Today’s LCDs are bigger and better than any we’ve seen before, and they can handle virtually any office or multimedia task you throw at them. Not long ago, desktop LCD monitors were designed almost exclusively with an eye toward business, targeting users with space constraints and those who generally worked with office applications and didn’t require a high-performance display. Not to mention that they were quite expensive. Think about it: Five years ago an 18-inch NEC MultiSync LCD monitor had a street price of $1,800.
Things have changed. Widescreen models in particular are becoming the popular choice for businesses and consumers alike, enabling users to view multiple document pages at the same time or watch a DVD movie in its native aspect ratio on a big, bright panel. If you’re running Windows Vista, widescreen displays let you run the sidebar pane and gadget applications without sacrificing valuable screen space. Perhaps most important is the affordability factor: You can find a basic 22-inch widescreen display for around $300, if you shop around. As is the case with most electronics, however, the more features you add, the more you’ll wind up paying.