Price: £1,446 plus VAT
This is the best monitor I’ve ever used. Period. Sony is pitching the 21-inch GDM-C520K (part of the Colour Reference System (CRS) system) display directly at the high-level creative market that’s currently dominated by LaCie. And if this monitor is anything to go by, Sony is more than snapping at LaCie’s heels – it’s already scoffed half the trouser-leg. The price isn’t as cold-sweat-inducing as you might think, however, considering that the package includes an excellent GretagMacbeth-powered colorimeter for calibration. And therein lies the power of the system. Before the display was even set-up with the calibrator, we noticed exceptional clarity and sharpness – partly due to the GDM-C520K’s dead-flat Trinitron screen. It’s perfect for working in intricate, accuracy-critical environments: creating paths at high-zoom in Adobe Photoshop was remarkably easy on the eye. The on-screen display is easy to understand and use, and it’s easy to switch between the monitor’s two inputs and three display modes (professional, standard, and dynamic) for DTP, video, and presentation purposes. But the CRS system really stands out from the crowd once the calibrator is brought into the mix. Once installed, it’s a simple case of connecting the colorimeter to your computer, launching the software, and pressing ‘go’. The process takes a good 15 minutes to complete – longer than LaCie’s BlueEye Vision system reviewed last month – but yields much better results. We may have been impressed by the LaCie monitor and calibrator, but the results gained by Sony’s system simply blew us away. After the calibration run, the display became rich and deep in colours and contrast – hairlines were still easy to see, even at the monitor’s top resolution of 2,048-x-1,536 pixels. You really can’t go wrong with the Sony CRS system. If you’re serious about colour-reproduction, you’ll be more than willing to spend the £1,446 on the bundle. And you won’t be disappointed.