Crossing over: LM729 and SDMX53 LCD monitors

If you’ve dabbled with PCs over the last two decades you will be very familiar with the AOC brand name in monitors. It has traditionally championed the budget end of the CRT monitor market with low-priced products. Sony is another veteran of the monitor market and its tradition has been to provide cutting-edge monitor technology (think Trinitron), usually at a price — although this premium price has generally been worth it.

Both these companies have new LCD monitors available that represent a crossover point in pricing and technology, that is, where the top end of the 15in LCD market meets the bottom end of the 17in market.

AOC LM729

The 17in LM729 LCD monitor is a user-friendly monitor with wide horizontal and vertical viewable angles of 140º. The native resolution of 1280x1024 is presented via a 0.264mm pixel pitch projected at 260cd/m2 of brightness with a contrast ratio of 450:1. A multilingual OSD and the control buttons on the right-hand side of the bezel give comprehensive automatic and manual control over the picture quality and volume level of the 2W stereo speakers.

Portrait or landscape modes make this monitor an appealing proposition for anyone involved in laying out pages, graphic arts or CAD due to the telescopic base of the monitor, which raises the panel high enough for it to tilt clockwise from a landscape to a portrait position. This is then used in conjunction with the supplied software to change the aspect of the screen image.

DisplayMate tests showed no significant problems with screen or colour regulation while also confirming distinctive colour and greyscale gradation. Overall picture quality was good during benchmarking and game play. Sound quality was acceptable out of the 2W speakers but can easily be drowned out by ambient noise.

The OSD and the inclusion of a dedicated Auto button for getting your screen adjustments right make this model very user-friendly. Although it lacks a DVI connection, the LM729 represents good value for money and has a three-year on-site warranty.

Sony SDMX53

Turning to the high end of the 15in market, we find Sony’s latest: the SDMX53. We reviewed the SDMX53B model (the B stands for Black), a multimedia monitor capable of video and audio input from multiple sources with a maximum screen resolution of 1024x768 at 75Hz.

The 15in LCD panel provides 300cd/m2 of brightness combined with a 400:1 contrast ratio, resulting in an easily viewable image throughout the 160º horizontal and 140º vertical viewing angles.

The panel is enclosed by a thin casing with a set of stereo speakers mounted at the base. Seven control panel buttons for OSD, volume, input and power, plus a dedicated mains power switch, run down the right hand side. The rear of the screen has a removable panel which reveals connectors for both DVI and analog monitor cables as well as audio-in and power jacks.

The panel and casing (which are removable for wall mounting) are attached to a telescopic arm mounted on a swivelling base. The telescopic arm allows variable viewing height and the monitor can tilt on the arm. Overall picture quality could not be faulted during DisplayMate tests, gameplay or other benchmarking. The monitor has a three-year warranty with zero dead pixel policy.

In brief: AOC LM729 17in LCD Monitor
This LCD screen provides portrait/landscape capabilities while dispensing with the radiation, space and power issues associated with CRTs.
Price: $899
Vendor: AOC Monitor
Phone: (02) 9570 2081
URL: www.aocmonitor-anz.com

Sony SDMX53 15in LCD monitor
Ideal for business and home users requiring a lightweight wall- or desk-mountable multimedia LCD screen with great versatility and picture quality.
Price: $849
Vendor: Sony
Phone: 1300 137 669
URL: www.sony.com.au

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Spiro Hionis

PC World
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