Sony's 20.1-inch SDM-S204 has a super-thin bezel measuring around 130mm wide on the sides, 190mm along the top, and 260mm on the bottom. Seven round control buttons are tucked discreetly along the lower-right bezel. For such a large monitor, the SDM-S204 sits low -- the top of the screen is just 460mm from the desktop -- and it's considerably less adjustable than other large LCDs are. You cannot raise or lower the panel, nor can you rotate it to Portrait mode. However, the SDM-S204 swivels a generous 175 degrees on a lazy Susan underneath the base, and you can tilt the panel about 20 degrees backward and a few degrees forward. You can connect to a VESA-compatible wall or arm mount.
The SDM-S204 has the range of connectivity options you'd expect for such a pricey display. With two analogue signal inputs and one DVI-D input (Sony includes one of each type of cable), the monitor can accommodate a variety of graphics cards and support multiple PCs. Behind the SDM-S204's sliding back cover are three plastic cable-feed clips, and two more are concealed inside the neck. They neatly and discreetly gather the connection and power cords.
The SDM-S204 features Sony's ErgoBright technology, which adjusts the brightness level to ambient lighting conditions. We found this to be quite effective. There are also four preset brightness modes -- High, Middle, Low, and User Defined -- and the on-screen menu controls are easy to access and simple to operate. Still, in our bevy of DisplayMate test screens, the Sony SDM-S204 was merely an average performer. With a native resolution of 1,600x1,200 pixels, text looked clear but not ultra-sharp. We also detected a number of colour inaccuracies and the SDM-S204 had trouble making a smooth transition from the dark end of the greyscale to the light end. Despite its large screen, we don't recommend the SDM-S204 for serious DVD viewing and game playing.
The Sony SDM-S204 comes with a three-year limited warranty that covers all materials and workmanship against defects. Drivers, manuals, a knowledge base and access to tech-support email are all available on Sony's Web site.
Edited by Charles McLellan
Additional editing by Tom Espiner