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Sony HS Series Flat Panel review: Sony HS Series Flat Panel

Though we have mixed opinions on the glossy effect of the screen, we can't deny that this is a high-performing panel. With a strong overall performance on CNET's DisplayMate-based tests, it's one of the best-scoring 17-inch LCDs we have reviewed--with only the SyncMaster 173P performing better. Text was sharp overall, but we had some difficulty reading white letters on a black background because of glare from overhead lights in the room. The glare also provided a slight problem in our grayscale tests, in which we try to distinguish very subtle shading differences such as near-black shades on a black background or near-white shades on a white background. An ill-placed reflection sometimes blotted out these subtleties and required us to move the screen around to get a clear view. Despite the glare, we saw relatively good results.

Color performance was above average. The Sony SDM-HS75P/S mixed its three primary colors very well and showed only the slightest touches of blue or green throughout a grayscale. The monitor compressed color in saturated hues; however, these color issues are common among most LCDs and are relatively minor. The color glitches were among several flaws that take the SDM-HS75P/S out of the running as a monitor for refined graphics tasks. The screen's brightness wasn't uniform; the bottom portion appeared a bit lighter than the top.

In addition to brightness and contrast adjustment, the Sony SDM-HS75P/S provides control of the backlight itself--a feature that should please video geeks. Despite its name, the traditional brightness control on most monitors doesn't change the overall screen brightness but rather the depth of dark shades. Likewise, contrast affects the level of bright shades. By adding a backlight control, Sony allows users to raise or lower the screen's true brightness level--at both the dark and light ends of the scale--with one adjustment. You can also tweak midtones (the rate at which brightness ramps up from black to white) by choosing one of three gamma settings. And you can determine the overall tint of all colors by choosing from several color-temperature settings or by adjusting the individual red, green, and blue primary color levels.

Sony backs the SDM-HS75P/S with a three-year parts-and-labor warranty, but you'll have to pick up the bill for shipping it to a service center. For lesser problems, you can call Sony's 24/7, toll-free technical-support line, and online support is available via e-mail, live chat, or a Web knowledge base.

CNET Labs DisplayMate tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Brightness in cd/m²
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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