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What is the difference between the Sony G400, G420

Last response: in Computer Peripherals
March 6, 2003 12:01:59 PM

What is the difference between the Sony G400, Sony G410R and the Sony G420S monitors?

Are these monitors all the same other than just different cases and features?
Is the tube the exact same in all of these?
I own a G400 and I am shopping for another monitor
for my other new computer and I want something as good as
the G400 when it comes to color depth, actually I really want
another G400 but you cant buy those anymore so is the G420s= to the G400?

Today I bought a Sony HMD-A440 and brought it home and set it up next to
my G400 and the G400 is better in terms of color. The color depth is just better
on the G400. Why? isn't the G400 and the A440 the same Monitor?
Well I can take the A440 back and get the G420S but only if the G420s=G400.

You know, the Sony G400 is an AMAZING monitor.
I cant find anything that is as good as the G400 and
I have been through about 5 monitors now.
Someone tell me, is the G420 as good as the G400??

I dont want to be rude but please dont recommend Samsung, Nec, Viewsonic,
KDS, etc. etc. I need another G400 picture quality. Will I find it in the G420S????
March 6, 2003 12:56:51 PM

My first question would be, if you are so happy with your current monitor why are you looking to replace it?

If you are adding a new system, it makes sense, but if you just want a new monitor I'd question the need to spend money when you are so happy with what you've got.

Now the bad news... Sony monitors have gone downhill quite a bit in the past couple of years and I no longer recommend them. They once had excellent products, then they got onto this silly Trinitron picture tube with the two perminent lines across the display and, well, to make a long story short they blew it, got stuck with half a million picture tubes nobody likes and have been trying to peddle them off ever since. I know you don't want recommendations for other manufacturers but it's unlikely you will find equivalency in Sony's current line.

The very best I can advise is that you find a dealer with displays you can preview before buying. Use test patterns if you have them and try to pick one that doesn't dissapoint you...

<b>(</b>It ain't better if it don't work.<b>)</b>
March 6, 2003 1:10:13 PM

No im looking for a monitor for my other new computer.
I am not looking to replace the G400. I need a new monitor for my other computer.

You said that sony went downhill since the trinitrons.
The Sony G400 is a Trinitron and it is by far the best monitor I have ever seen. It has the best colors and the text of an LCD.
You see I dont want to settle for a piece of junk monitor for my other computer so I want something equal to the G400.
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March 6, 2003 1:26:44 PM

I understand that... but you can do better than Trinitron or Diamondtron based monitors.

It's up to you... the sony monitor page does not even return your old model number on a search. The nearest is the one you already didn't like.

I've seen NEC and sony side by side, I'll take the NEC any day.

But of a sticky wicket that...

<b>(</b>It ain't better if it don't work.<b>)</b>
March 6, 2003 2:15:40 PM

Which nec model is better than the sony?

ill run down to the pc store and look at it right now.
Which Nec???
March 6, 2003 3:57:06 PM

Just about all of them...

Look at the FE series. The ones without the Diamondtron tube in them are really very good.

<b>(</b>It ain't better if it don't work.<b>)</b>
March 6, 2003 4:34:51 PM

Just an afterthought to add here...

It occurred to me that you might well be getting tripped up the state of adjustment of the two monitors you had side by side... Differences in brightness, contrast, colour balance etc, rather than actual monitor capabilities... If so it could be the one you had was perfectly suitable, but not set up very well...

Heaven knows I've made that mistake more than once.

(Still don't like Sony monitors much, though)

<b>(</b>It ain't better if it don't work.<b>)</b>
March 6, 2003 9:03:09 PM

The statement "then they got into this silly trinitron picture tube......and got stuck with half a million picture tubes..." is one of the most ill-informed stupid statements I have ever read.

Sony invented the Trintron tube in the 1960's and ALL Sony screens since then have adopted it. That is ALL Sony computer monitors EVER produced have trinitron tubes, with 'two silly lines'.

That said I find that 'silly lines' or not trinitron (or diamondtron) based monitors are the best. I am currently using my fourth Sony screen.

