Price check: TFT monitors

Anyone who has bought a new computer of late probably has an old monster lying around collecting dust. And that beige monster is probably attached to a leviathan of a CRT monitor.

Even still, despite its looks, that old system is still pretty usable – you could easily put in a wireless or Ethernet card and create a home network – if only it wasn’t so ugly.

The first thing you could do to improve its looks it ditch the tube and buy in a smart TFT screen, so here we look at what’s on offer for a cheap upgrade or the centrepiece of your digital home.

At an eye-opening £114, you can buy a 15in Sanyo screen from monitorshop.co.uk. It even looks reasonably smart in its black livery and features built-in speakers as well. It offers a native resolution of 1,024 x 768 and supports 16mn colours.

You can boost that native resolution to 1,280 x 1,024 in the BenQ FP531S from Kikatek. It boasts at nippy 25ms response time and is pretty stsylish to boot. It costs £164.76. You can also get it for £147.01 from More Computers, but they are currently out of stock until later in the month.

If physical size is important you can step up a category to the 17in models for as little as £155.03 in the form of the MD L1715 from MicroDirect. It offers a 1,280 x 1,024 native resolution.

Bigger still, and you can have a white label 19 in TFT for £214.99 from BT of all people.

However, there’s something a little more classy available that won’t break the bank either. The Acer AL1912 costs just a tad less than £260 and includes built-in speakers, a great 16ms response time and a wide screen resolution of 1,280 x 768. Get it from themonitordatabase.

A full 1,280 x 1,024 resolution 19in monitor is available from Amazon. The V7 Video Seven L19PS 19in LCD TFT Monitor is available in either silver or black and has built-in speakers. It costs £239.99.

At 21in, price ascend quite sharply. But you can still buy the 21in Samsung 21in TFT SM213T NB21BSAS for £664.11 from Technoworld. It offers a native resolution of 1,600 x 1,024 and offers both analogue and digital inputs.

23in monitors will still put you back more than a grand. The cheapest we found was this HP F2304 from Comet. It costs £1107.93 but offers a native resolution of 1920 x 1200, has built-in speakers and looks fabulous.

So let’s pretend for a second that money is no object. If you have a spare £1837.31 hanging around down the back of your sofa, dig it out and give to Technoworld. In return they’ll give you a 30in TFT with a whopping 2,048 x 1,536 resolution NEC.

Apple, not to be outdone, have the stunning widescreen 30in Cinema Display with a resolution of 2,560 by 600. You can pick one up from MoreComputers for £2,048.93.

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