In recent months, flat-panel technology has moved with the speed of a finely honed cougar. Not so very long ago, a 19in screen seemed something of an extravagance. Now it's about as small as any self-respecting user dares to go – and, in truth, few can resist the allure of an expansive 20, 22 or even a 24in model. But for a long time 19in was more than enough for most users. Should you give in to the pull of the larger screens, or is there still mileage in buying a 19in model?

On the face of it, price alone isn't a particularly good reason for buying a 19in flat-panel. The £147 NEC AccuSync LCD193WM is fairly inexpensive but, even so, 20 and 22in screens are available for only a few pounds more than this.

However, while you should expect a cheap 22in to suffer from poor colour and definition, the NEC AccuSync LCD193WM has no such problems. Indeed, its image is bright and colourful, and text is reasonably well defined - if not as sharp as that of, for instance, the Iiyama ProLite E1902S.

Part of this is down to the NEC AccuSync LCD193WM's generous 1,000:1 contrast ratio. The 4ms response rate isn't quite as fast as the 2ms rate of the Iiyama, but it's still very good – you'll be hard pushed to detect any difference in smoothness.

The NEC AccuSync LCD193WM's 19in screen size doesn't feel as restrictive as it might, thanks to the generous widescreen support – that resolution of 1,440x900 allows plenty of pixels to be crammed in. Not everything about the NEC AccuSync LCD193WM is perfect, and the lack of a DVI connector (the screen offers analogue RGB only) might be seen as a retrograde step in this digital era.

OUR VERDICT

Overall, the NEC AccuSync LCD193WM is an excellent screen for the money. The quality is decent, and compared to the kind of 20/22in screen you might get at this price, the NEC clearly offers the goods.