The flat-panel market has gone haywire. It seems that 20in is no longer enough, with manufacturers falling over themselves to jump up to 22in - and there are some modestly priced examples, such as the BenQ FP222W. Mind you, we're not complaining.

After all, whereas non-widescreen 19in LCDs are confined to a rather restrictive native resolution of 1,280x1,024, the BenQ can go up to 1,680x1,050. This makes it potentially interesting not just to gamers and video enthusiasts (who'll adore the large resolution and widescreen facilities), but also to office workers in search of extra workspace. Indeed, this sleek, tasteful screen wouldn't look out of place in an office.

The menu system is rather confusing, and it would have been more convenient if the buttons were situated on the front. But the specifications are very decent, with an above-average response rate and decent brightness and contrast ratings.

And whereas some 22in flat-panels that we've seen have been rather patchy on image quality, the BenQ manages to provide reasonably attractive, colourful graphics, while text is also pretty precise. Obviously you're not going to get sizzling pictures at this price, but the BenQ could have been a lot worse. And the colour modes (easily adjusted via a dedicated button) make it simple to strike the right balance.

As well as the standard FP222W, there's an FP222Wa model that comes without a DVI (digital visual interface). The two models are fairly close in terms of image quality, but we'd recommend going for the FP222W so you can connect it to home-entertainment gear at a later date.

BenQ FP222W: Specs

  • 22in flat-panel
  • native res 1,680x1,050
  • pixel pitch 0.282mm
  • contrast ratio 700:1
  • viewing angle 170/160 degrees
  • brightness 300cd/m2
  • DVI
  • 3-year warranty
  • response time 5ms
  • 397x170x480mm
  • 5.8kg
  • 22in flat-panel
  • native res 1,680x1,050
  • pixel pitch 0.282mm
  • contrast ratio 700:1
  • viewing angle 170/160 degrees
  • brightness 300cd/m2
  • DVI
  • 3-year warranty
  • response time 5ms
  • 397x170x480mm
  • 5.8kg

OUR VERDICT

You shouldn't expect ravishing results from a 22in flat-panel that costs just £245, but the BenQ comes as a pleasant surprise. While the specifications aren't outstanding, they're not disastrous either, and the FP222W works well within its limited remit. This is only the beginning of the 22in revolution, but if you don’t want to wait to see what's coming out in a few months, this will give you a taste without emptying your bank balance.

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