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Monitors

Asus PW201: Shiny happy TFT

If you like checking yourself out, or you just like shiny things, have a butchers' at this brand new LCD monitor from the folks at Asus

Check this baby out. It's the Asus PW201 -- the shiniest TFT monitor we've ever seen. It's a 20-inch widescreen model, yadda yadda yadda -- but it stands out thanks to its glossy aluminium stand and ultra-reflective screen coating. It's almost as if Asus dropped the thing in a giant vat of lube.

You can't avoid seeing your own reflection when using the PW201, so it's perfect for narcissists. Ironically, the Asus Web site says the screen uses an 'anti-reflection glare-type LCD panel' but the text might as well read 'auntie-selection flare-hype PCP flannel' -- there's so much reflectivity that we didn't notice its anti-reflecting technology.

We're being slightly harsh here: images and text on the PW201 are perfectly visible in normal lighting conditions, and its image quality is commendable. We really like the fact that it has DVI, composite, S-Video and component inputs so you can connect all manner of devices -- not just a PC. Plus Asus says it may release one with an integrated TV tuner.

It's crammed to the hilt with lots of Asus-specific technology. One of our favourites is the 'SPLENDID Video Intelligence Technology', which (among other things) lets you choose from three skin tones -- Natural, Reddish and Yellowish. It's just what we were looking for... (er, were we?)

There's a 1.3-megapixel camera at the top of the screen for video conferencing or taking self-portraits (yet another way of checking yourself out), and the stand lets you pivot, rotate and adjust the screen's height.

One final flourish: the PW201 has touch-sensitive menu control buttons that seem to have been inspired by the buttons from a 2nd generation iPod. They glow and everything. You can buy one from around £400. -RR

Update: a full review of the Asus PW201 is now live.