I love a good price war. Manufacturers may not benefit greatly, but for the everyman consumer it's a real boon, provided you don't buy anything before the war begins. In which case it may well be worth keeping an eye firmly fixed on the PC monitor market and in particular the 24in sector which, rather like the 22in sector, seems to be warming up for some serious competition.
The catalyst? Well, until this point the 24in LCD market has been populated predominately by models using high-grade S-IPS and S-PVA panels which, although generally wonderful, produce a price tag to match their superior performance. Having realised that the price gap between 22in LCDs and the 24in varieties was getting rather large, manufacturers have come up with the wizard wheeze of slashing the prices of 24in LCDs by using the cheaper TN panel technology to produce the 1,920 x 1,200 pixels desired by so many.
We've seen this before, with Acer producing the AL2416WS at the beginning of last year. However, that only featured a D-Sub port and was based on older TN panel technology that's not up to scratch to modern standards. More recently Riyad looked at the Samsung 245B, and Iiyama has followed suit with this soon to be released ProLite B2403WS. Currently it's available for pre-order at anything between £317 and £360, which is ridiculously cheap whichever you look at it. Does it provide anything that gives it the edge over Samsung's effort?
Design wise, probably not. Don't get me wrong, the Iiyama is by no means awful, but the Samsung does have the advantage when it comes to look and feel. Whereas the Samsung sports a smart pure matte black finish, the Iiyama has a rather dirty graphite grey finish while the built in speakers of the Iiyama give it a bulkier and less attractive frame. Another notable difference are the OSD buttons, which on the Iiyama look rather cheap and simple compared to the more elegant buttons found on the Samsung.
Still, these are relatively minor issues and Iiyama certainly hasn't skimped on stand adjustability, building height, tilt, rotation and pivot into a nicely constructed and pleasingly stable stand. This is good to see, and makes something of a mockery of Viewsonic's decision not to include even height adjustment in its VX2435wm. It also has an advantage over Samsung thanks to the pivot, though this is offset by the typically weak viewing angles on TN panels which make a portrait mode somewhat moot.