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SONY 400PST

 

STANDFIRST

Sony make some of the world’s finest TVs, and they know a thing or two about PC and video monitors, so the new 19-inch 400PST is off to a promising start...

 

COPY

By now you shouldn’t need reminding that desktop video applications require, nay demand, the use of a good sized monitor. That means one larger than the 14 and 15-inch models supplied with most PC systems. There’s plenty of 17-inch models on the market, but the next regular size up is 21-inches, which is quite a jump. There would seem to be room for something in between; Sony seem to think so, they’ve just launched the 19-inch 400PST. It’s one of three new multiscan monitors introduced by the company in the past couple of months. The others (200PST and 500PST) share a similar set of specifications but have 17 and 21-inch screen respectively.

 

The 400PST has a suggest selling price of around £820 (inc VAT) and was designed from the outset for CAD/CAM and graphics applications and to work in harmony with Windows 95 plug-and-play, and comply with DPMS power saving features. It has a Trinition tube with an aperture grille pitch of 0.25mm, advanced digital scan circuitry supports all commonly used resolutions and refresh rates. Sony are obviously very proud of the monitor’s environmental credentials and power saving features. They’re set out on a impressive-looking table in the manual, indeed, in so-called ‘third-mode suspend’ it consumes a miserly 5 watts, but they spoil it by boasting a consumption figure of zero watts in ‘power off mode’. Congratulations Sony, a monitor that consumes no power when switched off...

 

The 400PST has 27 preset display modes, from the ancient MCGA standard used on early PS/2 machines, (640 x 350 at 70Hz), to all industry-standard Vesa modes, up to and including 1600 x 1200 at 85 Hz. The monitor automatically selects the most appropriate refresh rate, and can store up to 15 custom settings. It has two switchable inputs, using a standard 15-pin connector and 5 BNC sockets. Front panel controls comprise the on/off switch and eight small buttons. The main point of interest is the ASC (auto size and centring) button, which automatically configures the display according to the input signal. The brightness and contrast up/down buttons double up as selector buttons for the unusually comprehensive menu-controlled, multi-lingual on-screen display. This covers just about every display parameter, including size, position and zoom, geometry, convergence, colour temperature, moiré cancel and selective degauss. If you have a fiddle and get too far out of bonk there’s always the front-panel reset button, that returns all the settings to the factory defaults.

 

PERFORMANCE

After a 30 minute warm-up we treated the 400PST to our standard test routine, using a mixture of monitor test software (CheckScreen and Ntest), plus selected video and games sequences. We’re pleased to report it came through the resolution, focus, convergence, colour purity, geometry and power supply stability with flying colours. However, like all Trinitron tubes the shadow of two damping wires are visible across the upper and lower thirds of the screen. They’re most noticeable against bright and plain coloured backgrounds, but virtually disappear on moving video and fast graphics.  

 

SUMMARY

It’s a bit pricey -- bog standard 17 inch monitors can be found for half as much -- but performance is excellent, it is unusually flexible and after living with it for a while, we found 19-inches to be a very convenient and comfortable size for desktop video.

 

How Much?                   £820  (inc. VAT)

Tube size                      19-inch Trinitron

Visible display area      365 x 275mm

Dot Pitch                       0.25mm

Max Resolution            1600 x 1200 pixels

Max refresh rate            auto scan to 160Hz

Dimensions                   444 x 467 x 453mm

Weight              25kg

 

CV RATINGS

Features                       8

Performance                  8

Ease of use                   8

Value for money            8

Overall Rating  85%

 

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Ó R. Maybury 1998 0101

 


 

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