Sony SDM-N50

Sony slimmed down the coal-black panel by putting most of its circuitry into an 18mm-square block that connects to the back of the panel via a 2.1m cable. You can use the box as a base for the screen or tuck it away beneath your desk. The arm connecting the panel to its circular pedestal is extremely flexible, so you can easily tilt the panel and adjust its height. The panel and pedestal weigh about 2.7kg, light enough to move the unit around a desktop or table during small-group presentations.

Crescent-shaped speakers built into the pedestal pump out above-average sound.

One unusual touch is a built-in sensor that detects ambient light levels and automatically adjusts the screen's brightness - this is convenient if you work in changing natural light (near a window, perhaps), but irrelevant in offices where light levels remain constant. Another sensor is intended to automatically turn off the LCD's backlight if you haven't been in front of the panel for over 20 seconds. This feature should help extend the life of the unit, but it did not always work in my tests (a spokesperson from Sony says the company is still tweaking the feature).

At its native 1024x768 resolution, my pre-production unit rendered image quality comparable to that of other 15in panels (although colours didn't seem as bright on the Sony as on some competing models). You can easily find good 15in LCDs going for $2200 to $2500, so check out this one only if you're willing to pay the hefty price of high style.

Sony SDM-N50

Price: $3079

Phone: 1800 226 429

URL: www.sony.com.au