Price: £899 plus VAT
The Multiscan X82 is the latest 18-inch LCD monitor from Sony, a company that has built a reputation for creating stylish LCD and CRT monitors of excellent quality – and the X82 is no exception. It features a sharp, bright picture, and includes a host of extras – including speakers. The only thing missing is a USB hub, which most monitors in this class include as an option, at least. This monitor has a natural resolution of 1,280-x-1,024 pixels – standard for an 18-inch model. It delivers an exceptionally bright image with excellent colour-definition, which is what you’d expect from a monitor with a brightness of 300cd/m2, and a contrast ratio of up to 350:1. It also has a wide viewing-angle of 170 degrees in both directions. There are times when a bright picture is unnecessary, so Sony has introduced the ECO mode. This drops the brightness to a level still usable by single users in most well-lit offices, and reduces the power consumption by 20 per cent – which should impress the environmentally concerned and members of large corporations, and hopefully lengthens the life of the monitor, too. Also useful is Intelligent Auto-Adjust. This tracks to the picture signal, while Advanced Digital Smoothing removes jaggies. On the downside, there’s the lack of connectivity options. Newer 18-inch models are following the growing trend for graphics cards to include digital (DVI) outputs, and featuring two DVI-I connectors (for attaching either digital or analog cables to each port). The X82 has one input that allows either DVI or VGA cables to be connected, and one VGA-only input. However, the X82 continues Sony’s admirable policy of including two audio inputs for the speakers. Aside from the fiddly controls, the Multiscan X82 is a great monitor that delivers a picture as good as it looks itself.