Get a 25-inch, 1080p LCD monitor for $199.99
Must be an entry-level LCD, right? Wrong: This I-Inc monitor features 1080p resolution, an HDMI input, built-in speakers, and a 2ms response time. And it's new--not a refurb.
Riddle me this: What gets bigger while simultaneously getting smaller? Why, monitor sizes and monitor prices, of course. (Wow, what a terrible riddle. Now you know why I'm a blogger and not one of Batman's arch-enemies.)
Witness the 25-inch I-Inc iF251HPB LCD, on sale at TigerDirect for $199.99. It's a new monitor, not a refurb, and it requires zero rebate forms. Alas, shipping will run you about $22.
I-Inc may not be a household name (indeed, it sounds like some Apple spin-off), but the monitor has some seriously good specs.
For starters, it delivers 1,920x1,080 resolution, or 1080p in HDTV parlance. It also sports an HDMI input and built-in speakers, meaning this would pair very nicely with an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
Alternately, if your PC has a TV tuner and/or Blu-ray drive, you could use the iF251HPB as an HDTV. (Just make sure to get some decent speakers, like the recently featured.)
Of course, it's a perfectly cromulent monitor as well, though I wish its secondary input was DVI instead of VGA. You may need an adapter (here's one for just $1.68) if your system has only DVI outputs.
Speaking of which, the monitor comes with a VGA cable. If you're making an HDMI connection, remember that you can. Don't overpay!
CNET hasn't reviewed this model, which includes a 12-month warranty, but TigerDirect's product page shows nearly 200 user reviews with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5. Impressive.
So, the new rules of monitor pricing: Don't pay more than $130 for a 22-inch LCD, $170 for a 24-inch LCD, or $200 for a 25-incher. Do start shopping for a bigger desk.