As for the orginal question I believe the G420 is simply an updated G400. The reason the A440 is not up to the same standard is that it is based on the cheaper 'E' series range.

Hope that helps.
March 6, 2003 9:42:04 PM

Ummm... do you service monitors?

I ask this because, as a technician (say my user name out loud), who spends about a third of my billable hours working inside monitors, I've had a pretty good insight into which are problems and which aren't...

In my customer base (some 200 systems in 120+ locations), I've noticed some very intersting things... The monitors that give people the most trouble are almost always made by companies that have been dominantly known for home electronics... i.e. Phillips, Sony, Hitachi, etc. The ones I never hear from are based on "ground up" technologies like NEC, KDS, Viewsonic, Scepter, etc.

The quality of Sony monitors has declined over the years. Our friend discovered this for himself when he put two side-by-each and saw it for himself...

Finally... Let me say that I am very glad you've had such good experience with your monitors. A happy customer is what this is all about.

<b>(</b>It ain't better if it don't work.<b>)</b>
March 9, 2003 8:27:34 PM


A thousand apologies......I must have got the wrong end of the stick regarding your comments on the apparture grille support wires.

Other than these support wire's do you have any specific critisms of trinitron/diamondtron monitors?

The reason i ask is that i may be in the market for a new 17" screen and was considering units from Iiyama, Sony and Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi units based on diamondtron screens have been getting good press in the UK for some time. At work i use a shadow mask NEC and i must say its far from impressive.
March 9, 2003 10:16:00 PM

No need to appologize. :smile:

My major objection is that it's bad engineering to cover up bad engineering. When they have to add something to a CRT (i.e. picture tube) that interfers with the visual presentation of information, you know they are trying to hide a bigger problem. The goal of any monitor is clear and precise display of information... that goal cannot be met if you have two black lines, no matter how fine, perminently drawn across the screen.

Here's the thing... the "brighter crisper" display claims that are selling these monitors are, for the most part, based on default settings of brightness and contrast. It's easy to cheat on that by simply cranking up the default settings to the point where, when turned on in the store, they have the brightest monitor in the row... people will gravitate to it, because it impresses them and that sells monitors. This however does not reflect how a monitor will look in actual use. (and, yes, NEC is just as guilty as the others...)

Try this, with the user menus...

Set the brightness (black level) so that you see a very slight haze on a black screen... now turn it down one click past the point where it just disappears. Now you are seeing true-black.

Set the Contrast to a comfortable level... somewhere around 55 - 60% and then turn it down one click, so that looking at the monitor no longer tempts you to squint or blink. It should not feel like you are staring into a light bulb.

What you will find with these "in use" settings, is that most monitors are actually very much alike. Any purported advantage of the trinitron and diamondtron system is nullified by the user settings and you are still stuck with those annoying lines across the display. So why bother?

As for your new purchase...

Consider buying a monitor with a black case. This is for two reasons... First, when you are in a well lit room your eyes adjust to the brightest object in your field of view, with a black monitor that's the display, not the case. Second, CRT focus deteriorates with brightness, a black case will allow you to turn the contrast down a bit further than usual, taking advantage of the slightly better focus.

Also, my best advice is that you flatly refuse to buy a monitor from one of those online "drop box" companies. Go to a reputable dealer and preview the monitors in-store. Use test patterns if you have them. Set the Brightness and contrast as described above, look for things like poor focus on small text, red, green or blue shadows under white text on black backgrounds, discomfort when viewing (why buy a monitor you have to squint at?) and visual annoyances like those stupid wires or overly bright power LEDs.

Finally, Be prepared to see differences in display quality, even between identical monitors. The actual adjustment of the CRT can vary quite noticeably from one monitor to the next, even with consecutive serial numbers. Don't make up your mind by saying "I'd like one of these" because after all your precaution, you will still end up buying sight unseen. Resolve your decision to "I want <i>this</i> monitor". (i.e. resolve it right down to the serial number).

Doing this, you might be surprised what you end up buying... I started out ready to spend $700cdn for a 17" CRT monitor, 3 years ago and ended up spending less than $400... because I found a jem in the muck!

