Sony SDM-P234 review

Price when reviewed

We didn’t want to wheel out the usual cliches about Sony hardware being beautiful and well designed but, once again, we can’t help it with the SDM-P234. From the sliding cover on the back panel to the firm but hollow cable-hiding stand, it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into designing this monitor.

Sony SDM-P234 review

It’s the only TFT this month with a hardware power switch – on the top – so if you don’t like to leave your peripherals in standby you won’t need to crawl under the desk to turn it off. It uses the same touch-sensitive control buttons as the Eizo, with a slight difference: they only light up when you need to use them, staying inconspicuous at all other times so as not to spoil the aesthetics.

The OSD is a little sparse but simple to use, and includes three colour temperatures plus the usual sRGB and custom modes. It also allows you to switch off the stylish – but ultimately irritating – illuminated Sony logo beneath the screen. There’s an innovative Eco mode that detects the ambient lighting and adjusts accordingly, although in practice it tends to err on the side of being too dark.

The same goes for sRGB, with the brightness not coming anywhere close to Dell or Eizo. But the image quality from the 1,920 x 1,200 panel is very good all the same, with our judges enjoying the DVD performance. Our only gripes were that it wasn’t as sharp as the Dell or as vivid as the Eizo, and some dark areas lacked the necessary detail in comparison.

It also had a slight green cast throughout – something that was also apparent in the indoor levels of Far Cry. Naturally, it was less evident in the gorgeous green jungles of outdoor areas, and we were pleased to note that blurring wasn’t an issue at all.

As evidenced by several of the technical tests, image editing isn’t a great strength of the SDM-P234, with the dimness of the screen making it difficult to see detail in the dark greys. As Sony aims the SDM-P234 squarely at video-editing professionals, this is a disappointment, but for programmers and anyone who simply needs a high resolution, there isn’t much to complain about.

Apart from the price, that is. At £827, the 23in Sony isn’t much cheaper than the all-conquering 24in Eizo. But the bargain Dell 2405FPW beats both of them hands-down for value. For £605, we can’t find a reason not to opt for the Dell, leaving the Sony trailing behind this month.

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