Laptop manufacturers have toyed with the idea of screens larger than 17 inches but, for the most part, if you want a larger display, the most convenient answer is not a bigger laptop but an external monitor.

The LG Flatron L206WU costs £190 (inc. VAT), which for a 22-inch panel is at the top-end of the scale, but it has all the features you're likely to need.

Digital connection

This is the first monitor we've seen that uses DisplayLink, which is a new technology that allows you to get a digital quality connection through a standard USB port. So it's cheaper to add to your home setup.

You'll need to install the software on your laptop, but the results are certainly worth it, as the image quality is simply amazing.

Connections on the back of the unit consist of the standard DVI and VGA-out, as well as a USB hub.

Connecting it to your laptop and installing the software is easy and, as it automatically calibrates itself to your laptop, unless you have special requirements you won't need to configure it.

Solid build

The look of the panel will split opinion and it will look out of place in most homes.

The combination of thick plastic and an awkward-looking stand doesn't help it to blend in. However, the panel feels sturdy, even when you twist the screen into portrait mode.

The screen has an aspect ratio of 16:10 so natively matches all current widescreen laptops. This means the screen won't need to resize and, while the native output if 1680 x 1050 pixels, it'll source and resize with ease.

With a 300 nit rating, we found the screen to be bright, and with a claimed 5000:1 contrast ratio it's clearly designed for multimedia as well as standard office applications.

As a monitor, the LG Flatron L206WU is as good as it currently gets, and as it's the first widescreen DisplayLink to market, it's certainly a little special.