Hope this helps...

---> <b>Press ALT-F4 for IQ test</b><---
March 10, 2003 4:21:07 AM

So am I understand that you don't have a problem with Trinitron/Diamondtron qualitiy in terms of image, but that the overall quality of Sony Trinitron, specifically, has gone downhill? Reason I ask: I have a Sony E400. I've always thought it looked pretty damned good. Of late, though, the corners of the picture have begun to distort, so I was thinking of upgrading to a Mitsubishi Diamondtron, or the NEC equivalent. After I read the THG review on flatescreens, I didn't even think about Sony. What have you seen in regards to Mitsubishi and NEC Diamontrons?

<-----Insert witty sig line here.
March 10, 2003 4:32:22 AM

Diamondtron tubes are essentially the same technology as Trinitron. Vertical bars of colour with a wire grill to shunt off stray electrons.

One thing you can try, if the corners of the screen are getting a bit wonkey is to repeatedly degauss your screen, if your monitor is equipped to do that. Aperture grill tubes tend to accumulate magnetic charges a bit more than the average picture tube. If that doesn't clear it up, it might be a high voltage problem, in which case it may well be cheaper to look into a new monitor than have that one fixed... but check the warranty first, it may still be covered.

For new monitors, I almost universally recommend my customers make the leap to LCD screens. The response times are getting better, which eliminates that swimming/smearing effect on moving images, and the prices are finally getting within reach of most people.

NEC, Daytek and Scepter LCD screens seem about the best buys in my area right now... and you don't have to look at those two stupid lines :tongue:

---> <b>Press ALT-F4 for IQ test</b><---
March 14, 2003 3:58:54 AM

LCD over CRT for picture quality? Really? I'd have to disagree, at least based upon my experience. I've seen NEC, Viewsonic, Compaq (whoever makes theirs), and a bunch of other LCD screens, and even though I have the option to use dual 18.1" LCDs at work, I don't. I use 2 19" CRT's just because the picture quality is so much better. Not to mention the much higher resolutions you can set CRT's to than LCDs.

Also, what was that diamond in the muck you found?
March 14, 2003 4:32:15 AM

My Diamond in the muck was a KDS VS-7I. On clearance for $129cdn, sitting there amongst the $600 monitors with a near-perfect display... I bought it knowing I was going to void the warranty on day one... went through it, checked everything, re-seated the yoke, tweaked the focus, redid the convergence and I've been happy with it ever since. The focus is razor sharp, the convergence is 99% perfect and the display is stable as a rock.

I do prefer LCD to CRT for image quality. The LCD/TFT screens have eliminated the common CRT bugaboos of focus, convergence and magnetic interference totally. There's no deflection yoke, no flyback and no magnetic field. It can't go out of adjustment.

The higher resolutions do cause a problem... but I never did like reading text smaller than an ant's ass to begin with. :smile:

--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
March 17, 2003 7:32:11 AM

Your idea of buying a specific monitor ("resolve it down to the serial number" in your words) is a good idea, but unfortunately impractical in reality. In order for a store to display a particular unit to you, they need to take it out of the box. If you don't buy it, they then have to sell it to someone else as "open box merchandise" or return it to the manufacturer, unless they are unscrupulous. I personally never buy "open box merchandise" unless it is discounted by at least 40%. Not many retailers will be willing to take this risk. As a matter of fact, I have never found any retailer who IS willing to take this risk, especially on a large expensive (19-21") monitor. After all, if you don't buy it, the value of their merchandise has just plummeted.
March 17, 2003 7:39:45 AM

How badly do you really want another Sony G-400? The reason why I ask is that I bought one, and kept it in storage (still unopened and factory sealed) while I moved. I opened it about 3 months ago, and I absolutely love it.

But I'm not emotionally attached to it (yet!), and I would be willing to replace it with a similarly sized LCD, or a perhaps a slightly larger CRT. Anyways, I just throw the offer out there on the table if you really have your heart set on another Sony G-400.
March 17, 2003 12:30:16 PM

No you don't have to make them open a bunch of boxes (although some stores will do that) all you have to do is study the display unit to determine if you like the general appearance and features of the monitor. This resolves your purchase to the make/model for you... now you are ready to buy... you just ask them to open the one you will be taking home and examine it very carefully for adjustment errors and other problems.

