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Sony SDM-X95KB review: Sony SDM-X95KB

The Sony SDM-X95KB is a reasonably priced, good-looking display that's ideal for business or home users who regularly swap a monitor between two computers.

Kristina Blachere
3 min read
Sony SDM-X95K

The SDM-X95KB is a member of Sony's business line, but with impressive gaming and DVD performance, it would fit equally well in a home or home-office environment. Though the Philips Brilliance 109P6 offers near-identical specs and pivoting for just a bit less than the SDM-X95KB's $571.99 price, the Sony offers slightly better performance, and business users may appreciate its inputs, which let you share the display, a keyboard, and a mouse between two computers.


Sony SDM-X95KB

The Good

Streak-free DVD and game performance; reasonable price; easy to share between two computers.

The Bad

Poorly designed onscreen menu; no portrait/landscape pivot function; exhibits some flaws in grayscale test screens.

The Bottom Line

The Sony SDM-X95KB is a reasonably priced, good-looking 19-inch LCD that's ideal for business or home users who regularly swap a monitor between two computers.

The Sony SDM-X95KB's design is all about quiet dignity, from the narrow bezel to the large, round base. A tastefully understated swath of airholes provides the only evidence of the two 1-watt speakers embedded in the bottom bezel. The screen tilts back 20 degrees and forward 5 and moves so easily, you can adjust it with one finger. The neck, which has a telescoping design, also glides easily through its 4.3-inch height range. The lazy Susan incorporated into the base doesn't turn quite as smoothly, but it has an impressive 350-degree range of rotation. The only adjustment you won't find on the SDM-X95KB is a portrait/landscape pivot.

One digital DVI input and one analog VGA input reside on the back panel. Each has its own PC audio jack, so you can share the speakers in a two-computer setup. On the back, you'll also find two downstream and two upstream USB 2.0 ports. A removable plastic panel hides all the inputs. The display comes with VGA, USB, and DVI cables, and a cleverly designed clip on the back of the neck holds the cables out of sight.

Tiny, square adjustment buttons that run down the right bezel allow you to launch and navigate the onscreen menu, switch between inputs, and adjust the speaker volume. A key labeled Eco runs through three automatic brightness settings so that you can quickly adjust the screen to ambient lighting conditions. The labels on the keys are very difficult to read, and the onscreen menu navigation is difficult to master: the menu doesn't offer a Back option, and the icons aren't labeled.

The Sony SDM-X95KB's performance was quite good overall. DVD playback showed minimal noise and ghosting, and gaming performance was smooth, with a sharp-looking picture. CNET Labs' Display Mate-based tests revealed slight pinkish hues in the grayscale screens, however, as well as some dark and light ripples where there should have been a smooth progression from dark to light gray. The SDM-X95KB's screen uniformity was excellent; we saw some slight variation in the corners, but the top and bottom halves of the screen were about equally bright. Even at wide viewing angles, the image quality didn't change significantly when we tilted the display panel. The embedded stereo speakers played relatively loudly and sounded less tinny than other integrated speakers we've heard, but as you'd expect, they delivered little in the way of bass.

The display comes with an industry-standard three-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight. Sony offers 24/7 toll-free phone tech support as well as e-mail support, live chat, FAQs, manuals, and drivers via the Sony support Web site.

CNET Labs DisplayMate tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Brightness in cd/m2


Sony SDM-X95KB

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7Support 8Setup 5