Iiyama Prolite B2712HDS
The Iiyama Prolite has a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, and will handle HD content from a number of sources thanks to the DVI, HDMI and VGA connectors. At this price, it shouldn't come as much of a shock that this is a TN panel.
Response times are good, with no noticeable blurring in games or movies. Contrast is impressive, with the deep blacks, though whites can be a little washed out - not a problem for gamers, but if you spend a lot of time working or on the internet then a TN panel may not be for you.
The horizontal viewing angle is a bit of a downside, with a yellow tint creeping in on lighter areas of the screen if it's not viewed straight on. This is only really an issue if you're planning get the whole family round to watch a film.
Read our full Iiyama Prolite B2712HDS review
Acres of screen real estate in a frill-free case - that's the idea behind the Hazro HZ27WC monitor. There's more to it than that though, because this simply styled 27-inch screen has strong specs where it really counts.
There's an IPS liquid crystal panel for great picture quality, with an LED backlight for cleaner, longer lasting and more efficient lighting. You don't get much else though. There's a single DVI video input and no controls, contrast or colour buttons.
The only image adjustment on offer is a five-stage backlight level control. If you want to fine-tune the image, you have to do it in software. But just how good is this display? The HZ27WC almost certainly packs the same LCD panel as Apple's expensive 27-inch Cinema Display, which will cost you somewhere north of £900.
Read our full Hazro HZ27WC review
The BenQ EW2430 is impressive on paper and at first sight too. First, there's that VA panel, packing an LED backlight and 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. It also boasts a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, which is the best we've ever seen. It has 178-degree viewing angles in both planes, and a decent pixel response of 8ms.
The EW2430 is an imposing physical specimen. The stand only offers tilt adjustment, but the combination of a glossy black bezel and brushed and anodised surfaces communicates quality in a manner few, if any, competing sub-£200 monitor screens manage.
The feature set is solid too, and includes two HDMI ports, DVI and VGA, along with a four-port USB header. All of which makes it disappointing to report that the image quality is not what we were expecting it to be.
Read our full BenQ EW2430 review
Unsurprisingly for a 27-inch monitor, the VX2753 is a bit of a beast. Even though it takes advantage of LED technology, it isn't particularly slim; its dimensions are a rather imposing 25.91 x 18.9 x 8.35-inches.
However, while the LED doesn't result in a slimmer model, it has an impact on power consumption. ViewSonic boasts that the VX2753 is around 40 per cent more efficient than comparable 27-inch displays. The large screen and 1,920 x 1,080 resolution make it ideal for watching media.
As with other TN panel-based monitors the response time is excellent - just 1ms - which makes it excellent for fast-moving action movies and games. While the VX2753 comes with two HDMI ports and a VGA, it lacks a DVI port.
Read our full ViewSonic VX2753mh-LED review
The best monitor for movies is...
One of the conclusions we can take away from this test is that when it comes to monitors - especially ones designed for media playback - all is not what it seems.
As we said at the start, the specifications that manufacturers stamp on their boxes are only a small part of the story and sometimes hardly affect the monitor's overall image quality. Astronomical dynamic contrast ratios and boasts of full HD 1080p resolutions are all well and good, but nowadays what really sets monitors apart is the oft ignored panel type.
In our tests the IPS-based monitors blew away the TN, and to some extent the VA monitors when it came to image and colour quality - their Achilles' heel being a slightly sluggish response time. The Dell U2412M was a worthy winner, but our value award goes to the AOC i2353FH for proving that IPS panels don't have to break the bank.
When all is said and done, the most important thing a monitor can do is provide the greatest possible image quality, and in that respect the Dell U2412M excels. Colour reproduction and contrast - two elements that are so important in ensuring image quality is at its peak - are handled wonderfully by the Dell.
The Dell U2412M excelled in all our benchmarks and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as a media-playing monitor for your PC.
The AOC i2353FH looks fantastic, offers brilliant image quality and, despite lacking DVI, offers plenty of connectivity for your media playback - all at a great price. What's not to like?
It might not be the largest screen on test, and lacks some advanced features, but for just over £150, the AOC i2353FH is excellent value for money and well worth considering.
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