Think about it...

You buy the thing, take it home sight unseen and it's a piece of crap... so you take it back and exchange it...

Is significantly more hassle than..

You buy the thing, check it in the store, it's a piece of crap and you have them bring out another one.

Either way the monitor ends up being returned under warranty... the second one avoids all the hassle of having to get RMAs and shipping the thing to Backside East Tappay.

--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
March 18, 2003 9:56:13 AM

I agree with your idea 100%. Finding a store that would be willing to allow you to do it will be difficult in some areas, impossible in most.

There are three types of computer stores. The first type is the "mom and pop" shop. They probably won't have any high end 19" or larger monitors in stock. So they will have to custom order it for you, which can take a long time. They will then get a single unit. They probably won't let you open it without paying for it first. After you pay for it, if you open it in the store and it powers on and can display text, they will consider it a done deal. If you then get picky (which, I agree, you should!) and find that the focus isn't quite right, they will probably get real defensive. After some arguing you will finally get your money back, but they will probably refuse to order another one, and label you as a "problem" customer. In their minds, a monitor that displays an adequate image is good enough... they don't want to deal with perfectionists (and, again, I agree, when it comes to buying a monitor, you should be a bit of a perfectionist because you only get one set of eyes).

The next type of store is a true graphics boutique store (often specializing in macs). They will probably be able to handle your request, but it will take some time if the first monitor has any problems, because they will likely have to order another one from the manufacturer or distrubutor. They will also charge close to the full manufacturer's price, thus costing you perhaps 20-40% more than non-boutique stores. Also, a majority of towns do not have such stores nearby. There are probably no more than 100 such stores on the entire planet. And if you get two bad ones in a row (which is common), even they will probably tell you to take a hike.

The final type of store is your large computer superstores. These stores may have more than one in stock, but may not have the facilities or willingness to allow you to plug it in inside the store. You'll most likely have to pay for it first. Even then, they may not let you try it in their store. They will probably give you a big hard time if the monitor displays a reasonable image, but is not adequate for your needs. And again, if you get two bad ones in a row, they will probably tell you to take a hike.

So I agree completely that you *should* be allowed to view an image on the EXACT monitor you will be buying. But doing so is unfortunately extremely difficult.

The bottom line is that quality control on nearly all brands of CRT monitors absolutely stinks. Like you, I've seen identical models that are amazingly different in image quality. I have yet to find a brand that can consistently deliver quality monitors (have you found any?). From the brands I have personally seen (which is most), there can be excellent units and poor units within the same model line, which can be very frustrating. And, as you mentioned, the odds of getting a bad one is not 1 out of 1000, it's much, much higher than that.

I'm hoping that the switch to LCD's will eliminate much of this problem. From the little I know about LCD's, it seems that focus and convergence are no longer issues (is this correct)? Have you found that LCD's largely eliminate the difficultly of receiving a quality monitor from a reputable brand? Or do they suffer from the same quality control problems that plague CRT monitors?
March 18, 2003 1:00:45 PM

I've found most of the stores in this area are very cooperative when it comes to testing a product in-store. We have several outlet type stores around here who generally have 3 or 4 of a given model in stock. As I said you would have to resolve your purchase to the make/model from display units but most have no problem opening one for you to check before taking it home. About 1 in 5 are rejected by my little gang of educated consumers, resulting in an "in-store warranty exchange". Perhaps this is something geographically unique or it might be they are used to dealing with my customers. :smile:

I no longer sell CRT monitors. I'm currently trying to get us all switched over to LCD/TFT screens. By the end of next year, I hope not to have any CRT's left on service agreements. I'm also hoping to see a lot fewer of my customers needing glasses. A bad monitor can screw up your eyesight, get away from it and your eyes will recover somewhat.

