Simply stunning, the new 19in SDM-HS94PB makes use of Sony's new X-Black display technology, which aims to improve clarity and contrast while widening viewing angles. The monitor more than lives up to Sony's claims.

As a design exercise, the SDM is beautifully turned out, with a gracefully curving base unit, neat circular stand and immaculate black and charcoal finish. All the control buttons are hidden away under the front bezel, giving access to a simple yet highly effective menu system.

In its default modes, the Sony has three selectable backlight settings (high, middle and low), each with corresponding levels of contrast and brightness. These are set automatically, but there's also a full manual option for setting your own choice of backlight, contrast and brightness. In addition to this, there's the choice of 9,300K and 6,500K colour temperatures, as well as sRGB, user-defined colour and three gamma settings.

Colour rendition is spectacular, from the subtleness of pastel shades and skin tones to the most bright and vivid hues. Tonal separation is equally good, with clearly defined detail in the lightest and darkest areas of an image, as well as everything in between.

At £499, the Sony is a lot more expensive than most 19in LCD monitors. However, if you want great looking DVD movie performance and digital photos that look glossy and lifelike on screen, the X-Black technology makes this LCD well worth the extra outlay. Even so, for general purpose, workaday office tasks, it's hard to justify the expense. Matthew Richards