The G520 has a viewable area of 19.8 inches (measured diagonally of course) which is pretty average for a 21-inch monitor. The CRT is based on Sony's FD Trinitron technology; the first "flat screen" monitor design. Users new to the FD Trinitron screens might be put off a little by the visible damper wires. They can be seen as two faint lines on white colored backgrounds, dividing the screen into thirds. The purpose of the wires is to stabilize the aperture grille and increase the brightness of colors. You do get used to it after a while, to a point where you don't notice them without looking hard.
The G520 is able to display images with very good clarity as you would expect for a monitor in its price range. Colors are displayed vividly and accurately. I did find however that the overall picture seemed a little dark. The brightness and contrast were not down, so I am assuming it might be the high contrast coating that makes it a little darker than usual.
The G520's button controls, conveniently located on the front of the unit, provide all of the adjustments you would ever need:
- Power On/Off
- EZ Navigator control toggle
- Picture mode
- Input selector
The EZ Navigator Control Toggle, as Sony calls it, is a multi-function button that performs several tasks via up/down movement and pressing in. This is different from the 4-way buttons seen on previous FD Trinitron models. On its own it acts as a contrast control; otherwise it becomes a navigation and OK tool in the on-screen menu.
The picture mode button allows the setting of three preset modes for different types of images being displayed (Professional, Standard and Dynamic). This is a similar technology to that used in Sony's Trinitron televisions and it simply modifies the display properties to reflect the use. The Dynamic setting provides the best image for games and DVD, so that was how I set it, but I think it is a matter of personal preference. The Professional setting is designed for image editing, while Standard is best for Internet and word processing.
I was reasonably excited when I noticed the Auto-Size and Centering function in the menu. Not having to manually adjust the size, position and pincushion as you do on most new monitors certainly seemed appealing. What I found, though, was that using the function resulted in the image being centered but leaving a good 1 centimeter around the entire edge. The lack of a zoom meant that I still had to adjust the horizontal and vertical size to take full advantage of the screen area.
The input select switch controls which of the two input sources is being displayed on the screen, source 1 being the HD15 and source 2 being the BNC inputs. This makes it possible to have the G520 hooked up to two different machines as long as they have the different outputs.