Get a 24-inch Acer LCD monitor for $129.99
It's new, not refurbished, and it comes with a three-year warranty. But don't go looking for speakers or HDMI.
Smallish laptops are great for travel, but when you're sitting at your desk all day, you'll almost certainly find yourself longing for a larger screen.
Indeed, I can handle my HP dm1z's 11.6-inch display for an hour or two in a coach seat or coffee shop, but for everyday home-office duties, it's way too cramped.
That's why I keep a nice, big monitor on my desk. Sound good? Then check this out: TigerDirect has the Acer G245HQ 24-inch LCD monitor for $129.99, plus $9.87 for shipping.
As you'd expect from an LCD of this size, the G245HQ offers a 1,920 by 1,080 native resolution. Don't worry if your laptop's own screen has a lower pixel count; most modern graphics subsystems can go higher on external displays. (If it's an especially low-end model, you may take a performance hit -- but for everyday apps it should be fine.)
In most other respects, this is a pretty basic monitor, with an 80,000:1 contrast ratio, 5ms response time, and DVI/VGA inputs. HDMI and built-in speakers would add some versatility to the display, but for desktop use they're not essential. (In case it's not abundantly obvious, you don't have to use this with a laptop; it'll work just as nicely with desktops, especially pulling second-monitor duty.)
At this price point, you might expect a refurb, but the G245HQ is new. In fact, it comes with a three-year warranty, one reason I'm especially partial to Acer monitors.
What's more, out of 64 user reviews, the G245HQ rates an impressive 4.8 out of 5 stars. What's not to like?
Bonus deal: Good news, music fans: Amazon is offering a free $2 MP3 credit when you apply coupon code HITUMBLR. (The promotion is aimed at Tumblr users, but you needn't be one to take advantage of it.)