Ditch the goggle box and replace it with some PC smarts in monitor form so you can gaze upon all the internet as your dominion.
Thought monitors were all ugly rectangles made of cheap plastic, did you? Well, let this 2560 x 1440 27-incher from Samsung prove you wrong. Despite its size, it’s slim and elegant – without being too showy. There are two HDMI and one VGA input (no DisplayPort, which could displease Mac users), and the anti-glare screen works nicely in brighter rooms, deliver rich, detailed images with deep black levels.
If you’re looking for an ultra-cheap screen, look no further than BenQ’s 22in GW2250HM. While you’d be hard pressed to describe its looks as anything nicer than “functional”, it delivers superb picture quality for its price – good contrast, decent colour reproduction, and for gaming purposes a higher refresh rate than most tellies – not to mention a full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution. It even features a built-in speaker. It’s a dreadful speaker, mind, but it’s there and that’s something.
Apple Thunderbolt Display
Apple’s gorgeous – and eye-wateringly pricy – 27in screen offers a resolution of 2560 x 1440 and excellent image quality, plus a FaceTime HD camera and decent built-in speakers. It also works as a hub for Macs, allowing you to daisy-chain other devices like external hard drives and digital cameras, and the MagSafe cable means you can charge your MacBook directly from it. But be warned: the display will only work with Thunderbolt-equipped Macs, as there are no other video input options.
The 24in Dell offers a 16:10 aspect ratio, which will please PC gamers (you get extra pixels over 16:9, with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 as opposed to 1920 x 1080) but means video viewers will have to put up with some (small) black bars when watching films and TV shows. The response time is also gamer-friendly, and for the price there aren’t many better all-round monitors.
Another super affordable model, the 23in ViewSonic offers a high-quality IPS panel (pretty rare in this price range) and a full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, plus a response time so fast you probably won’t even notice it. The styling, which is supremely minimalistic, also works in its favour. Don’t expect frills (there are stereo speakers in the stand, but they’re bobbins), but do expect a very solid performer for the money.
5 of the best smart heating systems