LG's new L1980U not only bills itself as 'the slimmest LCD in the world' but it's immaculately turned out, with a chromed ring of a stand and lustrous black bezel. Further design sensitivities include a pleasantly glowing orange standby light that changes to blue when you power up the monitor, while the rest of the control buttons are stashed away under the front bezel to reinforce the monitor's clean lines.

The LG isn't just another case of form over function and there are plenty of practical elements to the monitor's design, including easy adjustments for height and a 90-degree pivot mode. The specs look mighty impressive on paper as well, featuring a massively high 700:1 maximum contrast ratio.

The only trouble is that the big contrast figures lose something in the translation when it comes to picture quality. Our test sample was actually so contrasty that, while it might perform well in a brightly lit shop window, it was quite overpowering under more normal ambient lighting conditions.

On balance, the high-contrast availability is nice for people who like really bright, bold, vivid pictures but, if you're after a real degree of accuracy for image editing, you'll be disappointed. We found that backing off the contrast for more realistic levels made greyscale bars merge into each other at both light and dark ends of the scale.

Of course, not everyone is into digital photography and if you simply want a screen that looks fabulous and supplies a high-impact, lively picture, the LG is a strong contender. Matthew Richards