The idea of using a monitor to make videophone calls without a PC is clearly a good one, which is probably why Samsung keeps showing off a pair of the devices at electronics trade shows, including at IFA 2007 yesterday.

Even though the company still has no idea when they will go on sale, the SyncMaster 220TN and 225UW are as futuristic as gadgets come. The 22-inch screens both conceal a 500MHz CPU that powers a stripped-down version of Windows XP.

Skype and IM too

A 2-megapixel camera embedded in the frame of each monitor combines with a microphone and speaker to provide all that's needed for a video chat once a LAN cable is plugged into the back. The difference in the pair lies in the fact that the 220TN uses a Samsung VoIP application only, whereas the 225UW can run Skype or other IM clients.

On the monitor side of things, each screen has a 5ms refresh rate, a resolution of 1680 x 1050 pixels and a 4-port USB hub. When Samsung does decide to release the new SyncMasters, we expect them to cost around £250.