustments, and a small joystick button lets you scroll through the menu and its six submenus while adjusting the settings. The menu itself displays as a list within a small, neatly designed rectangle on your screen. It includes most basic controls, such as Size, Centering, Geometry, Color, and Convergence; the only advanced feature in the OSD is the Control Lock, which protects user settings.
The Sony CPD-E240/B has a flat screen, which makes for less glare, better geometry, and a wider viewing angle. Because the monitor is aperture-grille based, however, some users may be distracted by the two visible damper wires that lie across the inside of the screen. The CPD-E240/B offers a maximum resolution of 1,280x1,024, but the maximum refresh rate at this setting is an extremely low 60Hz. At this setting, flicker is highly visible and can strain your eyes. Most users will prefer the recommended 1,024x768 resolution with a high 85Hz refresh rate.
At the recommended setting, the Sony CPD-E240/B delivered good image quality in CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based tests. The focus was a little off, but it was better than that of most CRTs in this price range. Pages of text looked clear and legible in both large and small fonts, whether serif or sans serif. Thanks to the flat screen, the display's geometry was very good; we saw only slight hooking in the top corners of the picture. The monitor produced a great range of grayscales that were rich and distinct, as well as true blacks and whites. Colors were warm, vibrant, and clearly separated. In Photoshop test pictures, skin tones looked smooth and realistic, and colors were bright but not garish. Web-page colors showed a nice range and delicate shading.
Support by Sony
Service and support for the CPD-E240/B is marked by a standard warranty and above-average phone support. Sony backs the display with a three-year parts and labor warranty. Toll-free tech support is available 24/7 for the life of the monitor.
These days, you can buy some 19-inch monitors for around the same price as the 17-inch Sony CPD-E240/B. But with those jumbo cheapos, you might just get what you paid for--in subpar image quality. The CPD-E240/B offers excellent color and an above-average viewing experience at a reasonable price.
|19-inch CRT image-quality test|
Longer bars indicate better performance
|The Sony CPD-E240/B's image quality ranges from average to excellent. Colors are well defined and true, and the monitor offers a wider range of grays, as well as pure blacks and whites. Text is legible at various sizes, but at times it is slightly less than crisp.|