Only a few months ago, £500-£600 was a typical price for a 24in flat-panel. At £458, the ViewSonic VX2435wm seemed something of a bargain. But nothing can compare to the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS, a 24in widescreen TFT that we found selling for just above £320. Iiyama, of course, was also one of the first companies to bring out a truly affordable 22in screen, but whereas the signs of cost-cutting were stark in the case of the E2202WS, the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS is actually a pretty good effort for the money.
You wouldn't necessarily guess as the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS's shoestring origins from a brief inspection. It's not the most stylishly curved, but the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS's black casing isn't unpleasant to look at. More to the point, the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS packs in a number of features that you quite often don't get even on significantly priced models. The height-adjustable stand makes it easy to find the ideal position for the screen, while pivot facilities allow you to spin the screen through 90 degrees. Excellent for text work and web browsing, the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS is a very nice addition given the price tag. HDMI is built in, so the screen should be well-suited to a home entertainment setup. For a PC setup, though, a physical DVI connector would probably be preferable.
The Iiyama ProLite B2403WS fares pretty well on specifications. Its 2ms response time is extremely fast, and that 1,920x1,200 resolution promises acres of screen space. The brightness rating of 300cd/m2 is a little low compared to some 24in models - both the significantly more expensive ViewSonic and BenQ FP241WZ screens offered brightness ratings of 500cd/m2 - and the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS's image is perhaps a touch darker than it might be. But the 2,000:1 contrast ratio is double that of the figure offered by the ViewSonic and BenQ. This is actually because the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS offers ‘special' dynamic contrast. For all practical purposes, that ViewSonic should be rated at considerably less than this.
Indeed, fire up the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS and it's soon clear that this screen (unsurprisingly) fails to match up to the standard set by its more expensive rivals. Colour isn't uniform across the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS's entire screen, while the colour depth fails to live up to that 2,000:1 billing. Having said that, the screen is still more than usable, and for general PC activities it's actually fine. Should you want a little extra clarity, the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS works very well at 1,440x900, and the ability to spread such a resolution across the full 24 inches makes it a very usable choice. For good 1,920x1,200 support, however, the ViewSonic and BenQ are significantly better on image quality.
There's always a risk when you try to snap up a bargain flat-panel with a rather high screen size. But while the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS is no match for its more expensive rivals, neither is it a disaster. Indeed, most users could quite happily use the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS as an everyday PC flat-panel. If you can afford to wait, we'd probably still recommend holding on until the prices of the really good models have fallen, but in the meantime, the Iiyama ProLite B2403WS is a very cost-effective option.