Roll up for the TFT fire sale

tfts_stylised

Roll up for the TFT fire sale

When upgrading a PC, the monitor is often the one thing people keep hold of. The rationale goes that it still works perfectly well and newer screens still use the same TFT technology that’s dominated the industry in recent times. Why shell out for a new one?

I’ve just finished testing Iiyama’s latest flagship model – a 26in monster of a display with DVI, VGA and HDMI inputs and a very impressive set of 5W speakers. It’s a solid TFT, and I was expecting a reasonably attractive price given the non-adjustable stand, but I was staggered to see just how cheap it is.

A retail price of £240 (£282 inc VAT) for a huge 26in screen is simply unheard of. That’s cheaper than any 26in screen I’ve yet seen, and it also blows away many 24in models. Even the best 22in displays cost more than that, yet here’s a massive screen at a price I’d never have predicted a year ago.

It got me thinking, how cheap can you go when buying a monitor?

A quick search online reveals that you can now pick up a basic 24in screen for just £183 (£215 inc VAT). Move down to 22in and prices start at £106 (£125 inc VAT), while 20in will cost you just £85 (£100 inc VAT).

At 19in you can pick something up for £72 (£85 inc VAT), while a bog-standard widescreen 17in can now be had for just £63 (£74 inc VAT).

These eye-opening prices were all found at reputable online retailers in the UK, and all the monitors are established brands rather than generic or rebranded models. Admittedly they’re about as bare in terms of features as you can get, but for basic web browsing and work use I doubt many people actually need most of the extras on offer these days.

That 22in threshold seems to offer the best value – just £20-odd dearer than 20in, yet nearly £80 cheaper than a 24in desk-hogger.

So forget about the credit crunch. If you’re upgrading your PC soon, or just fancy a bigger TFT, there’s never been a better time to jump up a few screen sizes. Those of you squinting at your old 17in display could probably afford a far bigger upgrade than you imagined.

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