Sony SDM-E76D review

18 Aug 2006

An unusual design, plus great image quality at a bargain price

Price when reviewed 
115
4

Just when you thought all 17in TFTs were identical, along comes Sony with something unique. The SDM-E76D does away with the usual stand, blending the whole body into one piece with a sliding support on the rear.

It's surprisingly flexible, allowing easy tilt adjustment, but it has the disadvantage of a fixed height. Interfaces are positioned in the usual place at the rear, and the stand has a hole in the middle to keep the cabling tidy. The other design quirk is the hole in the front; it looks like a carry handle at first, although a warning leaflet advises you not to use it as one.

The hole's purpose is to hide the OSD buttons, which makes them a little awkward to use, but the list-style menus are simple to navigate. The flat expanse of the front panel is intended to hold sticky notes - there are no integrated speakers and the rest of the styling is minimalist to say the least.

Image quality is almost as good as we were expecting, but setup is tricky. In addition to the brightness and contrast controls, there's a backlight adjustment. With the backlight too high, light bleeds through at the edges of the screen; reduce it too much and you lose detail.

Once you have the right combination, the Sony was the best for showing detail in dark areas of our DVD and photo tests. Plus, the quick response time meant no smearing in fast-moving scenes. Overall, the Sony produces the best image quality of the three budget models.

It may cost only £115, but it comes with a DVI cable. Factor in the three-year on-site warranty, and the SDM-E76D is a decent alternative to the Philips.