Sony A420 & G420
As you'd expect with Sony, the A420 has an FD Trinitron tube. This monitor stands out from its rivals by its really attractive design. Instead of the usual beiges and grays, it is dressed in a very becoming metallic gray. The housing itself is also very stylish, supported by small rounded feet, rather than an ordinary base. In fact, the A420 looks like an up-market television and could easily fit into a lounge or bedroom without ruining the décor. Actually, it's quite likely that its buyers will be drawn by its design more than its technical characteristics and performance. Still, this doesn't stop the A420 from having a nice flat screen in front of the FD Trinitron tube with a variable pitch of 0.24 to 0.25. It has a display area of 18" and an anti-reflection and antistatic Hi-Con (High Contrast) coating. There is a 4-port USB hub, but the cable is attached, which is inconvenient when the pins are folded over the cable connector. Note too that the A420 is 'only' classified TCO92 and not TCO95, not because of non-compliance but simply because it has not been tested beyond TCO92. Its refresh rate is 96 kHz. Sony claims a maximum resolution of 1600x1200 at 78 Hz. This figure was indeed reached, but it is actually more comfortable to work in 1280x1024 at 91 Hz. Those who want something zippier but are prepared to pass on design can go for the G420, which we have also tested. Results are the same for overall quality, but maximum rates in the various resolutions are higher (1600x1200 at 87 Hz), which is better for graphics. The G420 is TCO99-certified and has a 15-pin plug, too. It has an extra adjustment function called ASC for automatic sizing and centering. It does work, but the image does not take up the entire surface, so you still have to make corrections. Obviously, it costs more than the A420.
A420 geometry has the same qualities as the NEC FE950Plus. It behaves well up to 1280x1024, beyond which it declines exponentially. The OSD has a nice layout and is clear and easy to use. It has most of the adjustments you need, such as geometry, positioning and heat value, but does not have options for convergence or purity. This is a shame, but the monitor is nonetheless of good standard quality and the image pretty good. Readability is fine, contours precise and colors fairly faithful. There is practically no moiré and brightness and contrast are present and correct. Another plus point is that the A420's image and video viewing is much better, due to its dark surround.