As you said, LCDs have the advantage of getting rid of the 5 most troublesome CRT problems: Focus, Convergence, Linearity, Magnets and Flybacks. Each pixel is displayed by a triad of liquid crystals that is of fixed location, size and shape... it can't go out of focus, the convergence is always perfect, linearity is so good you can use a ruler on the screen, magnets don't send it off into la la land and there's no high voltage to give up or fade away... It's just plain superior technology.

The only real drawback to LCDs is their somewhat slowish response time. Turning a given dot on and back off takes more time than on a CRT which can result in a smearing effect on fast moving images. But from what I see in the spec sheets, this "response time" is being improved day by day, it's already not an issue for office type applications and soon enough won't be an issue at all.

Most people don't realize that CRT technology is over a century old. All this time and they still haven't licked the problems...

--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
March 18, 2003 4:13:18 PM

I was going to say the same thing. I can only imagine the reaction I would get at Best Buy, Circuit City, or CompUSA if I asked them to hook up a monitor before buying it. CompUSA might accomodate the request, but I'm not even sure about that. "That's what the display is for," they would opine. And smaller stores like Datel or Aztech (local mom-and-pops) are just like you say--they may have the monitor to look at on display, but if they have it in stock you're fortunate, otherwise it's special order and they won't be happy with you if you don't like the convergance on a special-order monitor. I don't know about you guys, but I've worked in retail before, and I know what a pain-in-the-rear some customers can be.

What I do is I try to frequent the same mom-and-pops store regularly. After you have spent a large portion of your expendable income with them, they usually will bend over backwards to make you happy. At least, that's been my experience. Hey, I got to pretest my last RAM module before I left the store to see if it would work at CL2, and now the salesguy gives me free software all the time when I go in. So it can be done, but I definitely wouldn't want to fight with the retail guys trying to be picky.

You know, I have noticed the discrepancies in monitor quality to which you're referring. Like I told Teq, I have a Sony E400. (By the way, Teq, I degaussed my monitor about ten times, and sure enough, the corners are no longer distorted! Thanks!)

Anyway, I think I got lucky with this monitor. The image and clarity is awesome, the colors are bright but not harsh, and the text is clear. The grey lines don't bother me in the slightest. That's also fortunate, since I didn't notice them until after I bought the monitor. At first I thought I had two rows of dead pixels, but when I found out it's normal, I didn't notice them anymore. I was real lucky when you consider that I spent $600 for this monitor and knew absolutely nothing about monitors, in general, when I bought it. I just liked the way it looked on display.

Now, reading this conversation has made me analyze my screen more closely (not always a good thing lol.) Now, I have looked at a lot of monitors since buying this one, and I still have yet to find one with a better image--even the high-end Diamondtrons I've seen are equal, but not better. And LCD's--well they look great on display, but I think I would get headaches looking at something that bright all day. The only one I've seen that simply blows everything else away is the Mac Cinematic Display. I don't know if it's the display or the GUI that looks so good but, man! I would love a monitor with that kind of display for PCs. Are we going to have to wait for O-LED's to improve overall image clarity?

The only thing is I wish my monitor had a little higher refresh. 1600X1200 at 60 hz is not exactly soothing to the eye. And I would like to go 22" with a monitor, but I just can't justify spending the money when the monitor I have is perfectly fine. Anyway, it sounds like a lot of people don't like flatscreens and Trinitron/Diamondtron monitors, and while I can see room for improvement, I just don't see anything out there that's better.

<-----Insert witty sig line here.
March 18, 2003 4:26:18 PM

Hi Twitch,

On the Degaussing thing... Glad that fixed the problem for you.

I've gotten into the habit of degaussing my own monitor when ever I sit down in front of it, unless I am just turning it on (the degausser runs by itself then). This means that on an average day it gets in-use degaussed 3 or 4 times. It doesn't hurt anything and the display puts on quite the show :smile:

On the LCD brightness thing... just turn down the contrast... There's no reason to run a monitor of any kind at full contrast... I usually suggest people set them so that the display is no brighter than paper in their normal lighting. (Hold a sheet of paper up beside the display and adjust the contrast to equal whiteness.) It's a lot easier on the ole peepers that way...

--->It ain't better if it don't work<---