It may be widescreen in shape and generous in size, but the SyncMaster 243T isn't strictly designed for home entertainment use. While at a cursory glance you may take this slick silver customer for a television, a second look will probably pick up the odd array of front controls that confirm that, yes, it's actually just a PC monitor.

But what a monitor! At 24in in width and with a sky-high resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 pixels (that's over 2.3 million of the little squares in all, stat fans), it's the kind of display that most PC owners can only dream about.

It would be ideal as the business end of a top-notch Media Center PC system (these usually include a TV tuner, high quality DVD playback, a good soundcard etc), which would obviously negate the requirement for a TV tuner and any number of connections beyond the basic PC inputs.

There are no speakers integrated into the panel, no internal TV tuner, no remote control and no AV connections - just PC-only DVI and VGA inputs - so the only way that you can use the 234T as a TV is via your computer.

The styling of the SyncMaster is pure monitor: a thin silver frame and a small yet sturdy desk stand. It looks nice enough, especially if you have a silvercoloured PC to partner it.

Unusually, if the standard landscape orientation doesn't suit you - and to be quite honest it isn't really ideal for reading most web pages, where only around half of the huge screen size is actually used - you can flip the screen 90°, thanks to some nifty design and bundled software.

This portrait format is much more suited to the likes of web browsing and word processing, and you can simply flip back to landscape mode afterwards.

Performance

As far as being a standard PC monitor is concerned, there is one area where the SyncMaster is something of a letdown: its response time of 30ms. Now, this won't prove a significant problem for those using the screen for working, web browsing, DVD and TV watching and the like, but it makes gaming a little frustrating.

Rapid movements cause a noticeable blurring, 'ghosting' effect where the monitor's pixels can't change colour quite quickly enough; this becomes irritating at times, especially with fast paced fare like Far Cry or Doom 3; games designed to be played at a more sedate speed don't cause too many problems, however.

With many LCD monitors - including other Samsung models - having much better response times of 16ms and less, we wouldn't recommend it to serious gamers. That said, in terms of actual image quality, the 243T is pretty impressive.

The 1,920 x 1,200 resolution means that displaying vast amounts of detail comes to it extremely naturally, which means it works well when watching DVDs and recordings played back from a Media Center PC - something that more and more people will be doing if Microsoft has its way.

There are some downsides though, and the screen lacks a strong enough contrast range to impress, and consequently images seem to lack the all-important definition in darker areas.

All in all, we would recommend this Samsung monitor to those PC owners that need to be able to view lots of detail - such as graphic designers or programmers - or who watch plenty of DVD and DiVX movies.

It's a shame that it isn't really up to being a top-notch gaming monitor, but it will make a very good, if decidedly pricey, display for any of the recent crop of Media Center PCs; the fact that it's a widescreen model earns it some plus points in this respect as well.

If you're looking for a pure home cinema display, however, this isn't it; your £2,000 would be far better spent on a high quality 32in plasma panel.